Tag: Tufts University (page 1 of 3)

Boston Campus Zero Waste Picnic

Another president’s picnic, this time on the Boston campus! Although it was forecast to rain, we luckily didn’t feel a single drop throughout the duration of the event.

As with all of our zero waste events, all of the trash bins normally available in the green space next to the Jaharis Building for Biomedical and Nutrition Sciences on the Boston campus were covered so that attendees would not be able to use them.

Something that was different about this particular zero waste event was that everything given to the attendees including cups, plates, utensils, and napkins were all completely compostable. While we usually have both recycling and composting toters at our zero waste events, at this event we simply needed to direct people to place all their used items and leftover food into the compost.

Michelle with the free reusable sandwich bag she got for bringing her own place setting!

As has become tradition, we handed out free sandwich bags to the lucky first 50 people who came to the Office of Sustainability’s table with their own reusable place settings from home (or from their office!).

President Monaco picking the raffle winner!

 

Additionally, everyone who brought a component of a reusable place setting was invited to enter our raffle. President Monaco picked the lucky winner, Dorothy Vannah, the director of the Simulation Learning Center at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

The lucky winner with her new lunchbox!

In addition to handing out flyers about commuting benefits and becoming an Eco-Ambassador, we also had Michelle Lee-Bravatti, a second-year graduate student at the Friedman School help spread the word about the new composting program at the Boston campus that she initiated this past spring. Not only are there composting bins in several locations throughout the Boston campus, individual offices can also inquire about getting an office composting bin. Be sure to contact michelle.lee_bravatti@tufts.edu for more information.

Next week, we’ll be in Grafton for the final President’s Picnic of the year!

Tufts Community Resilience Building Workshop

In 2016, Tufts University’s President Anthony Monaco signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment on behalf of the university. The Commitment integrates two critical components of climate leadership: carbon neutrality and climate resilience. One stipulation of the Commitment is for the university to complete a campus-community resilience assessment.

While climate change mitigation strategies aimed to reduce carbon emissions are often emphasized, it is equally important to consider how communities can plan for the predicted impacts of climate change.  In addition, due to recent events such as Tropical Storm Irene and Sandy, there is a heightened sense of urgency within our local and regional communities to increase resilience and adapt to extreme weather events.

In order to advance the Climate Commitment goals and address concerns that the Tufts community has regarding natural and climate-related hazards, Tufts University hosted a Community Resilience Building Workshop for the Medford/Somerville campus. The workshop took place on May 3rd, and was facilitated by The Nature Conservancy.

Picture from the resilience building workshop, attendees listening to speaker

Source: Adam Whelchel/TNC

Community Resilience Building workshops help municipalities and institutions create an opportunity for their community to to gather and plan proactively for potential emergencies. This is an important step towards climate adaptation and community capacity-building to deal with a changing climate.

The Tufts University Core Team that helped prepare for and organize this workshop included Tina Woolston from the Office of Sustainability, Geoff Bartlett and Matt Hart from the Department of Public and Environmental Safety Emergency Management Unit, as well as two Tufts students, Emma Conroy and Sophie Lehrenbaum.

Around 60 Tufts and surrounding community members attended the workshop, including representatives from various Tufts groups such as Facilities, Finance, Health Services, Construction, Public and Environmental Health and Safety, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, representatives from the City of Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment and Office of Public Health, the City of Somerville’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency were also present.

The full day event started with an overview of climate change impacts in the Northeast, the top 4 potential climate related hazards as identified during a recent Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment undertaken by the Department of Public and Environmental Health and Safety, and an introduction to the resources that would be discussed during the next portion of the event. These resources included maps of the campus, the existing hazard mitigation plan, information on the number of days over 90 degrees and flooding, as well as maps depicting natural disasters that have affected the area.

Source: Adam Whelchel/TNC

Attendees were then broken up into five groups, and through a facilitated process, discussed the existing vulnerabilities and strengths of the campus, and prioritized concrete actions that could be taken. As a part of this process, each group illustrated where they thought vulnerable areas and potential hazards were located on top of a base map of the university.

One group’s illustration of hazards on the Medford/Somerville campus (Source: Adam Whelchel/TNC)

While all groups recognized that Tufts, along with its host cities, already has many strengths and assets that will help in emergency situations, many recommendations were made on how Tufts could better prepare for such events through longer term, comprehensive planning.

Some of the top priorities for action by the Medford/Somerville campus community that came out of the workshop were:

  1. Human Welfare – supporting students and employees during an emergency
  2. Infrastructure – utilities, stormwater, and continuity planning and upgrades
  3. Food – food supply, distribution, and storage during an emergency

Community-based actions towards adapting to the predicted impacts of climate change can lead to planning and preparation that meets the specific needs of the community and the local landscape. In addition, it helps empower community members to take charge and prepare for some of the climate-related challenges we currently face as a society that may not be within our individual control to avoid.

Adam Whelchel, the lead facilitator of the workshop, commented, “the Nature Conservancy is proud to have played a part in helping Tufts University take a significant step towards enhanced resilience via the Community Resilience Building process. Tufts now joins an elite group of universities around the globe that have proactively embraced resilience as an opportunity to find a more vibrant future for their faculty, staff, students, and the surrounding community.”

Similar Community Resilience Building Workshops will be coming to the Boston and Grafton campuses soon, stay tuned!

 

2018 Spotlight Award from MassRIDES

At the recent president’s picnic, Carlos Robles from MassRIDES presented our own Shoshana Blank with our 2018 Spotlight Award.  MassRIDES is a program of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) that works to reduce traffic condition and improve air quality in the state through partnerships with employers, colleges, and universities.

The Spotlight Award is given to companies and organizations that offer and incentivize sustainable commuting options. Tufts University was given an honorable mention for our various efforts to promote public transportation, biking, and other sustainable forms of transportation.

Many employees, staff, and students commute to Tufts Medford, Boston, SMFA and Grafton campuses on a daily basis. Sustainable transportation helps reduce traffic congestion, improves air quality, and supports strong local and regional economies.

Not only is biking and taking public transportation a more sustainable way to commute, it can also be a much more peaceful and rewarding endeavor! A driven commute during rush hours in Boston be incredibly stressful, so why not take public transportation instead? Instead of being stuck in stop-and-go traffic, you could be on a bus reading a book, or on a bike releasing some stress-relieving endorphins.

So how do we promote and facilitate public transportation here at Tufts?

Getting the word out:

All new staff hired at Tufts go through an orientation to encourage sustainable commuting. There, they are provided with information on programs like Bay State Commute and MassRIDE’s Emergency Ride Home which offer reimbursements and incentives for taking public transportation, carpooling, and biking. The Office of Sustainability also hands out commuting brochures to new students at all graduate student orientations and at a number of undergraduate orientation events.

Tufts Initiatives to Promote Sustainable Commuting:

  • This year Tufts started offering all of its employees a 35% discount on their MBTA passes .
  • Tufts Bikes, a student-run bikeshare, has 30 bicycles available for rent to encourage biking. Bikes and helmets are checked out just like library books, and can be kept for up to 8 hours.
  • We have 11 Zipcars on campus and the annual membership is discounted for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Shuttles connect the Medford/Somerville campus to the Davis Square train station, as well as to our SMFA campus in the Fenway. Live tracking of our shuttles is available on the Tufts Mobile app.
  • Students at the SMFA campus can receive Lyft credits for a Safe Ride between campus buildings.

Resources for Sustainable Commuting:

  • Our Sustainable Commuting brochures for the BostonGrafton, and SMFA campuses highlight many of the commuter benefit programs available to Tufts employees as well as information on MBTA discounts offered through Tufts, carshare and ride matching programs, and several public transportation options and routes.
  • Our Bike Guide publication and website illustrate where cyclists can lock up, get their bikes fixed at the FixIt station, and shower on campus.
  • The Tufts Eco-Map is available online, in print, as well as on the Tufts Mobile app and Google Maps. It shows features such as EV charging stations, Zipcars, Hubway bikes, Tufts Bikes bikeshare, MBTA bus stops, and Tufts shuttle stops.

 

We’re Hiring Eco-Reps!

Eco-Reps serve all 16 halls that have RAs, including Blakeley Hall at the Fletcher School. A parallel GreECO Rep program serves the Greek Life Community.

What can I expect?

Eco-Reps participate in a week-long training during new student orientation, come to 1.25 hour weekly meetings throughout the academic year (on Wednesdays during open block from noon-1:15pm), and work 3-5 hours per week in their dorm. Eco-Reps are paid $11/hour, and area leaders paid $11.25/hour.

At the weekly meetings, the Eco-Reps learn about environmental issues, how Tufts and other entities try to combat these issues, general event planning techniques, community-based social marketing strategies, and other topics of interest.

Eco-Reps run events individually and together, plan and lead behavior change campaigns in the dorms, maintain compost bins and bulletin boards in their dorms, collaborate with RAs and student groups, write weekly blog updates, participate in personal challenges, go on field trips, learn about sustainability and environmental issues, put up posters and signs, go to hall snacks, meet with duty teams, send out e-newsletters, make friends and generally have a lot of fun!

We encourage all interested students to talk to the Eco-Rep in your dorm to get an idea of what is involved. Your Eco-Rep can also provide a recommendation for you. If your dorm does not have an Eco-Rep, contact the Eco-Rep Coordinators for next year at applytuftsecoreps@gmail.com  or talk to any of the current or past Eco-Reps listed on our website. You may also view the job description here.

How are Eco-Reps selected?

Eco-Rep selections are made at the end of the Spring semester for the following year and are based on a written application and an interview. Recommendations are occasionally requested. Additional Eco-Reps may be hired during the last month of the Fall semester to replace Eco-Reps who will not be returning for the Spring semester.

Applicants are evaluated on their:

  • Level of enthusiasm for the program
  • Dorm of residence
  • Ability to communicate effectively and get along with others
  • Past history of taking initiative
  • Creativity
  • Amount of time they are able to commit to the program
  • Environmental knowledge (not required, but a plus!)
  • Charisma

Applicants who are self-starters, outgoing, eager to learn, comfortable teaching others and not over committed in other areas of their lives do well in the Eco-Reps program and can make a big difference in their dorms’ culture.

Dorms that currently have Eco-Reps are Blakeley, Bush, Carmichael (2), Carpenter House, Haskell, Hill, Hodgdon, Houston, Lewis (2), Metcalf, Miller, Richardson, South (2), Tilton, West, Wilson, and Wren.  In addition, there are two Greek Life Advisors.

Eco-Reps are not required to live in the dorm that they work in, but it is strongly preferred.

Returning Eco-Reps may live off campus, but first-year Eco-Reps must live in on-campus housing. Every effort is made to assign Eco-Reps a dorm that is close to their own residence.

Preference is given to students who will be on campus for the entire year, but individuals going abroad for one semester are also encouraged to apply.

Students from all majors, interests, and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. You do not need to be an Environmental Studies major.

Why should I become an Eco-Rep?

As an individual in the Eco-Rep program, you will grow as a leader and as an environmental citizen.

With each week in the program, you will develop your communication skills as well as your knowledge and understanding of your own impact on the environment and how you can train yourself, as well as those around them, to change their behaviors.

This fulfilling and engaging job enables you to promote a sustainable future and will equip you with many of the leadership and practical skills necessary to become a sought after job candidate in the future.

If you are passionate about the environment, the Tufts community, creating change, and working with a great group of new friends you can make a difference as an Eco-Rep!

Apply now

Food For Those in Need

170131_food_recovery_L

Students and staff help rescue prepared foods and create ready-to-eat meals for local families

Get the full story on Tufts Now.

Older posts