Climate leaders program

The Climate Leaders Program will provide a hands-on opportunity for master's students to engage with peers who share a professional interest in climate-related work. The deadline to apply is Sept. 12.

Photo by Sanjay Seth

Campus & Community

Students take the lead on new climate program

3 min read

Effort will develop future leaders in struggle to address global warming

Harvard has launched a Climate Leaders Program for Professional Students to help interested students engage across the University, mentor one another, and develop skills and relationships that support future careers addressing climate change.

The student-led, faculty advised program will accept up to 40 master’s students from at least five of Harvard’s graduate schools, and will prioritize students with a demonstrated interest in working in the field. It was developed in partnership with the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE). The deadline to apply is Sept. 12.

“As graduate students, we share responsibility for getting climate change education right,” said Sanjay Seth, a dual degree student at Harvard Kennedy School and Graduate School of Design, who led the organizing effort last year and is helping lead the program’s development. “There’s no blueprint for teaching a topic like climate change, so we’re excited that this new program will provide a platform for students from across Harvard to engage with others who share their interest in climate-related work.”

The program kicks off with an intensive weekend retreat in the Harvard Forest, a site for internationally significant climate science research. Over the weekend, they will set priorities and establish a foundation for the inaugural year of the Climate Leaders Program.

Over the fall and spring terms, participants will organize at least eight dinners with key leaders and experts in the field, and at least four workshops focusing on critical skills. The workshops will allow participates to dive deep into climate-related topics such as designing a low-carbon economy, negotiating across differences, and managing effective multidisciplinary teams.

“One of Harvard’s most important contributions to the challenge of climate change is educating future lawyers, architects, policymakers, corporate leaders, and health professionals,” said Dan Schrag, director of HUCE and the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology. “If we can help expose our professional students to the broad intellectual resources on climate change from across the University, it will pay dividends for generations.”

The content of the workshops, dinners, and other programming will evolve throughout the year and from cohort to cohort, based on the values, interests, and priorities of each. Participants and faculty will be actively engaged in the design and execution of the program.