Student peer-to-peer eco program celebrates 10-year anniversary

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Students have always been the driving force behind Harvard’s leadership on sustainability, pushing the University to establish a greenhouse gas reduction goal and launching new programs like the Harvard Community Garden.

This year, one of Harvard’s most successful and widely replicated sustainability programs – the Resource Efficiency Program (REP) — celebrated its 10 year anniversary of working inside the undergraduate Houses to raise environmental awareness and engage students in eco-friendly activities.

In fall 2002, John Hsu ’03, Rachelle Gould ’03, and Wendy Liu ’03 approached the Faculty of Arts & Sciences Office of Physical Resources, Harvard’s Green Campus Initiative (now Harvard Office for Sustainability), University Operations Services, and Environmental Action Committee to advocate for the creation of Harvard’s first peer-to-peer environmental education program. Their vision was to implement dorm-based ecological education programs and energy-efficiency and waste recycling measures, targeting all 6600 undergraduate students.

“We wanted to steer away from gloom and doom and didn’t want to talk at students. Instead, we were striving to create a peer-to-peer program that would make people feel part of a larger social community,” said Gould when contacted earlier this year and asked to reflect on the creation of REP.