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Seeing Green

Seeing GreenTufts is recognized by various prestigious publications touting the nation's top universities for green living.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.25.08] As a "green" state of mind continues to take hold across the nation, Tufts has once again proven itself to be among the front-runners of this movement among American universities.

In the September/October issue of Sierra Magazine, published by the American environmental organization The Sierra Club, Tufts was listed among the top 10 schools "that get it" when it comes to green living.

Receiving 82 points out of 100, Tufts ranked 10th in the Sierra Magazine poll. Schools were judged in ten different categories-policies for building, energy, food, investment, procurement, transportation, curriculum, environmental activism, waste management and overall commitment to sustainability.

The Sierra Magazine ranking isn't the only recent environmental accolade for Tufts. The university was named one of the top 25 greenest schools in the 2009 Kaplan College Guide earlier this month.

Tufts also ranked well in the Princeton Review's "Green Rating" guide, "which evaluates colleges and universities on their environmentally-related policies, practices and academic offerings." Tufts earned a 94 on a scale of 60 to 99.

In the Sierra article, Tufts was applauded for letting its students help pay for renewable energy projects in Massachusetts through their electricity bills, creating a campus printing service that uses soy-based inks and recycled paper and creating a $100 million microfinance fund for investments in developing countries.

This summer, Tufts also became the first university in the state to sign up with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's (MTC) "Clean Energy Choice-On Campus," a green energy development program coordinated by the MTC. [ read more ] For every dollar donated to the MTC by a member of the Tufts community, the MTC will put aside a matching grant of two dollars.

Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow on his decision to not sign the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment:

"Tufts has a long history of leadership in sustainability. More importantly, I expect we will continue to be a leader for many years to come. However, I have not signed the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment as a matter of principle because I do not believe that we can realistically become carbon neutral by 2050. I won't sign a commitment that I have little confidence we can fulfill. That said, we will continue to work vigorously and creatively to reduce our carbon footprint and to lead the way for other institutions on this important issue."

"Students from many facets of the university, faculty and staff will work this fall to recruit 1,000 donations to the program, which will generate $30,000 in matching funds," Tina Woolston, project coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, told the Medford Transcript.

Contributions from Tufts will go toward purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) from Sterling Planet, a nationally known developer and marketer of renewable energy.

"By purchasing RECs, Tufts community members not only guarantee that the electricity they are responsible for is not generating greenhouse gas emissions, but by supporting clean energy they are also helping the university, the town and low income families in Massachusetts," Woolston told the Transcript.

Initiatives like this-comprehensive, not surface-level approaches to sustainability-are a large part of what has earned Tufts this recent recognition.

"It's important that we focus on the significant rather than the symbolic, or at least recognize the symbolic for what it is," Sarah Hammond Creighton, sustainability coordinator at Tufts, told The New York Times in July. "I think the commitments are generally real, but I worry that the translation into the depth of the challenge hasn't hit people."

Having "surpassed its prestigious peers in environmental stewardship years ago," according to Sierra Magazine, the future is continuing to look green for the Tufts community.


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