The Dow Chemical Company has selected Tufts as one of only six strategic universities in the world (Cambridge University, Northwestern University, Peking University, Tufts University, University of Michigan, and University of Sao Paolo) to compete in this year’s Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge.
Three Tufts graduate students or graduate student teams will be recognized with $10,000 cash prizes for innovations that target global sustainability challenges. The criteria for selection include: innovative thinking and excellence in research, potential for solving significant problems, and interdisciplinary nature of the work. All degree matriculated post-baccalaureate Tufts students (Masters, Ph.D., or Professional Doctorate) are eligible. Each prize will be given directly to the winners to be used at their discretion, without regard to their financial aid status. One of the winners will be selected to attend the awards convocation at Dow’s offices in Michigan scheduled for Spring 2009.
Peter Chang, Andrew Lloyd, and Lauren Price, members of the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Class of 2012, collaborated and submitted a detailed three page application for this Challenge. Their concept is to introduce a sustainable group dental practice within the school to serve as a pilot for testing new technologies geared toward energy efficiency and waste reduction in the dental profession. In creating a sustainable dental practice within the university-setting, the students hope to instill a greater environmental awareness among fellow students, faculty, staff and the larger community via the visiting patient population. Furthermore, they believe this pilot practice will “serve as a catalyst in broadening initiatives for the environment in our [dental] profession and the medical field as a whole.”
Some of the ideas put forth in this application for a sustainable group practice include: the introduction of a system utilizing botanicals and other natural fiber filters to provide optimal air quality in the operatories and waiting rooms; use of biodegradable surgical gloves, masks, and face shields; development of a multipurpose system that could potentially treat dental waste water, harness this process’s steam for sterilization of instruments, and create air pressure for instruments. The students also proposed use of recyclable furniture material in the dental chairs and waiting room furniture, installation of motion detectors for lights and more efficient heating and cooling methods to control the air temperature within the practice.