Campus & Community

Campus-wide contest seeks artful, sustainable solutions

3 min read

The Harvard Green Campus Initiative is sponsoring an art and design competition this fall with $10,000 in cash prizes for the best visions of a sustainable Harvard campus.

Submission guidelines, information

“The international community is suffering the real effects of global environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion, and increasing toxicity in all life support systems,” said visiting scientist Leith Sharp, director of the Harvard Green Campus Initiative. “In response to the global environmental imperative, Harvard University has stepped forward to implement a set of campus-wide sustainability principles that commit Harvard to becoming a model of sustainable institutional practice,” Sharp added. “To help us develop, expand, and energize an emerging vision of what campus sustainability could mean for us, we need to tap the intellect, talent, imagination, and interest of the entire Harvard community.”

The Vision of Sustainability 2020 Art and Design Competition is open to all members of the Harvard University community, including students, staff, alumni, and faculty. The competition is also open to the spouses, domestic partners, and children of current employees and students.

“We wanted to involve the entire community in thinking about what a sustainable campus of the near future might look like,” said competition coordinator Alayne Moody. “That means everyone who has a relationship with the campus, from the professors in the academic departments to the preschoolers in the campus child-care centers. We want ideas from every generation, every discipline, every profession, and every background. Because the challenge of becoming a model of sustainability will ultimately affect and depend upon everyone, we believe that every vision counts.”

The competition has adult and junior categories, with the top prizes being $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Contestants are being asked to consider Harvard’s existing campuses in Boston and Cambridge, as well as the new campus being developed in Allston, and to envision ways to make them more environmentally and economically sustainable.

And what is a sustainable campus? It’s one where economic, environmental, and community interests are in balance. An often-cited definition of sustainability comes from the report “Our Common Future” released by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. It refers to sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In the Harvard context, sustainability means finding ways to implement the campus sustainability principles approved by President Lawrence H. Summers in October 2004.

Submissions for the competition should be in the form of an original painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, or mixed media piece (graphic design, video, etc.) and must be received Oct. 31 by 9 a.m. Winners will be chosen by Harvard Green Campus Initiative staff and a panel composed of faculty and administrators from across the University. An exhibition and judging event will be held in early November.