|Submission Date||Nov. 12, 2015|
Office of Sustainability
The Tufts Eco-Representatives (Eco-Reps) are a group of residential students who help to raise awareness about ecological issues, encourage environmentally responsible behavior in their hallmates and peers, and plan related events and activities. They also organize group activities, collaborative projects, and represent the Eco-Reps program at various campus-wide events. Examples of these activities include movie screenings, windowsill gardening, discussion groups, and larger events like “Jumbo Mountains,” where waste from residence halls is displayed on the Academic Quad.
Eco-Reps are also responsible for planning and executing behavior change campaigns in their residence halls. Eco-Reps are trained to use community-based social marketing (CBSM) techniques to effectively reach their residents. Eco-Reps attend a four-day training at the beginning of the fall semester as well as mandatory weekly meetings throughout the academic year.
Eco-Rep selections are made at the end of the spring semester for the following academic year and are based on a written application and an interview. Recommendations are requested if the coordinators feel that an applicant's qualifications cannot be sufficiently assessed from the written portion alone. Occasionally additional Eco-Reps are hired through a similar process during the last month of the fall semester to replace Eco-Reps who will not be returning for the spring semester.
Applicants are evaluated on their:
- Level of enthusiasm for the program
- Dorm of residence
- Ability to communicate effectively and get along with others
- Past history of taking initiative
- Amount of time they are able to commit to the program
- Environmental knowledge (not required, but a plus!)
Applicants who are self-starters, outgoing, eager to learn, comfortable teaching others, and not over committed in other areas of their lives do well in the Eco-Reps program and can make a big difference in their dorm's culture. Although it is not required that applicants live in one of the dorms with an Eco-Rep, individuals residing in the same dorm as their Eco-Rep assignment are preferred.
Returning Eco-Reps may live off-campus, but first year Eco-Reps must live in on-campus housing. Every effort is made to assign Eco-Reps a dorm that is close to their own residence.
Preference is given to students who will be on campus for the entire year, but individuals going abroad for one semester are also encouraged to apply.
Students from all majors, interests, and backgrounds are also encouraged to apply, as it is desired to have as diverse a group of students as possible in the program.
Eco-Reps are expected to participate in a four-day long training during new student orientation and attend 1.25 hour weekly meetings throughout the academic year. The meetings during the first semester are knowledge and learning orientated, and the coordinators or guest speakers will usually give a presentation on a sustainability-related topic. During the spring semester, the focus of the weekly meetings transitions to event planning (two main spring events have included RecycleMania and EarthFest). During spring weekly meetings, each Eco-Rep is required to give a presentation about a topic that interests him/her and to lead a group discussion about the topic.
Orientation training involves various 'getting to know you' and bonding activities, as well as event brainstorming, writing a mission statement of the program for the year, creating a student-written contract, meeting and interacting with dorm residents, RAs, and RDs during move in, giving presentations, and learning their duties. The goals of training are broken down below:
- Believe that what they do matters
- Believe that they have the ability to affect change
- Believe that working for a sustainable planet is a worthy goal
- Believe that an environmentally concerned community is important, worth pursuing, and that they can play a part in creating it
- Enhanced leadership skills
- Brainstorming creative events together and alone
- Serving as a leader in the dorm, having dorm-mates respect them and come to them with questions, etc.
- Environmental behavior goals
- Always recycling
- Not using disposable water bottles
- Turning off lights and plug strips
- Paying attention to water consumption
- Limiting consumption
- Setting out habits for life after dorms, knowledge for life after dorms
- Skills for influencing people—effective ways to talk to their peers
- How to talk to administration, those in positions of authority
- What can be recycled on campus
- Where to find environmental information/how to get your questions answered
- How to plan an event on campus
- Climate change is real and caused by humans
- Knowledge of where to get information you do not know already
- Know your RA and the people you live with
- Tufts environmental programs and resources
- Knowing your campus community, what problems affect your community
The program is coordinated by two upperclassmen, who are mentored by the Sustainability Program Director. Presently, the program is supported financially only by the Office of Sustainability (for the Reps' small stipends), Residential Life for some individual events, and the Office of Campus Life for on-campus meals and housing during orientation training.
This is a hands-on, experiential class where students explore the human behavior-environment nexus and practice acting as change agents on campus. Students develop, deploy, and evaluate campaigns designed to increase sustainability-related behaviors. Topics covered include: human behavior, community-based social marketing, energy, climate change, sustainability efforts at Tufts, culture change, survey techniques, effective communication, program evaluation, and the social dimension of sustainability. This course counts towards the "Sustainability, Policy, and Equity" and the "Environmental Communications" tracks within the Environmental Studies department. It has historically been offered every other year during the Fall semester.
Any student in the undergraduate program or graduate program is welcome to register for the class as long as they meet the prerequisite (ENV91 or Bio7) or have permission from the instructor.
The Environmental Studies Department funds the instructor and TA salaries.
Tufts was also home to one of the first "Student Sustainability Educators Programs," the original Eco-Reps program, which ran from 2001-2006. For information on that program, see http://sustainability.tufts.edu/?pid=106.
We calculated "Students Served by Eco-Reps" by adding the number of residents that live in each dorm that is served by an Eco-Rep.
Students Served by Environmental Action Class = # students in the class + # students in the residential houses they worked in during the 2013-2014 academic year - this will vary by year.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE
staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.