As an institution of higher education, Tufts University educates people who develop and manage society’s institutions and thus bears a responsibility to increase the awareness, knowledge, technologies, and tools to create a just and sustainable future for all.
The council, made up of thought leaders, helps Tufts select effective, impactful goals and strategies leading to a sustainable university that serves current and future students and employees equally while supporting the health and wellbeing of all of humanity and our home planet.
Its goal is to:
Facilitate collaboration through:
Exploring the more impactful and attainable ways to integrate sustainability into school, division, and university priorities.
Using its leadership position to look across the university and link the disparate sustainability efforts together into a cohesive whole.
Shape the vision, key principles, focus areas, and, ultimately, plan for sustainability and climate action at Tufts, including reaffirming existing or developing new principles for decision making.
Hold an understanding of what Tufts is doing university wide regarding sustainability, enabling a unified message about the breadth and depth of Tufts actions in this area.
In January 2012, President Tony Monaco first convened the Campus Sustainability Council. The group focused on advancing work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, energy and water use. The Council established goals and monitored achievements in these areas via several working groups, and released a report in 2013 to share their findings.
Second Nature Climate Commitment
Acknowledging deep concerns about the potential impact of climate change on our institution and community, President Monaco signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment in April 2016, making Tufts one of 93 charter signatories. The commitment requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly, and collaborate with their surrounding community, while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.
Council for the Sustainability of Campus Operations
In February 2017, President Monaco convened a new Council for the Sustainability of Campus Operations to help meet the ambitious demands of this commitment. The council provides leadership and oversight for developing and executing a plan for Tufts to reach carbon neutrality. The council will prescribe strategies to engage the full Tufts community in actions to conserve energy use, and recommend development of capital projects and operational approaches that minimize the use of fossil fuels. These strategies include metering individual buildings, power generation, energy procurement and expanding a revolving greenfund to support these efforts.
Sustainability Council Achievements Since the Second Nature Commitment Was Signed
The Council was educated on sustainability efforts at Tufts including the Medford central energy plant (CEP)
3 Financing mechanisms were formalized ($40K annual Green Fund for community proposals (new), Energy Revolving Fund (new revenue recovery model created to ensure it is maintained and grows), and debt funding (no change))
Carbon Neutrality date determined to be 2050
Resilience assessments were completed on the Medford/Somerville campus and the Boston campus(es)
Consultants were engaged to create a plan to achieve carbon neutrality for Tufts largest source of emissions: the Medford/Somerville heating and cooling load. This plan was completed in July of 2020.
Discussions around sustainability in the curriculum
Summary of Past Meetings
Meeting 1: March 6, 2017
Presentation on Status of Tufts’ Use of Energy and Emissions
Meeting 2: April 26, 2017
Presentation on Financing Options
Meeting 3: Oct 11, 2017
Presentations on green labs projects in Prof. Kenny’s lab, Jaharis Project and the Central Energy Plant (CEP)
Meeting 4: Jan 10, 2018
Presentation on Facilities sustainability efforts, Request for Proposal (RFP) for Carbon neutrality consultant, Green Fund update, community engagement discussion
Meeting 5: May 30, 2018
Presentations on Boston Cogen, return on investment protocol for sustainability projects
Updates on Green Fund, campus resiliency workshop, RFP for carbon neutrality plan and CEP
Meeting 6: Oct 12, 2018
Updates on Green Fund and carbon neutrality plan
Presentation on energy related projects in Operations, CEP data, and balancing carbon reduction and thermal comfort/HVAC
Student letter/presentation on need for Tufts to obtain 100% clean, renewable energy