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Campus Sustainability Council update: Water Working Group kicks off


Since the official announcement from President Tony Monaco last February, members of the Campus Sustainability Council have been getting busy as each of the three working groups (focusing on Water, Energy/Emissions and Waste) began holding their regular meetings.

The Water Working Group met for the first time on March 2nd and reviewed its roles and responsibilities, which include reviewing current usage, existing initiatives and goals, as well as creating recommendations for goals and implementation plans to present to the Campus Sustainability Council.

The group found that very few institutions of higher education have any public water-related goals.  In fact, Johns Hopkins is one of a rare few that have a specific goal (to decrease university wide potable water consumption by 3%). The members also learned that many water-saving initiatives at Tufts are already underway, including:

  • Efforts to use ground water for irrigation
  • Low-flow shower heads in all Medford and Boston residence halls
  • Bathroom upgrades in Medford residence halls which include dual flush or low flush toilets
  • On‐going Medford campus condensate loss reduction efforts
  • Front Load washing machines requiring less water, energy and detergent installed in most residence hall laundry rooms
  • Rain barrels installed at 520 Boston Avenue to capture roof run‐off for landscape irrigation

The working group members discussed the differences between Tufts’ campuses, regulatory and compliance issues, the environmental impact of wastewater, ways to evaluate proposed solutions and appropriate metrics for evaluation.

Scott Horsley, a lecturer in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department, and Bob Burns, Director of Tufts Facilities Services, are the co-chairs of the water working group and will be working to guide the group towards specific “SMART” goals for the university over the coming months. Sustainability standards will be incorporated into all proposals for new construction and renovation projects.

As always, Tufts community members are welcome to add their own suggestions for the working group through the easy, on-line form available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

President Monaco to chair Sustainability Council

Tufts’ new president is off to a great start and he is making sustainability a priority.

In a letter to the Tufts community last Monday, President Tony Monaco announced plans to launch and personally chair two university-wide councils in the next few weeks: one for sustainability and one for diversity.

“The new Presidential council on sustainability will assess strategic directions to ensure that our campus operations reflect the commitment to the environment that informs our extraordinary academic work in this arena,” he wrote. “While taking a broad view, the council will look particularly closely at carbon management, waste and water.”

This exciting news fulfills early indications that our new leader is personally engaged in issues of sustainability. Back in June, he asked on Twitter, “Alright Jumbos, in my listening tour so far it seems that sustainability and the green agenda on #Tufts campus are essential. Thoughts?”

In an article on Earth Week last April, Monaco was also quoted as having “a longstanding interest and involvement in sustainability issues”. As Oxford’s pro-vice-chancellor for planning and resources, Monaco had been chosen to lead the university’s Sustainability Steering Group in 2008.

On recent news that Tufts earned a Silver rating in STARS, Monaco noted that “the rating provides strong recognition of our institutional achievements in sustainability” and added that “this is a priority for me personally… in light of the clear support across the university for intensifying our commitment, I am certain that we will accomplish even more in the years ahead.”

(Photo: President Monaco received an orchid on his first day at work from John DiBaggio, who was president of Tufts in 1999 when the university made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below 1990 levels. Source: Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)

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