Initiatives have helped the Institute significantly reduce its carbon footprint as the school recognizes Earth Month

With Earth Month being celebrated in April, the MGH Institute’s commitment to sustainability and ‘green’ initiatives that foster a culture of environmental responsibility continues to increase across campus. 

Sustainability Coordinator Tyler Leary has spearheaded a number of campaigns aimed to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. 

“We work with students, staff, and faculty to try to get people interested in and aware of what's happening on campus,” said Leary. “And so far, the avenues we’ve provided to engage with sustainability have been very successful.” 

In 2023, the Institute made significant strides in sustainability efforts, with achievements like recycling and composting 36% of its waste and saving 365,000 plastic bottles because people used refillable water stations. In addition, approximately 65% of students and 54% of employees bike, walk, or take public transportation to work, which led to the school receiving its first bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University award from the League of American Bicyclists.

With initiatives such as a 50% discount on Bluebikes, the installation of 32 electric vehicle charging stations in a nearby MGH garage, promoting electric vehicle usage on campus, and 69 discounted Zipcar memberships (and two Zipcars on campus), the majority of students utilize sustainable transportation. 

“Some students have said that they've never tried biking before, and after trying Bluebikes, they ended up buying their own bike,” Leary said. "It's important to give our community a chance to try out sustainable options without investing all that money at once."

Other actions the school has taken include: participating in the nationwide Campus Race to Zero Waste challenge and introducing a bi-monthly newsletter that includes sustainability spotlights, campus events, and ideas for actions that students, staff, and faculty can take to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. 

“All of these initiatives are important in helping find ways to incorporate sustainable practices easily into the IHP community and their daily lives,” Leary noted.

This month, Leary has organized a spring bike tune-up, an office and school supply swap, and a sustainable living workshop to share tips for incorporating sustainability into students’ daily lives.

Additionally, the 2024 Earth Day Photo & Art Wall competition will be held through April 22. It will highlight photos, poems, or other pieces of art that community members think best represent Earth Day. 

Leary said that many of these initiatives have impacted the daily routines.

Last year, Leary and the Campus Services team introduced a career closet event that provided students with professional attire at no cost. Over 140 free articles of clothing were donated to students.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental and social determinants of health, the IHP continues to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion with initiatives like these. The Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health, of which Leary is on the committee, is actively engaging the IHP community in initiatives that bridge the gap between sustainability and health equity. 

“We are very proud of what we have done,” said Leary, “and look forward to integrating even more sustainable practices into our campus and the daily routines of the IHP community\.” 

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