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!
Hi everyone! The Eco-Reps program is proud to welcome four new reps for the spring 2013 semester. Vishakha Ramakrishnan is in Bush Hall. Charlotte Clarke is taking over Hill. Norihito Naka is joining Haskell Hall. You can find out more about our lovely new members here.
Spring events preview
This past week all the Reps hosted “meet and greets” in their dorm. We run these events every semester to get to know some new residents and reconnect with others. Each rep offered a unique event featuring everything from baked goods to recycling pledges to green dorm room surveys!
This semester we have some big events we’ll be working on as a group. For the first one we are teaming up with Tufts Recycles to work on Recyclemania. Recyclemania is a national competition to see which university is the best at recycling. The grade scale focuses on the percentage of recyclables thrown in the trash can. At Tufts, we will also be doing an inter-dorm competition. Be sure to look out for grades posted in your building and around campus. The Eco-Reps kicked off the event in Dewick dining hall last wednesday passing out candy and information regarding the event. You can track our national progress and learn more about the competition at http://recyclemaniacs.org/.
A team of our reps met with David McGraw at the Office for Campus Life this past week to talk about making Spring Fling more sustainable. We’ll be working more on this during the upcoming weeks.
Last but not least, Meatless Meals will be happening in Dewick dining hall Wednesdays from 6-7 pm.
The Holiday season is in full swing, and what better to make the winter a little brighter than with some do-it-yourself decorating! Earth 911 has come up with ten fun do-it-yourself decorations for Hanukkah. Check them out here and start your green decorating today!
Tufts Community Relations (TCR) has been working with University Information Technology (UIT) for several years to donate computers to community agencies and schools.
The Tufts Computer Donation Program collects, cleans up and donates Tufts-owned computers that are less than five years old to the Grafton, Boston, and Medford/Somerville communities. Older computers are recycled via Tufts’ long-standing recycling program. Before donation, all computer hard drives are wiped and their operating systems reinstalled. UIT then provides a list of available computers to TCR to identify organizations that would benefit from a donation.
Medford/Somerville faculty and staff with old computers to donate should go to Facilities’ website and ask to schedule a time for them to pick-up your old computer. If you work in Boston or Grafton, email email@example.com. For more details, visit UIT’s website.