The Office for Sustainability is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award to be presented at this year’s Green Carpet Awards on April 12 from 3:30-5:30pm in Sanders Theatre. Frederick H. Abernathy, the Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Abbot and James Lawrence Research Professor of Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Rob Gogan, Associate Manager of Recycling and Waste at Campus Services, will receive the award for their tremendous leadership and commitment to sustainability at Harvard.
The annual Green Carpet Awards event celebrates the many staff, faculty and students who have made significant contributions to on-campus sustainability initiatives, including greenhouse gas emission reductions. This year’s event will be MC’d by Pete Davis, the student behind the Harvard Thinks Big series, and will feature student videos as well as performances by the Harvard Undergraduate Drummers (THUD) and Cowgill, a band including students from the GSD and GSAS. Harvard Kennedy School alumnus Lester Brown (MPA '62) will be honored with the first-ever Distinguished Service Award.
The Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award acknowledges that a partnership between faculty, students and administrative staff is the key to our success. In addition to the Award, sixty staff and students will be recognized with Individual Awards and Team Awards will be presented in five categories. To see the list of nominated individuals and finalists for the team awards visit: www.green.harvard.edu/greencarpet2012.
Professor Frederick Abernathy: “A Pioneer in Implementation and Education of Energy Efficiency Measures.”
Over the course of his more than 54 years at Harvard, Professor Abernathy has been a pioneer in the implementation and education of energy efficiency measures. Beginning with Pierce Hall in the early 1960s, Prof. Abernathy has spearheaded energy conservation measures across the university and continues to advocate for more efficient practices today.
In their nomination letter, SEAS Dean Cherry Murray and Deans Emeritus Venky Narayanamurti and Paul Martin said “through the impact of his teaching and research, his engagement in facilities planning and operations across the University, and his crusade for education and behavioral change regarding green issues, Professor Abernathy has continuously contributed to sustainable practices at Harvard and beyond. It is widely held that his energy-saving efforts and sustainable building solutions have saved the University millions of dollars, and his influence on a greener campus well into the future cannot be measured.”
Professor Abernathy’s recommendations and vision have been instrumental for sustainability measures and planning in William James Hall, the re-commissioning of the Blackstone complex, athletic facilities, Maxwell Dworkin, LISE, the Northwest building, and the Allston Science Complex. He is responsible for the timed lighting system in Sever, Pierce, and Vanserg.
While he is an expert on the technological side of energy efficiency, Abernathy has also been highly effective at rallying behavioral changes to reduce energy consumption. As early as 1980, he was quoted in the Crimson highlighting the role of occupants in efficiency, saying, “It’s really not a technology question; it’s a people question.” His work combining technology and energy consumers is most effectively illustrated by his teaching. The phase out of energy-intensive halogen bulbs in the undergraduate dorms was a direct consequence of Professor Abernathy’s work with Linsey Marr '96, an undergraduate advisee. Through his courses and involvement of students, Professor Abernathy has trained countless applied scientists in both technical skills for energy efficiency and a consciousness of sustainability.
Rob Gogan: “Harvard’s Recycling Czar”
To many in Harvard’s community involved in green issues, Rob Gogan needs no introduction. A ubiquitous presence throughout campus, Rob can be found at events and in buildings throughout Harvard working on creative and effective ways to reduce waste.
Rob is a true partner – giving selflessly of himself to work with individuals and groups across Harvard to develop and implement recycling and reuse programs for their communities. Under Rob’s leadership over half of Harvard’s waste (55%) is now recycled or composted. He also has passionately explores opportunities to move beyond recycling – from promoting freecyle events, expanding dorm move-in and move-out reuse programs as well as composting systems and electronic waste recycling helping Rob has helped us all divert tons and tons of unwanted materials from the waste stream.
While keeping the countless parts of the Harvard recycling machinery moving smoothly, Mr. Gogan has been instrumental in building a community on campus around conscientious resource use, welcoming students and staff to educational outings to recycling and composting facilities to build an understanding of what happens to waste after it is discarded. His knowledge and support are central to student efforts in peer education and sustainable living campaigns. While waste management typically is not visible unless something goes wrong, Rob keeps waste management and sustainable living in the Harvard community’s attention.
Rob lives and breathes Harvard’s commitment to supporting the vitality and well-being of our surrounding communities. Countless local and global nonprofits have benefited from Rob’s reuse program. In Fiscal Year 2011 alone the surplus program donated over 2.5 million dollars worth of products to over 200 charities. And working with the LABBB’s “School to Work” vocational training program, Rob helps to train autistic students of high school age to sort, refurbish and re-sell computers, clothing and books.