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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston focuses on sustainability this Earth Month

Olivia Reid
During Earth Month, students can take part in recyclable crafts in UHall 4400 every Thursday at 5 p.m. Photo by Olivia Reid / Photography Editor.

Along with spring, April brings Earth Month. Earth Month is designed to promote sustainability and to remind people to take care of their environment. UMass Boston has consistently prioritized sustainability, including the hiring of a new Sustainability and Resiliency Planner in the Office of Campus Planning & Sustainability last August. 

Janna Cohen-Rosenthal has worked in a number of schools on the topic of sustainability. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Environmental Studies and a Master of Business Administration in Non-Profit Management and Social Policy. She is also currently the advisor for UMass Boston’s Sustainability Club.

UMass Boston is launching the Sustainable UMass Boston Initiative this month where Cohen-Rosenthal works with the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee to create a sustainable future in academics, research, operations and community engagement. Cohen-Rosenthal is broadening the horizon on sustainability. For instance, she focuses on institutional sustainability. This includes everything from food waste in the dining hall, to medical waste from the Nursing Department or University Health Services, to waste in research labs. Anything to do with community improvement and connection also fits under the umbrella of sustainability because people are at the center of sustainability.

In March, students got the opportunity to tell administrators what institutional sustainability means to them. Cohen-Rosenthal wants to make it clear that students are welcome in every part of the process. If a student has a sustainability proposal, reach out to her at [email protected].

Several events have been held this Earth Month across campus. Healey Library hosts an ongoing Earth Month Library Guide this month. They provide lists of titles from fiction, non-fiction and academic texts as well as trivia questions that will give students the chance to win a prize if they answer the questions correctly.

The Sustainability Club, along with several other UMass Boston organizations and Cohen-Rosenthal, set up fun activities for students walking through the first floor of Campus Center. Last week, they held students accountable for their sustainability plans by offering chalkboard signs for students to write their sustainability goals on. 

The next day, Sodexo offered basil and lavender plants for students to keep by the window in their apartments. Rose Forrest, the Sustainability Director from Sodexo, shared that Sodexo is also working on their sustainability efforts. They are focusing on reducing carbon emissions, providing more plant-based options (as seen in the new additions to Tres Habaneros in the Food Court), reducing plate waste and reducing back-of-house waste. During Earth Month, Sodexo is focusing on local vendors for all of their New England clients.

In the last week of April, the first floor of Campus Center will host even more pop-ups for Earth Month. The UMass Boston Maker’s Space–who is improving their sustainability efforts–will be hosting a table where students can recycle scraps. Students can get their bikes tuned. Students can also participate in several art projects, like painting rocks with the Art for Mental Health Club. Sustainability is put at the center of UMass Boston’s Earth Month celebrations.

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