Harvard’s Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability announced that it is sponsoring six new student-led climate projects across campus through its Student Organization Funding Pilot Program in a Feb. 13 press release.
These student-led initiatives span a total of 13 different student organizations across six of Harvard’s schools: the College, the Business School, the Extension School, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Design, and the Law School.
The sponsored initiatives range from sustainability field trips and a new climate magazine to a plant-based food festival and a clean energy policy project. The common thread through all six initiatives, besides a focus on climate and sustainability, is collaboration, said Salata Institute Director James H. Stock.
“The purpose is to encourage student activities in the climate-sustainability space on the Harvard campus and in particular, more specifically, encourage collaboration among student groups, so that we get the students talking to each other and working together,” Stock said.
To qualify for the grant, project proposals had to involve two or more existing clubs and explain how the project will contribute to either research, education, or public engagement on climate change and related environmental issues.
Harvard Undergraduate Plant Futures Co-President Camille B. Freedman ’25, who is helping organize a plant-based food festival with the HLS Animal Law Society and the GSAS Student Center Wellness Group, said she values how the program opens the gate for undergraduates to work with students in graduate schools.
“That’s exciting to all of us, to collaborate on something together about an issue we care about,” Freedman said. “I think it’ll just bring a wider diversity of perspectives. I think it’ll make the event more successful because we have more people working on it and more people will be invited to attend.”
The HBS Sustainability Club, meanwhile, will work with the Climate Leaders Program for Professional Students to organize field trips to learn about industries focused on sustainability and climate-tech companies.
Co-President of the HBS Sustainability Club Meghavi M. Talati said the collaborative nature of the initiatives reflects the need for interdisciplinary action against climate change.
“It’s not just a business problem, but it’s a tech problem, a business problem, a regulatory problem,” Talati said. “It’s just bringing together all the different minds from different disciplines that’ll help tackle the climate problem together.”
The Harvard Undergraduate Clean Energy Group is set to use the funding to develop two HUCEG-affiliated projects — a climate literacy magazine with the College’s Resource Efficiency Program and Harvard Climate Coalition, and a clean energy policy project with Harvard Undergraduates for Bipartisan Solutions.
“Both of these projects were like the grandchildren, if you will, of two of our members,” HUCEG Co-President Carlie R. McGrath ’24 said. “It’s really cool to be able to start a project that small, and then hopefully each of them will have a large impact and continue on for multiple semesters.”
Stock said he hopes the program will help prepare students to become the “next generation of leaders” who will confront climate change.
“Climate is something that affects all the different schools and students,” Stock said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to work together.”
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