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!