Nov 26, 2014

Club Spotlight: Tuck Sustains Brings Environmental Issues to Light at Tuck

By Erica Johnston T'15

Erica is a second-year student from Chicago. She studied marketing and international business at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to Tuck, she worked in operations management in the industrial sector. A career-switcher, Erica has plans to work in brand management within the food industry.

Last spring, Chloe Hansen-Toone T'15, Caroline Mann T'15, Jaimie Sarrault T'15, and I took the helm of Tuck Sustains, a student-administration partnership aimed at reducing Tuck’s environmental footprint.  Each of us were drawn to Tuck Sustains for different reasons but we came together to work towards a common mission that we’re accomplishing through a mix of small and large projects aimed to raise awareness, change behavior, and impact policies at Tuck.

We started out small last spring by installing display cases above the trash, composting, and recycling bins in Tuck’s dining hall to help teach members of the Tuck community how to properly dispose of common waste items. We also worked with facilities to change “trash” vocabulary used on bins to “landfill” which has a more negative connotation and makes people think twice before throwing something away.  Tuck Facilities also helped us to create a consistent color scheme for waste containers to help make proper disposal even easier.

This school year, we’re tackling some larger projects.  We’d like to help Tuck move towards a water bottle free environment.  I saw my undergraduate institutions discontinue the sale and distribution of disposable water bottles and as a result, experience a significant reduction in waste, so we’re hopeful we can help Tuck do the same.  At the beginning of the year, in partnership with the MBA Program Office, Tuck Sustains provided all first-year students with reusable water bottles to encourage the incoming class to stay hydrated in a less wasteful manner. 

Another new initiative this year is our work as consultants for other clubs at Tuck to help them host their events in ways that aren’t as wasteful.  From recycling nametags to sourcing supplies, we’re committed to eliminating unnecessary waste at Tuck events. 

We’re also working to encourage members of the Tuck community to utilize reusable mugs and dishware when dining on campus.  We worked with administration to implement a discount on coffee when using a reusable mug to encourage more environmentally friendly behavior.  To encourage continued use, we’re in the process of setting up a mug washing station to make it easier to reuse containers while on campus.  We’re also strategizing how to alter the layout of items in the dining hall to better emphasize reusable dishware over take out containers that are predominantly used today. 

We have a long list of other projects on the horizon:  utilizing Green Light monitors to track energy usage on campus, working with Dartmouth administration to build business cases for energy efficient features for new construction on campus, and many more.  We’re optimistic about the work we’ve set out for the year and the enthusiasm of our fellow students to support Tuck Sustains’ mission!