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Sustainability council to examine all three campuses

Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011

Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011 03:12

Monaco sustainability

Josh Berlinger / Tufts Daily

University President Anthony Monaco will take the lead on the new Campus Sustainability Council.

While the Campus Sustainability Council, the university-wide body proposed in September by University President Anthony Monaco, is still in the process of being formed, its first meeting will likely take place early next semester, according to Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell.

The Council is charged with taking a broad view of sustainability at Tufts with an emphasis on campus operations, to ensure that the university is operating in the most sustainable manner. 

"It will be an exciting challenge for Tufts to take its entire enterprise, from a physical perspective, and have a council that's going to look at these large issues together," Campbell said.

While membership isn't fully finalized, Campbell said that the council will include approximately nine professors from all three campuses, two students and several administrators. Monaco will chair the council and Campbell will serve as co-chair, she said. 

"Sustainability is something that [has] a long history here at Tufts, starting with [former University President] Larry [Bacow] and the work he did," Monaco told the Daily in an interview in September. "So that to me is a priority and that should take presidential leadership. I do have some experience in this area at my previous job, so it's something that I feel like I could usefully contribute to as well."

The two student committee members — a graduate and an undergraduate — will be full members of the council and enjoy the same participation rights as other members, Campbell said. 

The two students have not yet been picked, Program Director for the Office of Sustainability Tina Woolston, a member of the Council, said, and Monaco will introduce them to the community once the selection process has been completed.

Woolston said that the council and its "big-picture" emphasis will help members of the Tufts community understand the myriad efforts and initiatives currently taking place across the university.

To carry out its charge, the council will have three subcommittees that focus on water, waste management and energy and greenhouse gas emissions, according to Campbell. The subcommittee membership will not be limited to council members but will also include faculty and staff across the university with expertise or interest in the respective areas, as well as additional students, she added.

Upon formation, the council will review existing sustainability goals and the work that has already been completed before moving to make recommendations.

"Before you would set goals, you would want to know what the current goals are and understand the progress against those goals," Campbell said.

Woolston said that the period of review is important given the several existing initiatives that fall under the umbrella of sustainability.

"Tufts has been doing a lot of stuff and it's pretty complicated. We don't want to jump to any recommendations right away," she said.

After this familiarization period, members of the council will work within their respective subcommittees to focus on each of the three areas, Campbell said.

"We will charge the subcommittees to develop recommended specific actions to work to achieve the revised goals, and use the council to help us monitor achievement," Campbell said.

In the area of waste management, she said, recommendations could, for example, focus on ensuring that waste generation is minimized and that waste is disposed of in environmentally sound ways.

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