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The Office of Sustainability updated its mission in 2023 to more clearly connect its work with the purpose of the university. The renewed focus is to harness Tufts’ potential to be a model of just sustainability by linking our institutional challenges with education and research.

Over this academic year, we continued engaging students in and out of the classroom and launched three new programs. Check out this profile of ShaSha Kingston, A24, who helped sustainability staff redesign our work to develop students into Resilient Climate Leaders.

In just one year of implementing these new programs, we have seen incredible outcomes. Notably, in the Sustainable Spring program that is designed to introduce first-years to sustainability at Tufts, over 85% of students started the semester not knowing how to get involved with sustainability on campus – now they overwhelmingly report feeling part of the sustainability community.

This combination of curricular and cocurricular engagement also resulted in:

  • 234 students engaged in programming
  • 48 events and project presentations
  • 65 partnerships within Tufts and surrounding communities

To celebrate all the incredible students who worked with us this past year for their time, passion, and energy, we are sharing a few stories below of how students are making Tufts a more inclusive, sustainable place.


Learning in action

Seven students presented to the Tufts Sustainability Council in April to demonstrate how they are helping Tufts solve problems of sustainable development on our campuses.

Students shared their research on aligning Tufts’ decarbonization strategy with a global carbon reduction framework, analyzing the carbon emissions of Tufts’ supply chain, the feasibility of ground-source heating on the Medford/Somerville campus, and an inventory of the services provided by campus trees.

These students gained first-hand experience on how to pitch policy recommendations to a governing body, while faculty and staff involved with these projects gained valuable solutions to improve campus.


Examining The Energy TransitionStudents look at a large yellow engine

“Instead of reinventing a whole new system, we’re seeing if we can use parts of what’s in the existing system.”

Aoife Schmitt, A24, examined the feasibility of installing ground-source heat pumps on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Capstone Class. Aoife and her project team modeled the number of wells and corresponding heat pumps that could be installed on upper campus.

As one of the groups who presented their findings to the Tufts Sustainability Council, Aoife said the project offered valuable insights into the complicated problem solving required to address Tufts’ transition to low-carbon energy sources.


Planning for The Future of Landa line of students, faculty, and staff pose after a presentation

Five graduate students donned their snowboots in February to survey the 600 acres of land at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Studying urban and environmental policy and planning, the team inventoried how campus land plays a crucial role in supporting learning, agriculture, and biodiversity.

By quantifying the uses of this land, the team has created a starting point for a future campus landscape stewardship plan, supporting Tufts’ goal to create inspiring, resilient campuses.


Strengthening Community TiesA student presents to a room of other students about climate planning

Carmen Smoak, A25, organized a student roundtable to provide input on the 5-year update to the City of Somerville’s Climate Forward Plan. Undergraduate students who attended shared their experiences with climate change impacts on campus and where they see the greatest need for intervention.

Carmen led this effort as part of her Sustainable Solutions Fellow project to better align institutional sustainability planning with municipal targets.


Student Collaboration Generates New Connections

Three students pose for a picture at a food equity conference

Briana Arce, A26, Elena Manson, A26, and Gia Magnoni, E24, three Sustainable CORE Fellows, facilitated a speaker panel about the intersections of food dignity, equity, and sustainability as part of the Food 4 Thought Festival in April.

They joined other Tufts students from the Tufts Alt Protein Project as well as students from other Boston-area universities to host this three-day collaborative event.