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Eco-Ambassador Laurie Sabol: a green champion within and beyond Tufts

Laurie accepting the Bridge Builder Award from President Emeritus Larry Bacow

Last June at the 2011 Tufts Distinction Awards, the Office of Sustainability was proud to note that former Eco-Ambassador Laurie Sabol (FY 2009-10) was recognized* with a Bridge Builder Award for “bringing out the best in others”. It is easy to see why: apart from being the Social Sciences reference librarian at Tisch Library, Laurie has long been a “green advocate” within and beyond the Tufts community.

During her stint as an Eco-Ambassador, she wrote a proposal to start the Tisch Sustainability Team which has since received support and recognition from library administration. The Team has started several initiatives such as office composting and becoming a TerraCycle recycling site for chip/granola bar bags and writing implements. (Proceeds from TerraCycle benefit the Eco-Reps program.)

On being an Eco-Ambassador, Laurie says she really enjoyed networking with people she otherwise would not have met. She found the session on “Social Marketing and Communicating Change” most helpful because she found that the biggest challenge is convincing people to actively participate in sustainable initiatives.

In 2000, Laurie answered a call for board members at the statewide recycling coalition Mass Recycle and became involved with the organization for six years. She served as the board’s secretary, doing a lot of “grunt work” but also looked for speakers and spoke at a conference herself two years ago about the Tisch Sustainability Team. Of her time at Mass Recycle, she humbly remarks that “I learned how much I didn’t know.”

Before joining Tufts, Laurie worked at Chicago Public Library and Bowling Green State University (Ohio) where she had also started recycling initiatives. “At Chicago Public Library, we just had a laundry cart that we filled with newspapers and I found a local recycling organization who would take them.” There was no formal organization or recognition, as was the case in Bowling Green where the library staff began recycling cans and hauling the lot themselves to a recycling facility nearby. “It was fun and very low maintenance,” Laurie recalls. “We’d bring the cans over every Friday and go out for a beer.”

Not surprisingly, Laurie remains an active member of MassRecycle and the recycling program at her current hometown of Ayer, MA. She’s got plenty of other things going on, so drop by the library sometime and ask her about being a weekend puppy mom for NEADS and what she was doing in Xi’an, China in 1992…

*Another Eco-Ambassador, Chantal Hardy (FY 2010-11) of the English Department was also recognized for exceptional customer service with The Extra Mile Award.

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