Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 61.04
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Tufts University
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Shoshana Blank
Education and Outreach Program Administrator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability? :

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Eco-Reps' Zero Waste Challenge

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged:

For many years, the Tufts Eco-Reps have organized the Zero Waste Challenge, a week-long challenge during which participants (both students and employees) are invited to collect everything they don’t recycle or compost in a clear Ziploc bag and carry it around for the week. The bag should be prominently displayed or clipped onto backpacks or bags. The exercise helps participants become aware of how much waste they generate and their own habits (e.g. how decision-making is affected when your trash is visible to other and connected to you).

In 2016, 2017, and 2018 (since 2012) the week culminated at Earth Fest on Earth Day. At the event, the Eco-Reps displayed “Jumbo Mountain" during which participants were invited to bring their Zero Waste Challenge bags to the Quad where the Eco-Reps collected and displayed them alongside the piles of trash generated from one residence hall in one week. The contrast between the small amount of waste generated by challenge participants and the comparatively large amount of waste generated in the residence hall demonstrates just how much of a difference being conscious of your consumption and waste can make. The participants receive a cookie as a prize for completing the challenge.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

Participation in the Zero Waste Challenge appears to be on the rise if the number of bags brought to the culminating Jumbo Mountains event is any indication. Out of 200-250 bags distributed to both students and staff, around 40 bags were brought to the Jumbo Mountain event in 2018. This was a relatively low percentage of bags returned because it was a really cold and windy day and the event was outside. In 2017, 150 bags were distributed and 59 were brought to the Jumbo Mountain event. We estimate that a majority of participants couldn't bring their bags to the culminating event due to schedule conflicts, but most of those who received a bag participated throughout all or part of the challenge.

Other indicators that the Tufts community has become more waste-conscious over time is the steady decline of Total Waste (Trash + Recycling) generated by the Medford, Boston, and Grafton campuses since 2010, from 3,942 tons in FY 2010 to 2,841 tons in FY 2013, then to 2,361 tons in FY 2017. The Eco-Reps' composting program in the residence halls measured 3,429 gallons in FY 2018.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available:
Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
BYOP (Bring Your Own Placesetting)

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged (2nd campaign):

In order to reduce waste at the annual President's Picnics held on each of Tufts' four campuses at the start of each summer, the Office of Sustainability encourages individuals to BYOP - Bring Your Own (reusable) Placesetting. Attendees are notified of the initiative through communications, including emails from the President's Office, leading up to the picnic.

At the event itself, attendees who BYOP are eligible to receive sustainability-themed prizes for participating, such as a reusable sandwich bag or a PeopleTowel as an alternative to a paper towel. Any attendee that partially BYOPs or fully BYOPs puts their name in a raffle for a grand prize, like a Bento lunch box. Senior administrators, including the University President, are encourage to grab a plate and utensil from the Office of Sustainability to serve as a positive examples to employees.

The campaign, which has been held from FY12 - FY18 contributes to the overall goal of making the picnic a zero waste event, in which everything is either composted or recycled and nothing is thrown away. The event was held just at the Medford campus picnic from FY12 - FY14, but expanded to the other campuses in FY15 with much success.

As one of the largest annual campus-wide events for Tufts employees, the picnic provides an important opportunity to increase the visibility of Tufts' waste reduction efforts and show the community what a zero waste event looks like. The Office of Sustainability also runs the zero-waste aspect of this event, in coordination with Tufts Catering, outside catering companies, and Tufts Facilities Services. All zero-waste stations with a compost and recycling bin are staffed by a student worker. The BYOP aspect pairs very nicely with these zero-waste picnics, and Tufts employees learn about additional sustainability programs and resources at the Office of Sustainability's table.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

Participation in the BYOP campaign at the President's Picnic has increased with each passing year, with increasingly more individuals and offices bringing their own dishes, water bottles, napkins and utensils to the event instead of using disposables. In summer 2018, at least 315 Tufts employees and graduate students participated in BYOP across the four campuses. This is over 10% of all participants at the four picnics.

The 1,700 person Medford campus picnic held in May 2018 generated 40 bags of compost and 35 bags recycling and barely any trash. This includes waste from the caterer. There was also much less food waste than at previous events.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available (2nd campaign):
A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns, including measured positive impacts:

Another outreach campaign for students, led by the Eco-Reps, is called Meatless Meals. Once a week, Eco-Reps and GreEco-Reps stand outside the two dining halls and ask if people will eat meatless for dinner. They count the number of people who say Yes for "Just tonight", people who go Meatless every Monday, and those who are always vegetarian/vegan. In the 2016-2017 school year they got 2,980 meatless meals pledged by students and this increased to 3,968 meals in the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, in spring 2018 they introduced the "First Steps" campaign, and 523 student meals were pledged as either less meat, no beef, or no red meat.

Eco-Reps also work with Tufts Dining to host a Wasteless Dinner at the two dining halls each semester. Food waste is weighed and averaged over the total number of diners. Food waste per person (lbs) has gotten slightly better in 2018:
Fall 2017 - 1.4 oz.
Spring 2018 - 2.5 oz.
Fall 2018 - 1.7 oz.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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