Posted by: lilgbrown | December 2, 2008

Harvard College: Environmental Action Committee (EAC)

Hello All,

We are the representatives from Harvard College, both of us on the board of the Environmental Action Committee (EAC). It brings us great pleasure to fill you in on what the EAC is, how we function, what we’ve done in the past, and what we’re sinking our teeth into right now.

 

I. What is the EAC?

            The EAC is the largest student-run environmental advocacy group at Harvard College. Currently, we consist of about 40 members in the general EAC, with 15 members on the Board. Our work remains focused on environmental policy and advocacy. In that realm, we like to get involved in campaigns surrounding environmental policy at Harvard, local, state, and national governments. We work on raising student awareness about these issues, and how they can contribute to our cause.

II. Structure of the EAC

The EAC is a federal system. We have a general EAC, which has its own campaigns, goals, tactics, etc. As well, we have four subcommittees that deal with more specific and diverse issues.

·      Sustainable Allston advocates for sustainable development of Harvard’s development project in Allston. They work with other students who are interested in urban planning and social justice, speak with community members and community leaders in Allston, and hear from key planners of Harvard’s projects.

·      Enviro-Ed is an after-school program working with middle schoolers in Boston public schools. It aims to teach children about the environment and instill in them an appreciation for the natural world.

·      Environmental Justice focuses on environmental disparities, where some people are hurt disproportionately by the environmental abuses of another group of people. They work with tutors, teachers, students, and student groups to both discuss and educate around these issues, as well as engage in public service in the local area.

·      Earth Day puts together the fair that the EAC hold each April in honor of Earth Day.

III. Strategies:

            In the past, the EAC has hosted a lot of academic events on campus, from large panel discussions with professors, political figures, professionals, etc., to small discussions with professors and fellows, or movies screenings. However, there is a surplus of events at Harvard College, and everyone’s busy schedules often cause attendance at these events to be thin. For this, we attempt to reach students on a more personal level: tabling in dining halls, knocking on doors, hosting non-academic events like the Earth Day fair, reaching out to professors who teach relevant classes. We also try to co-opt existing infrastructure by reaching out to professors who teach relevant classes and making contact with other student groups. In the past we have worked with Massachusetts Power Shift (MAPS) to reach out to other students, beyond the Harvard community.

 

IV. What we’ve been up to

  • Since the Fall of 2005 up to today, the EAC has been very advocacy oriented, focusing particularly on environmental policy here at Harvard. Some of our projects have included
    • In 2005, we put a referendum on the Undergraduate Council ballot asking Harvard students to opt-in to a $10 term bill fee to support wind power on campus. Though it passed overwhelmingly, it was subsequently vetoed by the administration
    • Instead of the term bill fee, the EAC got Green Crimson funding to support clean energy on campus. We are currently working on the best way to spend that money.
    • In 2006, we asked for FAS to reduce its emissions 11% from 1990 by 2020, which also passed overwhelmingly. It was then adopted by the administration.
    • Over the 2007-2008 school year, the EAC pushed Harvard to make a commitment to climate neutrality. We led a petition drive, collecting 4500 signatures from students, faculty, and alumni. As well, we had a student representative on the Task Force.
    • This fall, after President Faust her plan to adopt all of the Task Force’s recommendations in July, we planned and put together many events for Sustainability Week to generate further discussion about Harvard’s decision, and what it would require from everyone in the community.

V. Looking Ahead

In many ways, advocacy’s time on campus has come and gone. We have gotten much of what we wanted: an aggressive commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fom the administration, the Center for the Environment’s research plans, etc. With this in mind, we look to new projects, including:

  •  
    • Green Crimson money : We hope to spend this money in a way that gets whole student body involved and raises awareness about renewable energy issues.
    • Green jobs/internships. We will be working with Office of Career Services, CPIC, and various graduate schools to get students into green jobs after graduation and green internships/boots on the ground service during their time at Harvard.
    • Green tour: As part of Green Crimson, we want to publicize green projects on campus.
    • WE campaign: We will be getting involved in the national environmental policy scene through lobbying, coordinating with efforts like the WE campaign.
    • Small intra-student education efforts: Round table discussions with professors to further discussion over issues that students and professors are interested in and create opportunities for networking between community-members with similar interests.

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