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Student Projects Database Intern – Office of Sustainability (Medford, MA)

This position has been filled.

The Office of Sustainability (OOS) seeks an intern to create a database of student class projects related to environmental sustainability. The intern will be responsible for transforming this information into a searchable database for the OOS website. The intern will also be tasked with organizing a symposium for current sustainability research projects, to be held at the end of the semester or the academic year. This is a great opportunity for a student with experience in computer science to be involved with sustainability efforts at Tufts!

Requirements: Applicants must be highly capable in database design, as well as organized, detail-oriented, and self-motivated. Written and event organization skills are also imperative. Previous experience with sustainability projects on Tufts campus preferred. This position is open to Tufts students who are studying at the undergraduate or graduate levels. Work-study or non-work-study students are welcome to apply. 5 hours per week anticipated. Applicants should send a resume and cover letter to tina.woolston@tufts.edu.

Position to be filled as soon as possible. Applicants should apply early.

GIS Lab Assistant, Tufts UIT (Medford, MA)

Tufts University Information Technology group is seeking responsible students who would like to help support the GIS Center. We are hiring for two positions: Summer 2012, approximately 20 hours of work per week, between 9 am and 5 pm and Fall 2012 semester, 8-15 hours of work per week, between 10am and 9pm. Pay: $12 per hour. The job will entail keeping the GIS lab operational, assisting students with GIS projects, and providing project support for on-going research projects at the GIS Center. Preference will be given to students with the following skills: Working knowledge of ArcGIS and willingness to learn more about ArcGIS, ENVI, IDRISI, ERDAS Imagine, Google Earth, GeoDa, Adobe products, and other computer mapping, desktop publishing, and statistical software. Must enjoy working with others and helping students learn more about GIS. Please send resume and brief description of your GIS experience to Thomas.Stieve@tufts.edu.

E.A.G.L.E. Program Manager, Eagle Eye Institute (Somerville, MA)

A full-time, paid position as Program Manager has opened up with Earth Advocates: Green Leaders for the Environment (E.A.G.L.E.). Eagle Eye seeks a creative leader with passion for empowering under-served urban youth and the organizational and supervisory skills necessary to manage an environmental education and volunteer training program in Somerville and surrounding cities. The Program Manager recruits, trains and works with Tufts students and faculty to produce programs for youth in the Greater Boston area and general office administrative duties. A successful candidate must be self-sufficient, able to work alone with remote supervision and as part of a team. He or she will be detail-oriented, and a strong problem-solver. Demonstrated interest in working with under-served, urban youth of color, curious about and has a passion for people and the environment.

Full details are available here on Eagle Eye Institute’s website.

PLEASE E-MAIL A COVER LETTER (300 WORDS) DESCRIBING YOUR QUALIFICATONS AND WHY YOU ARE THE IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR THIS POSITION AND FOR EAGLE EYE.  INCLUDE  A RESUME AND PROVIDE TWO LETTERS OF REFERENCE no later than February 15 to:

Anthony Sanchez, Co-Founder and President by email to asanchez@eagleeyei.org

GIS Data Technician, Tufts U Information Technology Group (Medford, MA)

Tufts University Information Technology group is seeking responsible students for Spring 2012 semester who would like to help support the GIS Center. 8-15 hours of work per week, between 10am and 5pm.

Pay: $12 per hour. The job will entail GIS metadata development, checking and data loading into a spatial database engine/SQL in support of Tufts Geospatial data repository. Preference given to students with the following skills: Working knowledge of ArcGIS Catalog and/or willingness to learn more about metadata, database management, spatial database engines, XML or text editing, and data layers. Please send resume and brief description of your GIS experience to Thomas.Stieve@tufts.edu.

Emissions to decrease as Central Heating Plant switches to natural gas

On a quiet Friday last month when the campus was mostly deserted for Veterans Day, Tufts Facilities shut down the Central Heating Plant located between Dowling and East Halls to have the chimney cleaned. No, it was not to help Santa stay soot- free this Christmas – it was the final step in getting the gas turned on for the winter.

New (yellow) gas lines were installed at the Central Heating Plant this past fall

The plant began using natural gas as its main fuel on November 30 and significantly lightened Tufts’ carbon footprint in Medford. CO2 emissions in FY 2012 in the Medford campus are estimated to decrease by 8% from FY 2011 levels despite a projected increase in energy consumption by 7.8%.

According to Tufts’ Director of Facilities Technical Services Betsy Isenstein, the transition is the result of “a fortunate confluence of events”.

Unbeknownst to most people who live and work on the Tufts Medford campus, the central heating plant was forced to switch fuels in the middle of last winter from burning No. 6 to No. 2 fuel oil because of a shipment of substandard No. 6 fuel that could not be used. No. 6 fuel oil (also known “bunker C” or residual fuel oil) is the heaviest, thickest, cheapest, and – not surprisingly – the dirtiest of six available grades of fuel oil in the US.

One of two updated boilers

Shortly afterwards, a routine inspection led to the discovery of issues with two of the fuel tanks outside the central heating plant and prompted the university to move up scheduled upgrades for two boilers that were installed in the 80s. The upgraded boilers are not only more efficient, but they have the ability to burn both natural gas and No. 2 fuel oil.

With the price of natural gas at a historic low, the fuel switch made economic as well as environmental sense. National Grid installed a new gas line from Boston Avenue up to Central Heating Plant and upgraded 1,100 feet of gas main along Boston Avenue last summer in order to bring the amount of natural gas needed up the hill to supply the central heating plant.

The new yellow gas lines look very sharp next to old fuel piping which will be replaced in the near future. #2 fuel will be maintained as a backup.

Natural gas is the cleanest of fuels commonly used for residential and commercial space heating. Switching from No. 6 fuel oil to No. 2 last winter already reduced CO2 emissions by about 7%,  switching from No. 6 to natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by about 30%,  sulfur dioxide (SO2) by over 99%, nitrous oxides (NOx) by about 75% and particulate matter (PM2.5) by about 96%.[1]

In contrast, No. 6 fuel oil comes from the “bottom of the barrel”. It is the sludge that remains after removal of distillates such as gasoline so it has a higher concentration of metals than other oil. Burning No. 6 fuel oil produces darker smoke and higher CO2 emissions than other types of fuel, and “sludge-burning” boilers have been identified as contributors to increased air pollution and consequently, a higher incidence of respiratory problems.

The retrofitted system provides state-of-the-art boiler controls.

The transition has been smooth so far, according to Isenstein. Next spring, fuel storage will be replaced to better handle No. 2 fuel, which will only be used as a backup in case the gas supply fails. A third fuel tank installed in the late ‘50s will no longer be needed, so it will be removed next year and possibly replaced. The central plant heats almost every Tufts building on the hill between Professors Row and part of Boston Avenue. Three smaller plants and a number of stand alone boilers heat the rest of the Medford campus.

The fuel switch at the Central Heating Plant was a big win in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a single initiative, but given recent reports that 2010 was a record year for C02 emissions, there is still plenty of work to be done. Do your part by living sustainably and remember that all journeys begin with small steps. You can download the Green Guide to Living and Working at Tufts or visit the Office of Sustainability website to see how you can get involved in making the world a greener place.


[1] The Bottom of the Barrel: How the dirtiest heating oil pollutes our air and harms our health. M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC and the Urban Green Council for EDF, Dec 2009.

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