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Editorial | In support of proposed Environment House

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 08:11

The university has taken positive steps recently to become more sustainable, as evidenced by the LEED gold−certified Sophia−Gordon Residence Hall, the water−purifying rain garden currently under construction in front of Lewis Hall and various eco−outreach programs set up by the Office for Sustainability.

The proposed Environmental House, currently up for consideration by the Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL), would take Tufts’ green initiatives further by providing a valuable hub for environment and sustainability related events and ideas.

The Environmental House, which is being proposed by the Sustainable Action Squad (SAS), would serve a purpose beyond simply a living space for eco−conscious Jumbos. Just as the Arts Haus, Rainbow House, Crafts House, International House and the other 11 Tufts themed houses provide essential cultural diversity and special interest−related activities on campus, the Environmental House would act as a catalyst for Earth−friendly activities like composting and recycling and would serve as a haven for all sustainability−related events and discussions.

The house also has plans to screen films and plant a garden, according to the SAS proposal.

Institutionalizing a center for environmental awareness where environment−conscious students can work toward educating the larger community would be a valuable nod to the green initiatives currently on our campus, which include the addition of recycling bins in campus housing and Tufts Dining’s elimination of trays in the fall of 2010.

The addition of an Environmental House would also help Tufts to compete with other universities on the eco−friendly frontier. Sixty−seven other institutions of higher learning currently have residences devoted specifically to green−friendly living, according to SAS’ proposal.

By joining that list, Tufts would display a more progressive image and support its students’ commitment to sustainability.

A center like the Environmental House could provide the groundwork for a more progressive sustainability policy, one that includes greater emphasis on composting, recycling and clean energy.

By providing a specifically−designed building for environmentally progressive students to operate from, the campus as a whole will profit from having a stronger and more organized sustainability contingent fighting for the environment.

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