Posted by: climatecollaborative | April 27, 2009

The 2009 HCC Annual Report

The  2009 HCC Annual Report   is now available for perusal.  Please email with any questions.   

This report contains valuable information about student perceptions and student actions in regards to Harvard University’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions and other collective sustainability goals.  The report is authored by student leaders representing schools from across the University, and is intended for a broad audience of administrators, faculty, staff, and students, as well as those outside of the Harvard community interested in understanding the student perspective on these issues. 

Feel free to disseminate this report amongst your respective student bodies and school administrations.  The information, insights, and resources contained within can be of great utility for those seeking to understand student involvement and concerns.

Posted by: climatecollaborative | April 22, 2009

Monday, 4.27, Meeting Agenda

“HCC 2009 – 2010: Four Models for Next Year’s HCC”

6:50 – 7:05 — Serve dinner, settle in
7:05 – 7:10 — Annual Report – Purpose and Distribution
7:10 – 7:18 — Extension School “current student action” presentation, Q & A
7:18 -7:36 — GSAS “current student action” presentation,Q & A
7:36 – 7:54 — HSPH “current student action” presentation,Q & A

7:54 – 8:20 — Discussion:  The future of the HCC? Four different models for HCC 2009 – 2010

8:20 – 8:28 — HCC leadership update, Wrap-up
8:30 — Adjourn

Posted by: climatecollaborative | April 22, 2009

MODELS for the HCC – Discussion topic for the Monday Meeting

An important part of the agenda for the upcoming HCC meeting is a discussion we’ll be having about the future of the HCC.  With the year winding down, this year’s final report wrapping up, and the summer coming on, it’s time to think about how to make the HCC more useful for students and for administrators.
We started out with the basic goal of facilitating communications between student leaders and between student leaders and administrators.  As you have all seen, there’s been some exciting discussions, ideas shared, and collaborations begun, but there are also clear limitations to what the HCC has been able to do. 
We’ll discuss this more fully at the meeting, but we ask each of you to bring thoughts, ideas, and comments on this issue to the meeting, after reading some of the possible models for the HCC proposed by your fellow HCC members listed below.  What have been our limitations?  Where are their opportunities for growth and the best application of our energy and resources?  

HCC 2.0 or the “Harvard Sustainability THINK TANK.”  Use the collective power of the HCC to generate BIG IDEAS that can excite non-traditional supporters for the “exciting and empowering” environmentalism that can result in the fundamental and huge changes that will be necessary to get to 30%.  This wouldn’t be about just bringing student leaders together, but about bringing the brightest and most creative students into one room on a regular basis to brainstorm and generate the transformative ideas that we need.   

CURRICULAR CHANGE and a BROADER FOCUS – Craig Altemose points out that all academic campuses are responsible for only 3% of national emissions, so Harvard needs to expand its vision of what it can do for the environmental movement if it really wants to have an impact in the grand scheme of things.  Seeing as we’re in the business of education, curricular change should become the main focus of the HCC, with “every course in every school discuss[ing] sustainability and how the topic of the course will affect and/or be affected by global climatic disruption.”  Furthermore, students should “engage in off-site externships weatherizing low-income homes, designing sustainability plans for local businesses, improving efficiency in government buildings, doing community workshops on energy savings tips, etc.  In short, find ways for the HCC to use its influence both on- and off-campus at the local, state, federal, and even global levels.

REGIONAL HCC – Dave Lewis suggests that we may have “tapped out” talking to each other during our dinner series.  Why not expand the membership to include other schools so that we can learn from our peers at other institutions?  One day conferences, and other forums for sharing knowledge beyond Harvard, as a school such as the FAS might have more income with Williams College, for example, than the HDS. 

COMMUNICATIONS – The HCC needs to maintain its focus on inter-school communications at Harvard.  Rather than trying to tackle too much by expanding outwards or changing the mission, the HCC has perhaps been valuable precisely because it seeks to do only one thing, which is to bring student environmental leaders together and to go from there. 


These models are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and could all be adjusted to better fit the realities of our membership.  Please take a look and come with your thoughts and any other models that may not even have been discussed yet.  Feel free to get the discussion started on the blog.  We’ll take notes and bring them to the meeting. 
Thanks all and see you on Monday at 7.  The current issue of the NY Times Magazine ( has some relevant articles that might be worth checking out, as food for thought.

Posted by: Spring Greeney | April 1, 2009

3.16.09 Meeting Photos

Craig Altemose (HLS), Dave Lewis (GSD), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), and Peter James (HSPH) listen in on the HDS student presentation.

Craig Altemose (HLS), Dave Lewis (GSD), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), and Peter James (HSPH) listen in on the HDS student presentation.

Mark Orlowski of the Sustainable Endowments Institute discusses the environmental importance of making more transparent university investments.

Mark Orlowski of the Sustainable Endowments Institute discusses the environmental importance of making more transparent university investments.

More photos available here.

Posted by: climatecollaborative | March 23, 2009

3.16 Meeting Minutes


Todd Orenstein (HBS), Garrett Smith (HBS), Amy Lawrence (HLS), Craig Altemose (HLS), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), Peter James (HSPH), Julai Roos (HSPH), Karen McKinnon (FAS), Lina Swislocki (HGSE), Tiffany Curtis (HDS), Emma Crossen (HDS), Jake Bowman (Extension, in for Nicole Desantis), Gracie Brown (College), Josie McVitty (SEAS), Charlie Allen (HILR), Dave Lewis (GSD), Spring Greeney (College, Coordinator), Aron Chang (GSD, Coordinator)


Guest Speaker:  Mark Orlowski, founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute


Progress Report Update – A draft of the Report will be distributed by April 5th for comments from the group, and a final draft will be ready by Earth Day for distribution.


Earth Day discussion – Which schools have events planned for Earth Day?  Possible collaborations between schools to pool resources and plan joint events so that there might be greater attendance


Earth Hour – (  The City of Boston and Harvard University are both taking part in Earth Hour 2009.  Each school has some plan for participation, so students might speak with facilities managers to see if they can help out or help plan events for that evening.  Earth Hour takes place this year on March 28th, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.



HLS student presentation (Craig Altemose, Amy Lawrence)


Environmental Law Society presentation available here.  ELS website here.


         The Environmental Law Society hosts various on-campus events, including movie nights, career panels, and symposiums

         “Green on-campus interviewing”

         Employers spend lots of money and use lots of resources (paper, catering) to visit the HLS, passing out large packets of information, and then paying to have interviewees visit their firms all around the country and sometime internationally

         HLS students working with firms to shift to a less resource-intensive process, including limiting handouts to a single double-sided page and working to minimize the amount of travel required by representatives and students

         firms have found that they can save thousands of dollars by following Green OCI guidelines

         ELS is also involved in advocacy, specifically pushing for 100% Clean Electricity in 10 years



Mark Orlowski presentation

         Mark is the founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Harvard Square-based nonprofit organization engaged in research and advocacy to advance sustainability in higher education.

         Harvard has a lot of opportunity to do better … though it’s doing pretty well.

         Unique position to pioneer new initiatives to better campus  that can spread to other schools (ex. Revolving Loan Fund)

         College sustainability report card ( – shows that schools such as Harvard are doing pretty well in regards to on-campus sustainability, but that there is much room for improvement in terms of university endowments

         US & Canadian schools hold about $300 billion (Harvard has about 1 out of every 12 of these dollars) – these endowments are a great source of leverage, by which schools can exert a positive influence on the operations of the companies in which they hold shares in order to encourage more sustainable practices

         Simon Malls case à putting pressure on the endowment.  Shareholder resolution from a small Quaker group resulted in Simon Malls auditing all of their properties and becoming well known for being a “green developer”

         First step is for schools to become more transparent – many schools do not make information about their endowments readily accessible – once there is transparency, then the schools can see how they might affect company policies through shareholder resolutions, which do not require large amounts of capital or other resources on the part of the school, but can nevertheless be quite powerful in their effects

         While at Williams College as an undergraduate, Mark worked with other students and administration while serving on the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility to institute an endowment transparency policy



Harvard Divinity School student presentation (Emma Crossen, Tiffany Curtis)


EcoDiv presentation available here.


         EcoDiv works with the HDS Green Team on issues such as food, publicity, zero waste, paper, and computers

         EcoDiv provides resources as an official student organization to support various ecological initiatives in the HDS community

         recently obtained permission to start a garden on a quarter-acre plot behind Jewett House on the HDS campus, with the support of the HDS landscaping crew, Facilities, and OEB

         great enthusisasm amongst students, faculty, and staff for the garden

         EcoDiv hosts various lectures and events, is planning Nature Neighborhood Tours, is co-hosting a one day conference on the implications of ecology for the practice of ministry with the Boston Theological Institute and the HDS Office of Ministry Studies, and is looking at increasing its presence during Orientation with environmental campus tours, info sessions, etc. 

         Other ideas for future initiatives include CSA participation for students, Eco Storytelling, Story of Stuff conversation series, and a Eco-liturgy literacy project


HCC  Leadership and Transition into Next Year


Please send Spring and Aron any suggestions you might have for potential leaders for the HCC next year.  We would like to announce the new coordinators by the next meeting, and to have them run the next meeting so that we can ensure that there is a good transition into next fall.  Also, our next meeting is open to all future members of the HCC, so please bring classmates or members of your respective groups that will be involved in the HCC next year so that they can begin to get to know each other and be introduced to the group and how it functions. 




Posted by: Spring Greeney | March 16, 2009

Meeting Agenda

Monday, March 16

“Galvanizing Change”

6:50 – 7:05 — Serve dinner, settle in
7:05 – 7:10 — A word about the final report; Earth Day discussion
7:10 – 7:25 — HLS “current student action” presentation, Q & A
7:25 -7:30 — Review HCC goals/mission; Student introductions; introduce guest speaker Mark Orlowski
7:30 – 7:45 — Mark presentation
7:45 – 8:05 — Q&A with Mark
8:05 – 8:20 — HDS “current student action” presentation, Q & A
8:20 – 8:28 — Wrap-up, thanks
8:30 — Adjourn

Posted by: Spring Greeney | February 26, 2009

2.23.09 Meeting Photos

Harvard CFO Dan Shore discusses the budgeting process with members of the Harvard Climate Collaborative.

Harvard CFO Dan Shore discusses the budgeting process with members of the Harvard Climate Collaborative.

"How would you build a student group at a one-year school?" educators Lina and Andrew (HGSE) ask the group.

"How would you build a student group at a one-year school?" our resident educators Lina Swislocki and Andrew Costigan (HGSE) ask the group.

More photos here (with apologies to Gracie Brown who, sitting next to me, did not make it into a single shot).

Posted by: climatecollaborative | February 24, 2009

2.23.09 Meeting Minutes

“Finances and Implementation”


Present: Nick Morales (HLS; filling in for Craig Altemose), Amy Lawrence (HLS), Nicole DeSantis (Extension School), Peter James (HSPH), Kevin Banahan (HSPH), Daniel Chandler (GSAS), Andrew Costigan (GSE), Lina Swislocki (GSE), Gracie Brown (FAS), Karen McKinnon (FAS), Charles Allen (HILR), Marty Leape (HILR), Allison Myers (HKS), Emma Crossen (HDS), Tiffany Curtis (HDS), Moeko Yoshitomi (GSAS), Kelsey Smith (HMS), Erin Bettendorf (HMS), Spring Greeney (FAS, HCC coordinator), and Aron Chang (GSD, HCC coordinator)


Guest Speaker: Dan Shore (Harvard University’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance)



Discussions of feedback from the last HCC meeting; reminder to email Spring and Aron the necessary information for the HCC Progress Report.


HGSE “current student action” presentation

  • passed out handouts with a drawing of the Ed. School along with some of the key features and defining characteristics of the school, along with challenges unique to a program where students are around for only one year.  See handout here.
  • asked HCC members to brainstorm ideas for how to approach the issue of sustainability at such a school where little carries over from year to year, at least from the students’ perspective
  • Suggestions from HCC reps included finding doctoral students with vested interests and having a presence at admitted students day and also during orientation
  • GSE has contributes relatively little to Harvard’s total GHG emissions, so the focus of student action should be on how one can teach sustainability as a method of encouraging change and action, beyond the usual emphasis on scare tactics and purely science-based approaches
  • GSE students are working on composting and getting double-sided printing as the default setting, though this may have to overcome some faculty resistance
  • bringing in a speaker who’s making a film on a Superfund site, in conjunction with the HMS and HSPH
  • “Green Gifts” for incoming students, such as travel mugs



Introduce Dan Shore and HCC members, recap purpose of group


Dan Shore:
CFO Shore emphasized the following in his brief presentation and the ensuing Q & A:

  • GHG emissions were a good target for the University to tackle as a whole because of its emphasis on physical planning – good for coalescing as an institution
  • Harvard is building on the work of the Harvard Green Campus Initiative
  • energy audits for each school to establish baselines; each school has a different starting point
  • with current financial crisis and impact on the endowment, the GHG goal remains but there are some changes in strategy: change of pace in capital planning (new construction, renovations), behavioral change is low cost, and also quicker payback projects
  • emissions reductions can compete against other initiatives
  • each school has their own budget and endowments – they submit their budgets to Harvard’s Office of Budgets and Financial Planning (OBFP) in July, and the OBFP sends questions back to each school in regards to the budget and specific items
  • a capital plan from each school comes in at the same time AND every individual project also requires a separate approval from the OBFP
  • the Office for Sustainability is also involved in budget planning and large projects
  • transparency is a critical issue – some schools are more transparent than others – students must push their administrators to reveal as much as possible what is and isn’t happening at their individual schools – students should sit down with administrators and staff to learn about operations and to hold those in charge accountable
  • Incentives: People who are responsible have to be accountable and incentives should be targeted towards them to encourage behavioral change. For example, most occupants of labs and Harvard’s offices don’t get utility bills, so there’s little incentive to reduce their waste.
  • With Drew Faust, there has been a much more collaborative spirit in the interactions between the Office of the President and the various deans.
  • Carbon Tax? The OBFP has not yet worked on the possibility of a state or federal carbon tax, though there were discussions of implementing an internal carbon tax – this was difficult to achieve at the outset of the campaign, so no carbon tax in place
  • What should students do? Students should get in front of faculty and administration with their objectives and demands; demands are much more effective coming from students than from administrators
  • Not all schools have standing committees or dedicated resources and personnel devoted to sustainability, but every school should have a visible local presence so that the GHG reduction goals and other objectives are embedded in the culture of the school – perhaps some kind of “Green Fellows” program or other ways of increasing the visibility of efforts being undertaken and making sustainability a vital part of academics and student life – this would need to start with the deans, from the top



HMS “current student action” presentation


HMS presentation available here.

  • Kelsey and Erin represent Students for Environmental Awareness in Medicine (SEAM)
  • HMS and the OFS produce a “Sustainability Snapshot” for each fiscal year, which contains data for key indicators in one easily digestible page, available here and on the OFS website
  • Past Projects and Concerns: Lighting updates – switching in less energy-intensive bulbs, but the sheer number of light bulbs on campus has minimized the positive impact of these changes, looking into reducing total number of bulbs; Temperature controls – old buildings, many rooms overheated – switching in better thermostats and controls; greener laundry – energy efficient cycles; HMS has a disproportionately high number of faculty, many of whom never see students and don’t want to be told how to regulate temperatures in their labs; Freecycling (similar to Supply Swaps at other schools); Green Labs, Green Cleaning, regular Green Tips emailed and posted
  • Longwood Area Task Force on Sustainability – focus groups with student body to identify issues and possibilities
  • Current and future projects: working with dining providers to give out tupperware to incoming students to reduce the usage of disposable containers; working to replace current disposables (clamshells) with better alternatives; possibility of giving out coffee mugs and working to get discounts for use of reusable containers and mugs; Earth Day activities include focus group, Mount Trashmore in commons, roll out dining discounts for those with reusable dishes and mugs, party; Green Labs – first year students have one summer off and many work in labs or research facilities – SEAM is planning a meeting in May for first year students to plan to bring sustainable practices to the labs, at Harvard and beyond, where they will be working for the summer; Stericycle – reusable hazardous waste containers; installing software for Computer Power Optimization for computers around campus; install energy-efficient copier defaults


Informal Poll to gauge interest in bringing in another outside speaker for the March HCC meeting: members generally in favor.


Due to time conflicts with a class, the HCC is considering moving meetings to the 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. time slot on Mondays. Coordinators will send info.


Submit your reports!

Posted by: Spring Greeney | February 21, 2009

February 23 Meeting Agenda

5:50 – 6:05 — Serve dinner, settle in
6:05 – 6:10 —
Discussion of feedback from last session; reminder about final report 6:10 – 6:25 — HGSE “current student action” presentation, Q & A

6:25 – 6:30 — Review HCC goals/mission; Student introductions; introduce guest speaker Dan Shore
6:30 – 6:50 — Shore presentation [see below for list of questions]
6:50-7:05 — Q&A with Mr. Shore

7:05 – 7:20 — HMS “current student action” presentation, Q & A

7:20 – 7:28 — Wrap-up, thanks
7:30 — Adjourn

[7:30 – 7:40 — Discussion with student leaders here next year: Future of HCC]

Posted by: climatecollaborative | February 18, 2009

GHG Implementation Planning – Student Involvement

From the Office for Sustainability:

The link above is for an application from the OFS to sit on a committee which will offer an opportunity for student feedback on the Greenhouse Gas Implementation Planning Process and Working Group recommendations.  This would be a great way to be involved in Harvard-wide initiatives to achieve Drew Faust’s ambitious GHG reductions goals.  Your opinions and suggestions will be taken seriously by the Office for Sustainability, as student participation is critical to how the Office for Sustainability shapes its plans and strategies.  Please pass on to your constituencies as well.

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