Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.61
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 2, 2022

STARS v2.2

Tufts University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Tina Woolston
Director
Office of Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:

The Eco-Rep program is an opportunity for students to learn and practice very real engagement and leadership training. Students learn effective ways to engage and educate their peers and those in leaders positions (e.g. Area Leaders, Assistant Coordinator, and Coordinators) learn leadership skills such as how to recruit and hire, train, and hold people accountable.

Other classes may also include work related to this. For example, the Environmental Studies Program has a required course titled "Intro to Environmental Fieldwork: from classroom to community" where they utilize campus resources to support the community.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

https://tischcollege.tufts.edu/about

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life is a national leader in civic education and engagement that sets the standard for higher education’s role in advancing the greater good.

Tisch College is charged with a broad and vital mission: to prepare students for a lifetime of engagement in civic and democratic life, to study civic life and its intersections with public and private institutions, and to promote practices that strengthen civic life in the United States and around the world.

We pursue that mission in a variety of ways. Tisch College builds an enduring culture of active citizenship at Tufts. More than half of all undergraduate students report participating in community service or civic engagement activities while at the university. Through curricular and co-curricular activities, these students address pressing social issues by working with local, national, and international organizations.

We also conduct some of the most influential research about civic engagement in the United States. We use that scholarship to inform both our own programming as well as national conversations about the role of citizens, especially young people, in civic life. Tisch College is the home of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), the nation’s leading source of research on youth civic engagement. We also house the new Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), which conducts research on student political agency and democratic participation on college campuses.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:

Approximately 225 attendees, 36 speakers and moderators, 9 panels, 21 student organizers, 22 organizations at the Hitachi Energy Showcase attended the entirely student run 2022 Tufts Energy Conference at the Fletcher School, which brought together professionals, students, and experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to discuss critical global energy issues. This conference touches on issues of energy, emissions, climate, and equity. https://environment.tufts.edu/tec/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:

Students in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) classes have engaged in cooperative planning of a community housing plan for the Tufts junior and senior undergraduates including landscaping, transportation concerns, and community relations. Including a project in 2021 that focused on building with lower embodied carbon.

https://as.tufts.edu/uep/resources-community/field-projects


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:

Students in a climate change class have looked at a variety of energy-related topics on campus from energy saving opportunities in the chemistry building to greenhouse gas emissions from laboratory chemicals. Students in engineering management and other engineering classes frequently select and work on campus energy projects, studying, for example, the feasibility of green roofs and alternative power options.

The Green Fund-funded project, "SciTech Autoclave" is a project 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. 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 cost savings in the long term. It is estimated that a smaller capacity autoclave will divert 50% of the usage of the inefficient large autoclave. https://sustainability.tufts.edu/green-fund/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:

Nutrition students often work on projects with the dining halls as part of their internship. Additionally, there are student interns and employees of catering and dining that specialize in sustainability within the dining operations.

Additionally, students in EM-51, Engineering Management researched potential projects on the Tufts Medford/ Somerville campus, including the potential use of reusable to-go containers in Hodgdon and Mugar cafés, creating a vertical urban farm to grow food on campus for Tufts Dining.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:

The Tufts Green Fund awarded Tufts Pollinator Initiative 2.0 (TPI 2.0) is a project that will build off a previous Green Fund proposal, Tufts Pollinator Initiative. In 2022 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 which supports 115+ insect species, helped them teach hundreds of Tufts undergraduate students about urban pollinators, conduct community outreach, and earn Bee Campus USA certification from the Xerces Society. https://sustainability.tufts.edu/get-involved/the-green-fund/green-fund-2021-22/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
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IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:

Pearson Bike Rack Project will install two additional bike racks next to existing racks outside of the Pearson Chemistry building on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. 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, Tufts must keep up with the induced biking demand. The Green Fund committee awarded this project $6,770 for the construction and installation of two new bike racks, opening up 14 new spots for students and faculty to park their bikes outside of Pearson.

Students in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) classes have evaluated several transportation-related issues on campus, most recently examining improvement of Mystic River greenways including transportation to and from, reducing municipal fuel consumption, planning of a community housing plan for the Tufts junior and senior undergraduates including landscaping, transportation concerns, and community relations. Students in the Transportation Planning course do independent projects, often on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:

UEP has three courses that include studies on improving waste management in UEP 0293-15 Corporate Social Responsibility, UEP 0267-01 Sustainability Metrics and Decision Tools, UEP 0233-01 Regional Planning: Tools and Techniques. In 2021, UEP students created a program called No Waste to Spare where they evaluated current waste management programs around Massachusetts including at Tufts University.

The Office of Sustainability hires multiple Recycling and Waste student interns to support recycling, waste management, and composting on all of the Tufts campuses. The Eco Reps also collect compost and promote recycling in the residence halls on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:

Tufts Urban and Environmental Planning Program offers a course on low impact development that includes strategies for reducing impact of community development projects, including local wetland and water resources. The course includes a hands on approach and field trips to LID projects, including a storm water management project.
https://as.tufts.edu/uep/sites/all/themes/asbase/assets/documents/syllabi/archived/E4511U0FXJ.pdf
In addition, Water Resources Policy and Planning and Watershed Management is offered each year.

Students in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) field projects have also researched local waterways for recreation and conservation. In 2020, student projects included one on sustainable marsh management that naturally occur in northeastern Massachusetts.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The Green Fund is a program to provide funding for the implementation of sustainability projects and ideas from and for the Tufts community—students, faculty, and staff. The funds will come from the Sustainable Investment Fund’s endowment payout, which refreshes every year, making the program accessible to non-payback sustainability enhancements as well. Each year, the program can fund any number of projects with budgets adding up to $40,000. A soft launch of the program solicited proposals for projects up to $10,000 during the summer of 2018. The official launch of the fund was during the 2018-2019 academic year. In 2021, they awarded nearly $40,000 to programs supporting sustainability on campus.

The Fund is managed by a committee made up of students, faculty, and staff from all 4 Tufts campuses. https://sustainability.tufts.edu/get-involved/the-green-fund/green-fund/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

Tisch Scholars, undergraduate students who take on a yearlong project with coursework, are also taking on projects through coursework and applied projects in the community. One project is currently working with ACEDONE a local non-profit supporting African businesses in Boston. Their coursework includes issues surrounding environmental justice and issues that immigrant communities face in and around Boston.

The UEP Field Project in 2019, “Priced Out: The Future of graduate and Faculty Housing at Tufts” researched the currently availability and projections for the future regarding affordability of both on and off campus living options. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices across Tufts campuses are actively involved in promoting greater support for diverse student bodies.

ACE fellows live in the first-year dorms and work to provide an inclusive, affirming environment for Tufts undergraduate students and the University community where all members can achieve their maximum potential and participate in an experience of shared values. https://students.tufts.edu/student-affairs/community-and-events/diversity-and-inclusion

Students can also live in the LGBTQ special interest housing or participate in discussions around diversity on campus, among other things.
Tufts also offers a MA in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership: In this program, you will learn the scholarly theories and practical tools to implement institutional changes that promote diversity and foster inclusivity.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:

RIAG (Responsible Investment Advisory Group) with the adoption of the 2021 RIAG recommendations, the Board of Trustees identified coal and tar sands reserves as a primary contributor to the future release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The Investment Office has partnered with a leading data analytics provider in this space to identify the 100 largest coal reserve owners and 20 largest tar sands reserve owners in the world. This list is updated annually, and the endowment is restricted from direct holdings in these companies through internally managed accounts. In addition, the Investment Office will continue to seek ways to reduce indirect exposures to these companies in the endowment. The data below reflects the portfolio exposure to these companies over recent years. Finally, the Board of Trustees directed the Investment Office to invest a minimum of $10 million over the next five years in positive impact funds and companies whose primary focus is on activities that mitigate or are adaptive to the impacts of climate change.

The Fletcher School at Tufts includes the International Business in a Global Context (IBGC) initiative, which involves a group of faculty and students that provide custom research, analytics, and business development internationally to address a variety of issues from country development and strategy consulting for NGOs to national and international water policy considerations. http://fletcher.tufts.edu/IBGC


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

A 2021, UEP student project “A Review of Structural Racism and the Built Environment in Massachusetts” focusses on inequity of access to open spaces and community exercise/active spaces in the state of Massachusetts including the area in an around Tufts campuses. https://as.tufts.edu/uep/resources-community/field-projects

The Tufts Medical School has a Student Health and Wellness Advisor that supports students in accessing support. Additionally, the undergraduate research and scholarship symposium presents an opportunity for students to share their work with each other and the community. The summer scholars program supports students who choose to spend their summer on campus conducting independent research with a faculty mentor. Additionally, nearly every faculty member seeks undergraduate students to support them in their scholarly or laboratory research.

The Nutrition and Wellness Committee that is led by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Tufts University Human Resources with representatives from across the university.Representatives on the committee will include faculty, students and staff who have a keen interest in the promotion of nutrition and all aspects of Wellness at Tufts.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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