Category: People (page 1 of 33)

Tufts Student Studies Sustainability and Food Systems in Italy

PERUGIA, Italy — “So many people told me that the most important thing I could do at Tufts would be to study abroad. Tufts really focuses on intercultural communication and awareness,” said Alex Cherry from his seat at a café in the center of Perugia, Italy. Alex is pursuing a Dual Major in International Relations and Environmental Studies at Tufts University, though he is currently studying abroad through the Food & Sustainability Studies Program (FSSP) at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program in Italy.

At Tufts, Alex says that his educational background has had a focus on the science and policy of environmental studies, while at Umbra “the focus has been more on cultural identity and the contrasting ways that different societies produce and consume food.” Umbra’s FSSP is a curricular concentration that applies an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food and sustainability in order to discover how the individual, the community, and society relate to food in Italy, America, and elsewhere. As part of the program, Alex has taken courses in the history and culture of food, sustainability and food production, and the business of wine.

A key characteristic of the FSSP is that all courses include a series of co- and extra-curricular activities as a supplement to topics discussed in class. To develop a deep understanding of various food production processes, Alex has spent his semester cooking an antique Roman recipe in Florence; exploring an ancient pharmacy to learn about the medicinal characteristics of food; touring multiple, family-run, organic wineries and cheese producers; working in a synergistic garden; and visiting local farmers’ markets. He has also had the opportunity to go truffle- hunting in the hills of Umbria and discuss organic agriculture with Matteo Bartolini, a lobbyist for the European Agricultural Commission for Sustainable Agricultural Reform. When asked what he thought of the flurry of community engagement activities that filled his semester, Alex responded, “What’s the point of being a student? Why am I studying? It is so that I can be trained in a professional way so that I can go and do something for the community that I am a part of.”

In addition to his courses within the FSSP, Alex chose to compliment his semester studies with CESP 351: Fair Trade Practices: Seminar and Practicum. During the course’s practicum, Alex works in a local fair trade shop and assists with the advertisement of events that promote fair trade concepts to the locals of Perugia. He commented that the shop’s community is welcoming to volunteers of all backgrounds, including locals with mental or physical disabilities. “The whole ethos of what they do is making sure that everyone is getting what they deserve, to create a community space,” said Alex as he described how the fundamentals of fair trade translate into the shop’s community. During the seminar portion of the course, the class reviews the impact of fair trade on both local and global economies, the place for fair trade inside the global market, and the role of the World Fair Trade Organization. Readings and discussions offer comparative analysis of Italian and American perspectives on global markets and the complexities of communicating such a topic across cultures.

As he ended his conversation with Umbra staff, Alex explained that he feels it is important for students of an interdisciplinary field, such as food and environmental studies, to learn to have a well-rounded perspective that discounts neither science nor culture and history. He concluded saying, “I am really glad that I got to see both the Italian and American perspective [on food systems] at the same time and in the same place.”

About Food & Sustainability Studies at the Umbra Institute:

The Food & Sustainability Studies Program is an interdisciplinary curricular concentration at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program located in the central Italian city of Perugia. Often called a “big university town in a small Italian city,” Perugia is the ideal setting to study abroad in Italy, with fine arts, business, and liberal arts courses. For more information about the Umbra Institute or its Food & Sustainability Studies Program, contact the associate director of the Program, Zachary Nowak (znowak@umbra.org). You can also watch a short video describing studying at the Umbra Institute.

Earth Month Celebrations

Tufts has a month-long series of events planned to educate the community about sustainability issues. The month will culminate with an Earth Day celebration on the Medford/Somerville campus.

See the Facebook event

April 6th
Lunch & Learn: An acidifying ocean: Where might it lead?
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 6th
Medford Bike Commission Meeting
6:00-7:30 PM, Tufts University Mayer Campus Center, Room 012

April 7th
Tufts Food Systems Symposium: Intersections of Waste and Food Insecurity
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Breed Hall, 51 Winthrop Street

April 7th
Hillel’s Farm to Table Shabbat Dinner
5:00-9:00 PM, Tufts Hillel, 220 Packard Ave

April 10th
CIERP Research Seminar: Ujjayant Chakravorty
12:30 – 1:40 PM, Cabot 702

April 10th

Federalism in the Era of Climate Change

6:30 PM, Barnum 104

April 11th
TIE-SEI Nexus Symposium
1:00-6:00 PM, Alumnae Lounge

April 12th
ENVS Internship Poster Symposium
12:00-1:00 PM, Remis Sculpture Court

April 12th
Hot Topics in the Environmental Industry (Networking Event)
5:00-7:00 PM, Alumnae Lounge

April 13th
Lunch & Learn: Sustainability at the municipal level in Somerville
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 13th

MassDEP Climate Meeting: AlChE Boston Dinner

6:00- 8:30 PM, SciTech

April 14th
Environmental Escapade to the Boston Public Market + art exhibit at Hay Market
12:50-3:10PM, Back of Miller Hall

April 18th
Eco-Rep movie screening of The Age of Consequences
6:00 PM, Tisch 304

April 19th
Voices from the Edge: Gina McCarthyFacebook Event Page 
7:30PM, Alumnae Lounge
Presented by Ex College

April 20th
Lunch & Learn: Boston to Bukoba and back: Building the honey money chain
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 20th
Grafton Green Team Clothing Swap
Grafton Campus

April 20th
8th Annual WSSS Symposium
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Center

April 21st
Earth Fest + Eco-Reps Clothing Swap/Jumbo Mountain
11 am – 2 pm, Academic Quad in front of West

April 22nd
March for Science (Boston)
2:00-4:00 PM, Boston Common

April 24th
Clean Water, Healthy Rivers: Preventing toxic algae blooms in local waterways
6:30-7:45 PM, Barnum 104

April 27th
Lunch & Learn: Drought, blight, and the aesthetics of dispossession
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

If you are planning any Earth Month events at Tufts that were not included on this list, please contact sustainabilityoffice@tufts.edu and we will add them.

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

Tufts Dining Hosts Waste Less Dinner

On February 2nd, 2017 Tufts Dining hosted the annual Waste Less Dinner in Dewick. At the dinner, students were encouraged to only take what they could finish, and to eat everything on their plate. Student volunteers collected and weighed any food waste before dirty dishes were sent through the conveyor belt into the dish room.

Food waste is one of the largest components in our landfills, and emits CO2 into the atmosphere as it breaks down.

Take a look at pictures from the event below!

 

Juleen Wong,  A17, a volunteer at the Waste Less Dinner, disposes of food waste before sending the plate back into the kitchen.

 

 

Students line up to hand volunteers their dirty dishes at the Waste Less Dinner.

 

 

Dana, Manager of Dewick-MacPhie (right), and Gary, Manager of Hodgdon (left) attend the Waste Less Dinner.

 

 

Students collect the food waste from Waste Less Dinner attendees’ plates.

 

 

Students volunteer to help run the Waste Less Dinner.

 

 

A view of the food waste station from above

 

 

Tufts Dining provides information about reducing food waste at Tufts.

 

 

 

 

Spring into Meatless Mondays

Eco Reps Meatless Monday Title Photo

Sometimes, it can feel like there isn’t much to be done as an individual seeking to combat the state of our environment, particularly as courses gear up and overwhelm students with reading, problem sets, papers, exams, and stress. If you are feeling a little lost or can’t find your place in the environmental movement, or you just want to talk to really cool, interesting, and motivated Jumbos, be sure to stop by Carm and Dewick between 5pm and 7pm on Monday nights. That’s right, this semester Eco-Reps are back at it again with the Meatless Mondays.

If you’ve ever walked into the dining hall around this time before, you have probably noticed a table of eager Eco-Reps asking you if you’ll eat meatless tonight. This semester, be sure to say hello and talk to them about any of your environmental interests, comments, questions, or concerns. Eco-Reps are a wonderful resource to us students on campus. They are here to help and support us through our semester in a more sustainable way. Each week, they will be talking to us about different environmental themes, including topics in sustainable agriculture. Take this opportunity to learn more about ways that you can make a difference in your daily choices!

 

Meet Your Eco Reps CTA

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