This is Andrew, the Fletcher School’s Eco-Representative. For this week’s post I’ll give you an idea of what it is like to be the Eco-Rep for Blakeley Hall, Fletcher’s graduate student dormitory. First, some background: Blakeley was built in 1926, in a Georgian style of architecture. It has three wings set around a courtyard, with seven independent towers of rooms. The middle tower houses Blakeley’s common room and kitchen, which serves as the busiest gathering space for residents, and the source of delicious smells when students cook dinner or prepare baked goods as a method of procrastination during exam periods…
Every year, about eighty students in Fletcher’s various degree programs spend a year (or a semester, for exchange students) in singles, doubles, and triples. Many residents come from overseas, which results in a vibrant social scene and a tremendous variety of cuisines prepared in the kitchen. Residents routinely come together for dorm-wide events, like communal cooking events, pick-up cricket matches in the courtyard, and Fletcher’s infamous Blakeley Halloween Party.
As to Eco-Rep and sustainability initiatives, Blakeley, like all Tufts dorms, has receptacles for recycling and compost collection. Each tower contains recycling containers on the ground floor, and the communal compost bin is located in the kitchen. I am happy to report that since the beginning of the school year, Blakeley residents have increased their average weekly compost collection by about 60%! Lastly, each of Blakeley’s towers will contain boxes for TerraCycle recycling. Regarding recycling, we may have to wait until Recyclemania to ascertain how well residents are sorting their materials. Residents have been keeping tabs on recycling and composting, asking me many good questions, and offering suggestions on ways to make Blakeley even greener. I’m very encouraged thus far by their enthusiasm and look forward to holding further Eco-Rep events at the dorm. Next up this month: a pie baking event with a review of composting and recycling best practices!
Zero Waste Week finished this past Wednesday! Over 200 bags were distributed, and 65 brave and wonderful jumbos (and professors) did a fantastic job at keeping their waste at a minimum and brought their bags to Jumbo Mountains. Jumbo Mountains was set up on the Academic Quad this year, due to logistical considerations, and many passer-bys’ interests proved this to be a great location with great visibility. Participants were rewarded with some PHENOMENAL Cider Donuts and cider from Wilson Farm in Lexington, and the satisfaction of tallying and knowing they made a huge difference in comparison to normal trash-producing colleagues.
In addition to students, some professors stopped by, and even Senior Provost David Harris conversed with the Eco-Rep team about the successes and room for improvement in the Zero Waste Week challenge.
Some of the greatest challenges expressed were the individually packaged treats such as candy, cookies, etc., and the fact that when you leave the Tufts Campus and travel to greater Boston or the larger community, recycling and composting is nowhere near as accessible. However, many participants also expressed their surprise at the ease of recycling and composting here on campus-shoutout to Dawn and Tufts Recycles!
Three lucky participants won awesome bags made out of recycled materials from terracycle.com, and they definitely deserve it for their participation.
Thank you to everyone who participated in Zero Waste Week. You truly made a difference in our fight to prevent excess waste and reduce our consumption of resources. Green Love!
As the new school year begins, so does a new set of Eco-Reps! We kicked off this year in the same way last year’s group did, working for Tufts Recycles during the matriculation lunch and O-show dinners, helping people sort their waste into “compostables”, “plastic”, which consisted of ONLY the utensils, and trash.
But a new addition to this year’s Eco-Reps’ role in orientation included a pledge booth at “Jumbolicious”, one of the largest orientation events. This year, it was held in Aidekman, featuring an electric bull, a dance floor with DJ, free food, free swag, and of course…yours truly! Freshmen (and others) were able to pledge to be more sustainable in their lives, by doing things from composting to taking shorter showers to turning off the lights to unplugging electronics. Our goal is to print out pictures of the residents in their respective halls, holding them more accountable (AND making them famous, of course), for their noble actions. We got over 100 pledges!
Then, right as school started, we got to work. Hopefully you saw us at your all-hall meetings, in the lobbies of the dorms putting out the terraCycle boxes or Compost bins, or maybe at our meet-and-greets! (Complete with donuts, cookies, and other great treats). The meet and greets are ways for us to really have one-on-one time with our residents to receive feedback, ideas, and goals.
Another new addition to the Eco-Rep agenda this year is the terraCycle Brigade. Terracycle (http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/) is a company that turns snack wrappers that contain the shiny inner lining, such as chip bags or granola bars, into some sweet products. We’ve also decided to weigh our compost before emptying it in order to accurately report on how much people are really composting in the dorms. Reception has varied across dorms, but in general been very good. Keep up the good work, residents!