In December, students enrolled in CS50, Harvard’s introductory computer science course, celebrated the end of the semester with a campus-wide fair to showcase their final projects. This year, several students put their values into action and accepted the challenge of creating sustainability-focused applications and projects. From apps about what and where to recycle, guides to electronic waste disposal locations, a website that can switch off your lights and electronics, to a calculator that computes Harvard students’ carbon footprints, students in last semester’s CS50 course made sustainability a priority.
Two students, Nicolas Hite and Kelsey Nowell, accepted a challenge posed by the Office for Sustainability: to create a visualization of Harvard’s greenhouse gas and energy data for the casual observer. Using an open source language called “processing,” Hite and Nowell’s project “Visualizing Environmental Data: The True Impact of Harvard’s Carbon Footprint” transforms pie charts, graphs, and terms such as kWhs and BTUs, used in the Office for Sustainability’s reporting, into more intuitive visual representations of Harvard’s carbon emissions and energy use. Hite and Nowell’s introductory video explains why their project helps the everyday, non-expert grasp Harvard’s efforts and accomplishments toward sustainability.
Here’s a sampling of some of the other CS50 sustainability projects:
Is it Recyclable (for Android) by Victor Wu
Recyclable or Not? (for IOS) by Simone Hasselmo
Guide to Electronic Waste Disposal in Boston Area (tool) by Alexander Cunha
Calculate your Carbon Footprint (website) by Lea Corban
It Is Easy Being Green (website) by Jessica Rucinski
SwitchMe: Control your lights and electronics from the web (website) by Tyler Kugler
To learn more about the CS50 fair, read the article “For a day, geek is chic” in the Harvard Gazette.