Posted by: Spring Greeney | December 21, 2008

12.15.08 Meeting Minutes

“Students in Implementation”

Present: Andrew Foss (HKS), Allison Myers (HKS), Stephen Jensen (GSAS), Tiffany Curtis (HDS), Emma Crossen (HDS), Dave Lewis (GSD), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), Julia Roos (HSPH), Peter James (HSPH), Kelsey Smith (HMS), Karen McKinnon (FAS), Garrett Smith (HBS), Todd Orenstein (HBS), Craig Altemose (HLS), Lina Swisloski (HGSE_, Moeko Yoskitomi (GSAS), Niklesh (GSAS; filling in for Daniel Chandler), Charlie Allen (HILR), Spring Greeney (FAS, HCC coordinator), Aron Chang (GSD, HCC coordinator)

Guest speakers: Heather Henriksen (Director, Office for Sustainability)
Ed Forst (Executive VP, Harvard University)

Recap last meeting, purpose of group
Encourage others to post to the group blog — number is hits goes up with every new post
Introduce speakers

Ed Forst:
Exectutive VP Forst emphasized the following in his 10-minute presentation:

  • Need to keep moving forward: We need to capitalize off of the energy created/manifest at the Oct 22 Al Gore event (“Catch some wind”)
  • Need to engage every member of the University: The GHG is very aggressive because it includes growth, will need all of us to be involved.
  • Need for transparency: “The more we can make what we’re doing transparent, the more we can accomplish.”  And importance of the multiplier effect
  • Need to plan: The current economic environment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan for the future, when the market is better … or that there is nothing we can do now.  Simply means that the return threshold on investments must be higher.
  • Need for leadership from all levels: from the top and from the bottom/grassroots level
  • Need to recognize: this is an experiment, and no experiment is irreversible.

Mr. Forst turns the discussion back to the group: What do we think needs to be done?
Kevin: What do you think needs to be done?:  More integration of the GHG implementation process into the curriculum (a la Bill Clark’s undergraduate class).  More curricular development to engage students in discussions of environment/sustainability
Stephen: Metrics help change behavior: cites “shut the sash” fume hood example in the labs
Garrett: need for transparency on what they (Operations, etc.) plan to do and what they’ve chosen not to do.
Karen: encourage students to innovate and be a part of the solution through some sort of social capital fund (a la Big Ideas @ Berkeley)

Heather Henriksen
(Powerpoint available here)

What is going on now?

Working with similar schools: on an Ivies, plus call

  • Working with similar schools: on an Ivies, plus call
  • Working with leading administrators around campus (GHG/Sustainability Executive Committee): Jeremy Bloxham, Elena Kagan, Jay Light, Steve Cosland, Dan Schrag … 12 members total.
    • Meets once per month
  • Each school: assessment of building stock to determine what can be done. (Harvard’s campus includes 24 million sq ft of enclosed area!)
  • Working groups tackling different aspects of the problem:
    • Marketing, communications, and engagement (good for student involvement)
    • Energy supply
    • Demand Management: building efficiency
    • GHG inventory methodology and measurement (possibly good for student involvement)
    • Offsets and renewable energy (good for student involvement)
  • Office of Sustainability relaunching its website in February
    • Will have a monthly feature in the Harvard Gazette
    • Other necessary communications steps?  How to make this public and understood across campus?

A word on the economic situation:

  • We must remember: Every university has 20 – 30% fewer resources than they did 9 months ago.
  • Thus: looking for those investments with an energy return and an economic return
  • Return threshold has to be higher

A word on the working groups:

  • Difficulties of instant feedback (submetering is nonexistent in most buildings, very expensive to install)

Areas for student involvement:

  • Help with staff and faculty behavior change
  • Creation of cultural change
  • Actions at our own schools/between schools
  • Ideas for communications
  • Vet ideas — which recommendations should go before the Executive Committee?

HKS Presentation: Andrew Foss and Allison Myers
Overview of student-led environmental activities at HKS (thanks, both!)
Full presentation available here.


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