Category: Sustainability News (page 2 of 63)

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Green Fund Winners!

On Monday December 13th, forty members of the Tufts community gathered in Alumnae Lounge and over Zoom to watch the Green Fund finalists pitch their project ideas (swipe through event photos and videos here.) After the final presentation event, the Green Fund selection committee deliberated and voted to award all six finalists funding for their projects! 

Over the next year, the winners will implement their projects across multiple Tufts campuses in the areas of specialty recycling, waste reduction, transportation, lab procedures, and pollinator ecosystems. We’ll keep you updated on their progress on our social media and monthly newsletters

2021-2022 Winning Projects

Medford/Somerville Campus

Tufts Pollinator Initiative 2.0 – submitted by Nick Dorian and Jessie Thuma 

Five images of flowers, a bee on a flower, a group of students, students in a pollinator garden, and a student with a butterfly net.

Tufts Pollinator Initiative 2.0 (TPI 2.0) is a project that will build on a previous Green Fund proposal from the Tufts Pollinator Initiative. The Green Fund selection committee awarded TPI 2.0 $11,000 to enhance urban pollinator conservation by planting new pollinator gardens, training Tufts undergraduate students to become environmental educators, and to strengthen Tufts Pollinator Initiative’s research mentorship program.  

Previous Green Fund support has enabled TPI to plant 2500+ square feet of pollinator habitat on campus that helped support 115+ insect species, teach hundreds of Tufts undergraduate students about urban pollinators, conduct community outreach, and earn a Bee Campus USA certification from the Xerces Society. We are excited to see what they accomplish this time around! 

Tufts Pollinator Initiative Presentation | Tufts Pollinator Initiative Poster 


Pearson Bike Rack – submitted by Noah Mills 

A Man stand in front of a poster explaining a bike rack installation project.

The Pearson Bike Rack project will install two additional bike racks next to existing racks outside of the Pearson Chemistry Building. The Green Fund committee awarded this project $6,770 for the construction and installation of the two new bike racks, opening up 14 new spots for students and faculty to park their bikes outside of Pearson.  

Βy providing secure and accessible bike parking, Tufts can promote bike riding to campus, which is more sustainable, safer, and takes up less space on campus than driving. As the surrounding community improves its bike infrastructure, this project allows Tufts to keep up with the increased biking popularity. Not only is this good for the environment, but you’ll get quite a workout biking up the hill! 

Pearson Bike Rack Presentation | Pearson Bike Rack Poster 


Efficient SciTech Autoclave – submitted by Michael Saad 

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SciTech Autoclave is a proposal to purchase a smaller, more efficient autoclave for the SciTech Center at Tufts. Currently, the SciTech Center has a large autoclave for sterilizing lab equipment that is highly inefficient in water and electricity usage. 

The Green Fund selection committee awarded the $6,330.77 to the SciTech Autoclave team for purchase of a smaller, more efficient autoclave. The CHBE and BME departments agreed to match up to $5,500 for the purchase of the autoclave.  

It is estimated that a smaller autoclave will save Tufts around $3,200 annually in electricity and water costs, and it is the hope of the project team and the Green Fund committee that results from this project will prompt other labs at Tufts to purchase more efficient equipment that will provide long-term cost savings. It is estimated that a smaller capacity autoclave will divert 50% of the current usage from the inefficient large autoclave. 

SciTech Autoclave Presentation | SciTech Autoclave Poster 


Boston and Grafton Campuses

Save the Fishes and Do the Dishes – submitted by Maria Brouard 

With students being busy during the semester, it is popular to order takeout within a mile radius of the Boston campus and run back to lab or the library to continue studying. Save the Fishes and Do the Dishes will provide Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) students with reusable silverware kits including a spoon, fork, knife, and chopsticks to use as an alternative to single use plastic utensils. The Green Fund selection committee awarded this project $1,090 for the purchase of these kits and outreach for student education.  

A resusable silverware set and carrying pouch laid out on a table.

This project allows students to carry reusable silverware in their backpacks and to decrease the need to use and buy single-use plastic utensils when getting takeout, therefore decreasing the overall waste created by takeout food. Moreover, it can allow students to use their own utensils for events with strict COVID procedures instead of using single use plastic. 

Save the Fishes and Do the Dishes Presentation | Save the Fishes and Do the Dishes Poster 


Greening Boston Mask Recycling – submitted by Erin Mooz 

Grafton Mask Recycling – submitted by Nicole Swanson 

The Boston Mask Recycling project will institute a mask recycling program on the Boston campus. The Green Fund selection committee awarded this project $500 for two Terracycle disposable mask recycling boxes to be placed on the Boston campus.  

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The Grafton Mask Recycling project will expand the existing mask recycling program on the Grafton campus. The Green Fund selection committee awarded this project $1,095 for five Terracycle disposable mask recycling boxes to be placed near entrances/exits and other highly trafficked areas on the Grafton campus. 

Masks are mandatory at Tufts for the foreseeable future. Disposable masks are used very frequently on these two campuses and this project will reduce the number of masks ending up in landfill waste. Keep an eye out for these boxes popping up on campus soon!

Mask Recycling Poster 


Read more about the Green Fund and past winning projects.

COP26 and You: How Global Discussions on Climate Relate to Life at Tufts

Hope, frustration, and urgency have all come out of COP26 along with updated commitments to accelerate climate solutions. But how does a massive convening of world leaders, climate activists, and global key players affect life at Tufts?

While the consequences of climate change span across the world, students, staff, and faculty here at Tufts are researching and implementing projects to reduce waste and emissions, fight for equal access to a clean planet, and work towards national and global climate goals. Below we explain the commitments agreed upon in the Glasgow Climate Pact signed at COP26 and how these are playing out on your campus.

Science and Urgency: Nations at COP26 agreed not only to “fully embed science in the decision-making process” when it comes to climate action, but to act in accordance with the urgency that is needed to achieve the goals laid out by climate science. This includes urgency to reduce global warming as we near the 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature rise limit.

At Tufts, there is a Sustainability Council made up of faculty, staff, and students that are working to identify climate issues that are most impactful to the Tufts community and set goals to address these issues in alignment with climate science and global climate goals. You can also hear directly from the Tufts delegation of students and faculty that attended COP26 about their observations and attitudes towards climate urgency at the conference.

Five Tufts students stand facing the camera with U.S. Senator Edward Markey
Tufts delegates at the U.N. climate conference met with U.S. Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts. Photo: TuftsNow

Climate Adaptation: Nations agreed to “reduce vulnerability, strengthen resilience and increase the capacity of people and the planet to adapt to the impacts of climate change.” Specifically, this includes upholding the climate adaptation goals of the Paris Climate Agreement (signed in 2015) and committing to tracking, communicating, and enhancing global progress on climate adaptation.

A group of people sitting in a room listen to someone speaking about climate resiliency
The Medford/Somerville campus community resilience building workshop held on May 3, 2018. Photo: Adam Whelchel/TNC.

In 2018, Tufts conducted a climate resiliency workshop and assessment at the Medford/Somerville campus and in 2020 conducted one at the Boston campus. Here, Tufts community members identified potential climate emergencies that Tuft’s campuses are vulnerable to and created recommendations to address these vulnerabilities.

Climate Mitigation: Nations agreed to accelerate actions that reduce their emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. These actions include, but are not limited to, decreasing coal power and other fossil fuels, reevaluating emissions reduction goals, annual reporting on progress towards long-term goals, and an invitation for nations to submit long-term strategies to reach “net zero by mid-century”.

In 2016, President Monaco signed the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitment, which committed Tufts to reach zero carbon emissions no later than 2050. The Office of Sustainability conducts annual reports on our progress towards this goal and The Tufts University Operations Division recently published an Energy & Water data dashboard showing yearly energy emissions data.

You can take part in this effort to reach zero carbon by 2050 with simple daily climate actions!

Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use and the university vehicle fleet over a 30-year period.

Finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation: Overall, the participating nations at COP26 recognized the importance of working collaboratively, raising funds, and sharing knowledge and resources on how best to approach climate mitigation and adaptation. They agreed to continue discussing plans on how to collectively finance mitigation and adaptation strategies through 2027. While action on this issue lags, these funds are critical for Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries who tend to experience the most severe consequences of climate change and need adaptation strategies in place to survive.

The Fletcher School’s Climate Policy Lab (CPL) researches climate policies to evaluate their “financial mobilization, economic efficiency, environmental effectiveness, and equity” in order to identify effective ways for governments to fund mitigation and adaptation strategies. The Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning graduate school is also at the forefront of researching and recommending best practices for climate solutions within the “intersection of planning, policy and social justice”.

Sign up for the Office of Sustainability’s webinar in December focused on fossil fuel divestment and the endowment at Tufts to hear more about how finance intersects with the environment.

Loss and Damage: Loss and damage refers to the effects of climate change that are difficult to avoid and includes severe consequences such as “loss of lives, livelihoods and ecosystems”. Nations at COP26 endorsed the need for more money to be provided to help minimize loss and damage and created a plan for discussions on how such funds will be used and given out.

Ways to address loss and damage have been hotly debated in recent years and Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School, talks about the difficulties in reaching a consensus about loss and damage solutions in her analysis of the COP26 outcomes.

Implementation: Nations further refined the rules of the Paris Climate Agreement (signed in 2015) and plans to assess the implementation of the goals laid out in the agreement.

In 2017, President Monaco signed on to the We Are Still In joint statement saying that, despite the federal government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the nation remains committed to climate action and meeting its climate goals. Tufts has also signed on to a number of climate commitments aimed at energy, waste, emissions, and much more that are being implemented by an array of departments and student groups across all of our campuses.

Collaboration: Nations committed to including youth, people of all genders, and indigenous communities in climate action. They also recognized the importance of nature in climate solutions and agreed to focus on both land and ocean climate action.

Many Tufts community members are working on researching and integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into their environmental work (including this UEP graduate thesis on inclusive evacuation during climate emergencies). The Tufts Office of Sustainability recently drafted a plan to address equity and justice within sustainability across all campuses. Read through the plan and leave a comment to help steer the direction of environmental justice on your campus.

Lastly, check out these environmentally focused groups on campus working to amplify the voices of those commonly marginalized in the climate fight and find a way to support climate action at Tufts!


P.S. There are more environmental initiatives happening on all four campuses than are listed above. We encourage you to explore the Office of Sustainability’s website for more info and to talk to your peers about the climate actions they take.

Medford Launches New Adopt-a-Drain Program

Written by Anna Cornish (A22)

Last week, The City of Medford announced it would be launching a citywide Adopt-a-Drain program. Participants can now sign up to care for a storm drain near their home or work and volunteer to check on it a few times a month to clear any trash, leaves, or debris that might have been swept into it. 

Storm drains are grates on the sides of streets and roads, along the curb. Since asphalt and pavement can’t absorb water, any rain or melting snow flows along the street and into these drains. Anything that goes down a storm drain flows directly into local lakes and streams without being treated. When debris clogs drains, stormwater accumulates and picks up chemicals and bacteria from things like pet waste, garden fertilizer, and road salts. Once the water can get through, it washes any litter down the drain with it, further polluting local bodies of water and harming wildlife. Keeping storm drains clear is an easy way to prevent this pollution and ensure a healthier watershed.

To adopt a storm drain, sign up on this webpage. Participants can search for drains in their area of Medford, select and name their drain, and volunteer to check on it occasionally, especially before and after heavy rain or snow. For more information about the program, visit here, and to learn more about Tufts’ local watershed, check out the Mystic River Watershed Association website.

Adopt-a-Drain is a great volunteer opportunity for members of the Tufts community  as it is a low commitment way to connect with the larger Medford community and local water systems. 

Adopt-a-Drain was created and designed by Ali Hiple, a Tufts UEP Graduate Student and Tisch Summer Fellow. Another Tisch Summer Fellow, Anna Cornish (A22), saw the program through to completion. 

OOS Hiring: Sustainability Communications Specialist

The Tufts Office of Sustainability is looking for people with 3-5 years of direct experience in communications and marketing, preferably related to sustainability, to join our office as a dedicated Communications Specialist.

This position is responsible for managing internal and external communications for the Office of Sustainability with the goal of promoting Tufts’ sustainability efforts to the university community and building a culture of environmental sustainability on campus. In this position, you will join a small team of dedicated staff and interns who value diversity and welcome people from all backgrounds and interests. You can expect a high degree of autonomy as you work on a wide variety of projects in a fast-paced environment.

Job Responsibilities:

Communications and Publicity

  • Develop compelling digital content for use on multiple channels
  • Keep the Office of Sustainability website and recycling & waste diversion online content up to date
  • Prioritize communications requests
  • Share content that is produced with University Communications and Marketing
  • Pitch story ideas to internal and external media outlets (e.g. Medford/Somerville campus newspaper, AASHE Digest) in coordination with University Media Relations
  • Manage sustainability email account and general office phone

Graphic Design and Production

  • Create publications that comply with the University brand guidelines to reinforce brand and message strategy, including reports, brochures, posters, flyers, web-based products, and newsletters
  • Develop promotional materials for outreach events (e.g. Orientation)
  • Produce educational signage
  • Research/design environmentally sustainable promotional materials
  • Convert data sets to visually compelling content to make sustainability information accessible to a variety of audiences
  • Coordinate with outside vendors and consultants

Marketing Planning & Program Management

  • Develop and implement communications strategies that build support for sustainability across Tufts University
  • Manage editorial calendar
  • Evaluate and report on the effectiveness of communication strategies and identify areas for improvement
  • Prepare annual sustainability progress report
  • Manage the completion and promotion of the AASHE Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) biennially
  • Maintain excellent records of events and activities, campaigns, and initiatives to build the office’s institutional memory

Other

  • Hire, train, and supervise student workers
  • Assist sustainability-related student groups with marketing and communications
  • Participate in university-wide communication committees
  • Build relationships with communications and sustainability professionals within and beyond Tufts
  • Work on other projects and priorities, as necessary
  • Monitor a small marketing budget
  • Provide guidance to other staff and students on communications matters

Jobs Blog Postings: 6/22/2021

Acton Internship, Summer 2021
Town of Acton, MA
Acton, MA
Apply by June 24th, 2021

Solar Energy Innovators Fellowship
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)
Various locations
Email Kat Burnham with a cover letter and resume

ORISE – Environmental Health Policy Fellowship
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Various locations
Apply by July 21st at 3pm ET

Energy Markets Intern
Ascend Analytics
Boulder, CO
Full-time position

Sustainability Program Associate Position
Bard Graduate Programs
Dutchess County, NY
Position posted June 10th

Director of Government Affairs
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Washington, DC
Position open until filled

Government Affairs Coordinator
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Washington, DC (Temporarily Remote)
Position open until filled

Conservative Outreach Coordinator
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Remote
Position open until filled

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