-by Angie Bell
If you’ve mastered composting and are looking for more ways to show your sustainability spirit, now is a great time to start! There are some really awesome events coming up soon that are sure to get you pumped to go green.
As you may already know, RecycleMania is in full swing! Keep up that meticulous recycling because trash is still being graded until the end of March. Preliminary grading put Tilton, Carpenter House and Wilson House in the lead with A minuses, but it’s not too late for your dorm to take the lead! If you have any questions about what is recyclable in your dorm, your Eco-rep is here to help! Also, keep in mind that the whole of the Tufts Meford campus will get a collective grade and then be compared to other schools. This is a great chance to show that environmental responsibility is a priority here at Tufts! Results will be out the first week of April, and the winning dorm gets to bounce around in one of these babies:
If that doesn’t spark your competitive spirit, I don’t know what will!
If you are interested in energy usage (we know we are!), the Tufts Energy Conference is another event coming up on March 8-9. The theme of this year’s conference is “Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets” and it will feature several experts and professionals as keynote speakers, an energy showcase of innovative projects and technologies, interactive small-group discussions, and an exciting competition where student innovators can pitch projects to win seed funding. Whether you’re already an expert or you just want to get your toes wet, this is a great opportunity to learn from the pros! If you want to learn more about the conference or register to attend, visit the conference website. And while you’re at it, reduce your energy usage in the dorm by:
- Unplugging electronics
- Turning of your power strip
- Turning off your laptop overnight
- Turning off the lights when you’re not around
- Choosing the woolens setting on the washing machines (they do the same job with less energy!)
As always, if you have any questions regarding these events or sustainability in the dorms, contact your friendly neighborhood Eco-rep for answers! Hope you all have a wonderful (and environmentally-friendly) week!
–Angie (Eco-rep for Carm)
by Arshiya Goel
This week the Eco-reps had Dr. Jack Barbash as a guest speaker. A research chemist for the U.S. Geological Survey, he spoke to us about his job and his views on the green movement. I was especially inspired by his dedication to living sustainably. When he visited Boston from California, he took the train (a three day journey) instead of flying! We were all impressed by the amount of patience this takes and what a big difference it makes. Airplanes are the worst gas-guzzlers and have humongous carbon footprints, while trains use only a small percentage of that energy for the same distance travelled.
It’s not easy to forgo the ease of flying for long train journeys in order to reduce your carbon footprint, but the key to sustainable living is baby steps towards those big commitments! Here are a few simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and live green during college!
- Recycle! Tufts recycles everything from paper, cardboard, hard plastics to aluminum foil and metals. Just look at the front of the bins on your floors.
- Use CFL or LED bulbs. They use less energy and last for decades. Take your old bulbs to the Office of Sustainability (on the back of Miller Hall) to trade them in for a CFL!
- Use cold wash when doing laundry. This is better for your clothes and uses a lot less energy. To do this in the dorm laundry machines choose “woolens” or “bright colors”.
- Plug your electronics into a power strip and remember to turn it off when you leave your room. This stops them from leaking “vampire energy”.
- Compost your food scraps! Our dorm composts can compost nearly everything (but no meat, dairy or eggs, please).
- Try to cut down on your shower time or just turn the faucet off while shampooing.
- You can recycle batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones, and even electronic chargers. Look for the white boxes in your dorms and in some other buildings on campus!
- REDUCE! Think about the packaged things you are buying and make choices that decrease the waste you produce.
For more information and tips you can ask any Eco-rep for a Green Guide. These are just small steps towards creating a sustainable lifestyle. Every decision you make can make a difference. With every step we take, we aim to collectively reduce our negative impact on the climate as a species. It’s not always easy and it’s rarely comfortable, but it is essential for our future on this planet. And maybe next time you need to travel from Boston to New York or Seattle to Portland you can consider taking a train and enjoying the beautiful scenery from ground level!
by Ellen Osborn
Hey there Tufts greenies!
The Eco-reps have been busy this week, just as I’m sure you have been! The semester is in full swing, especially with the kick-off of RECYCLEMANIA!!! The competition is officially on, so start obsessively sorting trash everywhere you go, but especially in your own dorm to win the inter-dorm competition and claim the epic prize at the end!
This week, residents of Hodgdon Hall taste-tested bottled and tap water during the Superbowl to see if they could taste the difference, as many big bottle companies claim most can. As Eco-Rep Arshiya Goel predicted, her residents mostly preferred the tap water! So fill those water bottles at the fountain without fear, Jumbos: you’re getting a great deal and saving the planet one plastic bottle at a time! Thanks to our guinea pigs, the wonderful residents of Hodgdon Hall, who were multi-tasking, taking their Superbowl time to create some fascinating new data in favor of sustainability!
Wren Hall is making green strides this week as well with the kick-off of a new DORM BAGS campaign. Piloted last semester, the project is back in full swing with lots of new bags and potential users! Residents are very excited for this new resource as thawing sidewalks start to make a trek to Whole Foods actually realistic. The bags can be signed out for a day and are set up in the lobby. They can be seen as you stroll by uphill, so take a peek! And, if you live in Wren, enjoy the new bags!
by Murvi Babalola
There’s a crazy rumor going around that South Hall is one of the hottest dorms (if not the hottest dorm) on campus. In the past few months that Jesse and I have been Eco-Reps here, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this is, indeed, a fact, it is largely due to the Eco-Reps’ presence in the dorm.
The Eco-Reps have been very active in South Hall these past few days. We revamped our compost facilities, re-launched our FreeCycle campaign, and hosted our Meet-and-Greet for the semester. One of our goals this semester was to keep the compost fresh, and what better way to do that than to put on the face of the Fresh Prince himself? By the end of the month, we plan to have compost bins on every floor with the faces on Will and Carlton on each of them, reminding residents to keep the compost fresh simply by closing the lid.
Our Meet-and-Greet was great! We served milk and cookies in some compostable cups left over from our smoothie event last semester. Everyone that came through made a sustainability pledge, committing to perform at least one day-to-day action in a more sustainable way. They put these pledges on paper leaves, which will soon go up on the SoHa Sustain-a-Tree in the lovely eco-nook.
When SoHa residents heard about the Sustainable Selfie Contest, they were only too happy to pose with me, giving their best selfie faces. You saw it here first, folks; this is the start of a beautiful union between South Hall and the Eco-Reps.
It might be a little early to be talking, but to all the other dorms, WE’RE TAKING THE RECYCLEMANIA PRIZE THIS YEAR!
There’s really nothing cooler than being green.
Until next week!
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!
It’s been a busy and exciting week as the Tufts Eco-Reps got back to work across campus! First and foremost, we are very pleased to introduce Andrew Williams, our new Rep for Blakeley Hall! Andrew is a second year MALD student at the Fletcher School, an avid cyclist, and a distance runner. We’re so glad to have him join the team, and we’re looking forward to working with Fletcher students to promote sustainability.
In other news, this past week Reps continued to host “Meet-and-Greets” in their halls as a way of getting to know residents, plan future activities, and discuss sustainable behavior. Cookies, brownies, and music were all brought out to start the year off with good vibes and good humor. Many halls constructed new Terracycle boxes or reconstructed old ones as a way of further diverting wrappers from the waste stream, and composting bins have now spread to all of the dorms.
The Eco-Reps also enjoyed the Tufts Freecycle event hosted by the Sustainability Suite this past Friday. At the event, people were able to drop off old clothing, shoes, sombreros, parasols, and other items, with the opportunity to find for themselves a great pair of used jeans, a comfy sweater, or a sweet new carpet. All this, while chatting over music, fresh baked treats, and beautiful weather!
Looking ahead, the Reps are beginning to plan events and campaigns for the remainder of the semester–things that should be both a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and stay green!
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!
We here at the Office of Sustainability have trouble containing our excitement about all things environmental. So we decided that the best way to celebrate Earth Day was with not one but TWO weeks of activities! If you missed the first week, you can still get in on the fun with a variety of happenings (see below!).
Last week our Eco-Reps
held a session on natural spas, and on Sunday we joined student groups on campus for EarthFest 2013! It was a beautiful day – the Eco-Reps held another successful clothing swap (look at all those clothes!), we tested students’ recycling IQs, students from a Climate Justice course presented their final project, and MORE!
We have also extended our Earth Week Scavenger Hunt
for another week! Snap some cool pictures of specific items and people around campus, post them to our Twitter
pages, and you could win a cool reusable shopping bag that folds into its own pouch and is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.
It is important to remember, however, that Earth Day (Earth Week, Earth Month) is just a greater surge in what should be a year-round effort. Make a change today, small or large. Take advantage of the many resources available on our website and blog, submit events and comments to help us improve, and always feel free to actually stop by to talk! Many thanks also to Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE), the Environmental Studies department, and Tufts Sustainability Collective for all that they do!
Also happening this week:
If you live in a dorm at Tufts, don’t forget to take our short survey about the Tufts Eco-Rep program
. By completing the survey, you will be entered into a raffle for $50!
Earth Week Events
Please join the Office of Sustainability
for a free viewing of YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip!
“Called to action by a planet in peril, three friends hit the road – traveling with hope, humor, and all of their garbage – to explore every state in America (the good, the bad…and the weird) in search of the extraordinary innovators and citizens who are tackling humanity’s greatest environmental crises.” Expect to laugh, learn – and enjoy some FREE Flatbread
PIZZA while you’re at it!
In addition to the screening of YERT, here is a selection of Earth Week events happening on the Tufts campus or in the area!
- Tuesday, April 23: Infrastructure for the New Economy, Somerville, 12:30PM
- Thursday, April 25: Sustainability UnConference, Cambridge, 5PM
- Friday, April 26: Celebrate the Tufts Rain Garden, Medford Campus, 1PM
- Friday, April 26: Wind Technology Testing Center Tour, Charlestown, 1:30PM
- Saturday, April 27: Mystic River Spring Cleanup, Medford, 9:30AM
And as always… Stay Green!