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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Is UMass Boston environmentally-friendly?

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Olivia Reid
Danny makes sure to properly dispose of his plastic water bottle at the food court in Campus Center. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

Climate change is a never-ending crisis that has been looming since its discovery in the 20th century. While it seems impossible to make any impact at all, any small change helps. UMass Boston is doing their part by making significant efforts in sustainability.
The UMass Boston dining services participates in a food waste tracking system called Leanpath to reduce food waste. All food waste is weighed and separated into categories based on the item. Then the dining team considers how much waste was produced and changes the menu accordingly. The changes help to avoid foods that cause the most waste.
All food waste from the kitchen is also collected and transported to off-site composting facilities. In addition to this, food is locally sourced as often as possible to reduce transportation emissions.
Sustainability intern, Eden Alemayehu, was willing to answer some questions regarding UMass Boston’s other sustainability efforts. Every month, Sodexo, UMass Boston’s food provider, chooses a harvest of the month to promote eating in-season vegetables.
According to rebootwithjoe.com, “eating seasonally reduces the demand for out of season produce which further supports more local produce and supports local farming in your area which means less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses and less irradiation of produce,” therefore resulting in less environmental impact (1). Alemayehu used this month’s harvest of the month, brussels sprouts, to make a delicious walnut, brussels sprout and brie snack.
The sustainability interns also post TikToks and Instagram reels with easy sustainability tips geared towards students under the handle @umbdining. Students should follow to learn more eco-friendly tips.
Another option available on-campus is a reusable cup discount. Although they don’t advertise it, students can bring reusable cups to dining locations across campus for a discount on their drink. In other efforts to remain an eco-friendly campus, the campus bookstore provides many cruelty-free beauty products and stationery made of recycled paper.
In 2004, UMass Boston received the Sustainable University of the Year Award for the new Campus Center. The building was UMass Boston’s first of many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings on campus.
Across the board, the Campus Center is providing eco-friendly solutions from more windows to auto-shut-off faucets and non-toxic cleaning products. The UMass Boston campus as a whole was built on a landfill to reuse the land. The school also refuses to use pesticides on lawns, and toxic paint for buildings, to reduce harmful pollutants in the air and in runoff.
Professors at UMass Boston actually started Climate Ready Boston, a climate change activism group, “working to achieve a consistent climate projection [and] laying the groundwork for climate resilience planning and measures.” (2) The plan was presented to Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and has actively helped Boston and surrounding areas prepare for the climate crisis.
Because UMass Boston is a mostly commuter school of around 17,000 students, carbon emissions are released every day when students come to campus. In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and promote public transportation, UMass Boston provides discounts on commuter rail and MBTA passes at the beginning of the semester. They also provide shuttle services across campus. BlueBikes and scooters are even available to be taken around campus.
The school also offers many educational resources on environmental causes under their ‘Sustainability’ tab on their website; however, they should be putting more of an effort to push this information to students, so they know their options.

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor