Posted by: Spring Greeney | October 31, 2008

10.17.08 Meeting Minutes: Summary

A successful first meeting with representation from every school

Faculty guest speaker: Professor Bill Clark — Chair, GHG Task Force
Members in attendance: Spring Greeney (Environment Society, FAS), Aron Chang (Environment Society, GSD), Regan Berkmark (HMS), Andrew Costigan (HGSE), Brian Bergmark (HMS), Emma Crossen (HDS), Garrett Smith (HBS), Todd Orenstein (HBS), Shannon Simms (GSD), Dave Lewis (GSD), Andrew Foss (HKS), Dan Chandler (GSAS), Linda Liang (SEAS), Justin Parrella (SEAS), Moeko Yoshitomi (GSAS), Craig Altemose (HLS/HKS) Amy Lawrence (HLS), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), Peter James (HSPH), Julia Roos (HSPH), Gracie Brown (FAS), Karen McKinnon (FAS), Lina Swislocki (HGSE)

CLARK PRESENTATION:

Overview of task force process.  Emphasis on history of successful collaboration between students, administrators, and faculty (ex: Summer’s Sustainability Principles, recent GHG commitment)

Salient points of the commitment:

  1. Covers scope 1 and scope 2 (fuel we purchase, electricity we consume).  Excludes travel, upstream emissions, endowment.
  2. Commitment to explore full range of options.
  3. Commitment to build administrative capacity (i.e. new Office of Sustainability, etc.)
  4. Commitment to lead in associated research and education.
  5. Commitment to a specific implementation plan with numbers and dates, to be reviewed annually and, more intensively, on a 4-year basis.  Strategy: “Start now, start aggressive, learn while going.”
  6. Commitment to use real, certifiable offsets when appropriate.

This commitment represents an extraordinary opportunity” — to change how Harvard conducts itself in the world, to reconsider what it means to have a Harvard degree.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENT INVOLVEMENT (Bill Clark recommendations, group brainstorm):

  • Teaching opportunities
    • academic offerings for new January Term, in new General Education program
  • Opportunities for hands-on experience
    • Research assistantships, internships with University Operations Services, Office of Sustainability
    • Need for a central clearing house for these opportunities
  • The centrality of student feedback
    • Ought students learn about sustainability/energy/environment before they graduate?  How to even make this a more viable option?
  • Reporting structure
    • How to message and market progress to different constituencies?  How to make relevant numbers transparent and meaningful to these different groups (students, admins, finance, etc.)?
    • Semi-annual Harvard-wide event to celebrate progress and reengage students:
      • What are our goals, how are we doing, what have we learned?
  • Alumni outreach: how to engage and benefit from experience of alumni?

KAREN MCKINNON AND GRACIE BROWN PRESENTATION: The Harvard undergraduate Environmental Action Committee

Relevant upcoming events: Green Crimson fund for renewable energy, environment careers/internships events.

BROADER GROUP DISCUSSION: How do we engage students at our respective campuses?

  • EAC: co-sponsorship with other student groups.
  • HMS: regularly-scheduled meetings with administrators and operations staff
    • translation of “Harvard” events to “Longwood” identity
    • collaboration with HSPH
  • HPSH: collaboration with HMS…
    • lunch discussions about sustainability issues

Thanks for a productive first meeting, all.  We look forward to seeing you at our November 24 meeting!

SG & AC

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