From updating the Harvard University police fleet with new hybrid police cars that increased fuel efficiency across the department to an overhaul of building-controls systems in four buildings at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) that led to more than $400,000 in savings, the Harvard Green Carpet Awards recognized the outstanding efforts of a wide-ranging group of 14 project teams and 129 students and staff toward a more sustainable campus.
Hosted by Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and the Office for Sustainability, the biennial event celebrates the dedication and hard work of project teams and student groups in meeting the University’s sustainability commitments, including its goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Beginning in 2013, individual employee green heroes and sustainability champions are recognized as part of the annual Harvard Heroes event held later in the spring.
“I am excited to be here this afternoon, not only to personally congratulate all of you on your hard work and achievements, but also to thank you on behalf of President Faust,” Lapp told the crowd on Wednesday. “It is the combined efforts and passion of thousands of staff, students, and faculty across our campus that help reduce energy and emissions, increase efficiency, conserve resources, and thus help strengthen Harvard’s research and teaching mission.”
Harvard President Drew Faust has made it a priority for the University community to confront the global challenges of climate change and sustainability, not only through research but also by translating research into institutional action. The Green Carpet Award winners were chosen because they exemplified the breadth and depth of innovative work being done across Harvard’s Schools and administrative departments.
“One of our goals as a university must be to develop replicable solutions that can be applied inside and outside Harvard,” said Office for Sustainability Director Heather Henriksen in welcoming the crowd to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s Knafel Center.
Five teams from Harvard Business School, HSPH, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Harvard University Information Technology were recognized for their efforts to save money and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and energy use. The winners included projects implemented by facilities teams to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and an initiative by Harvard University Dining Services to gain Green Restaurant certification for all undergraduate dining halls. Sustainable practices in laboratories were also honored, including the green, energy-efficient renovation of Professor Daniel Nocera’s laboratory by the chemistry department operations team and an initiative by the Eggan Lab to reduce waste and costs by switching from disposable plastic pipettes to sterilized glass pipettes that can be reused.
Green teams from the Alumni Affairs and Development Department and HSPH were thanked for their passionate and energetic outreach and education programs that have engaged their communities to take on-the-ground action. And undergraduate and graduate student teams were honored for organizing a recent environmental-justice conference at Harvard Law School and piloting a new composting program in first-year dorms. The student-supported Sense & Sustainability organization was recognized for its partnership with a leading business magazine in South Korea, Money Today, to organize a conference in Seoul on business innovation and sustainability.
“One of Harvard’s primary goals is to help shape future leaders who will develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems,” said Dean of Freshmen Thomas Dingman, who was one of several university leaders to present the awards. “Today we recognize the creativity and determination of students working to address environmental challenges.”
Four individual students were recognized for their leadership on campus: College students Emma Lucken ’17 and Cliff Goertemiller ’14, Harvard Divinity School student Anna Mullen, and Saira Hashmi, a graduate of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a current Ph.D. student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.