Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 02:03
The Campus Sustainability Council earlier this month released a draft report that outlines recommendations for the university to improve sustainability on campus.
University President Anthony Monaco created the council, which is comprised of faculty, administrators and students, in January 2012. The council’s three working groups address campus operations related to energy and emissions, waste management and water use.
The draft report and executive summary, sent via email to the Tufts community, asked for feedback on the sustainability goals and strategies suggested in the report, according to Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell.
“The Office of Sustainability (OOS) will gather the input that people want to give and will consider whether there are significant changes or additions that are recommended that should be considered,” she said.
This is the first time in university history that a large group of students, faculty and administrators has divided into committees to create a sustainability report, according to OOS Program Director Tina Woolston.
Campbell noted that the council had a very focused scope, so there are many components of campus sustainability that the group did not address.
Woolston said the council analyzed where Tufts’ carbon footprint made the most impact, adding that the report is a long-term process aiming to help students understand the importance of sustainability and the effects of climate change.
“They need to understand how that’s put together, and Tufts needs to teach it to our students,” she said. “In order to teach it, Tufts has to become credible. In order to be credible, Tufts has to be sure it’s doing all that it can to reduce its own footprint.”
Vice President for Operations Linda Snyder said the council is very committed to implementating the aims listed in the report.
“We know that in order to make progress, it needs to be a community engagement, and it’s a matter of cultural change as well as technology and other things,” she said.
In addition to addressing sustainability, Woolston said, the council hopes to create hands-on opportunities in the field for students.
“We wanted to try to formalize it more and find a way for students to learn theoretical stuff in their classes but also ... have students be able to work on a real-life problem on campus,” she said.
Snyder believes that the most important issue addressed in the report is tracking the energy efficiency of Tufts’ buildings, as most do not contain meters to measure energy consumption.
“If you don’t know how much you’re consuming, you can’t manage it and you can’t correct [it],” she said.
Campbell added that the report will require everyone in the Tufts community to re-evaluate their actions that affect campus sustainability.
“We’d like to get a lot of attention for the final report so the community can understand what we’re trying to achieve and be part of it,” she said.
Although Tufts’ three campuses are already very environmentally responsible, Woolston said, the report is a matter of taking the university to the next level. She noted that the specific goals for reducing emissions set in the report are small but achievable.
“Anything that is left is more difficult; we’ve already done all the easy stuff,” she said. “We need to find a way to have every person, when they’re making their decisions ... think about the effects of their decision.”
The feedback page for the report, which has received seven comments as of press time, will be available on the OOS website through March 31, according to Woolston. She added that the OOS will hold an open house to discuss the report on March 27.