Held at Harvard Law School, the second biennial sustainability breakfast brought together and celebrated students and staff working to make Harvard a healthier, more sustainable campus through their participation and efforts on Green Teams, various committees, peer-to-peer programs, and the Council for Student Sustainability Leaders. 

Thank you to our host, Harvard Law School! The Breakfast was held in the LEED Gold Wasserstein Hall.Thank you to our host, Harvard Law School! The Breakfast was held in the LEED Gold Wasserstein Hall.

Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President of Harvard University kicked off the event by reporting on Harvard's progress in meeting goals set out in the Harvard Sustainability Plan, released in 2014. 

Heather Henriksen, Director, Office for Sustainability, and Doug Garron, Managing Director, Energy and Utilities, and both Co-Chairs of Harvard's Sustainability and Energy Management Council, lauded the triumphs of the students and staff and thanked attendees for making sustainability a priority. 

Henriksen also gave remarks on Harvard’s plans for sustainability, specifically its growing commitment to health and well-being and efforts to bring together faculty and non-profits to better understand the health impacts of chemicals associated with furniture and building materials. Next, the audience was moved by Arlene Blum, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry and Founder/Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute, who explained the biochemistry of various chemicals being used in modern products. She also spoke about her personal triumphs in changing national quality standards in manufacturing to feature less harmful chemicals.

Jose Guillermo (Memo) Cedeño Laurent and Piers MacNaughton both Post Doctorate and Ph.D. students at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, presented their research on Indoor Air Quality and associated health impacts, a project funded by President Faust's Climate Change Solutions Fund.

Meredith Weenick, Vice President for Campus Services, concluded the event by congratulating the attendees for their various efforts, and urging students to continue leading new efforts to keep the momentum toward sustainability alive.

Take a tour of the event through the photos below. 

Sustainability Thank You Breakfast

OFS team members Anthony Michetti, Colin Durrant, and Kelsey Grab are all smiles. 

We’ve been able to achieve this progress because of you and your efforts. It is exciting to see how our community has responded so creatively and effectively to the challenge of climate change and sustainability on our campus. It’s clear we are applying the wealth of talent embedded within every level of this institution to make a difference.


Jenna Overton, Project Assistant, Business and Environment Initiative, and Saad Amer, College '16, LOVE our Sustainability Plan (and we love them). 

Meredith Weenick, Vice President of Campus Services, Heather Henriksen, Director, Office for Sustainability, Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President, Harvard University, and Jaclyn Olsen, Assistant Director for the Office for Sustainability.

I am honored to have spent time with you this morning and want to not only thank you for your incredible contributions to advancing sustainability efforts on Harvard’s campus, but to encourage you to continue thinking creatively about sustainability on campus. I’m eager to learn of the exciting new projects dreamed up by the people in this room next year at this time. 

    -Meredith Weenick, Vice President of Campus services

Student Grant Recipients and members of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Eco-Marathon Team Willie Pirc, Joseph Pappas, and Johnathan Budd. 

Shout outs:

  • The SEAS Eco-Marathon Team, funded with help from the Student Sustainability Grant program, is researching, designing, and building a super-efficient electric car to compete in a national competition.

Alex Foote, College ’15, and Alumni Affairs and Development Green Team members Kim Salley, Justine Martin, and Amanda Hayes.

Shout outs:

  • Three HBS Student Sustainability Associates are partnering with the Business & Environment Initiative to increase the number of sustainability-focused case studies used in classrooms.

Piers MacNaughton and Memo Cedeño shared their research on how Indoor Air Quality and indoor environments affect students in Harvard Houses. They are recipients of a Sustainability Student Grant, as well as the Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund

Memo Cedeño and Brandon Geller, FAS Green Program Manager. 

Justin Stratman, Director, Property Operations for Harvard University Housing and Mary Smith, Associate Director, Energy Supply and Utility Admin.

Shout outs:

  • At Peabody Terrace, ongoing commissioning by Harvard University Housing, led to an optimized fan runtime to save an estimate $6,497 over the course of three weeks. 
  • The Sustainability and Energy Management Council’s two most active committees, Green Labs and Green IT, are working to target energy reductions for these energy intensive spaces.
  • At the Tosteson Medical Education Center building, the Medical School underwent a building-wide upgrade and re-commissioning of HVAC systems and controls, which resulted in more than $300,000 in expected utility savings.

Juliana Wong and Garry Cuneo both of Harvard Project and Planning Management, and David Pearson, Student Grant Recipient, Graduate School of Design. 

Shout outs:

  • Strategic procurement is shepherding vendor compliance with new sustainability standards, working with vendors to determine how the Cambridge campus can comply with new laws that allow the use of furniture that still meets strict fire safety standards, but without the use of harmful chemical flame retardants, and partnering with Campus Services and Harvard Project and Planning Management to streamline the RFP process for renewable energy and climate resilience.

The challenges of climate change and sustainability demand that we not rest on our laurels but continue to move forward, innovating and developing creative solutions to these challenges together.

     -Katie Lapp, Executive Vice president

Anthony Michetti, FAS Green Program Coordinator, Jason Luke, Associate Director, Custodial and Support Services, Facilities and Maintenance Operations, Kelsey Grab, FAS Residential Program Coordinator, and Brandon Geller, FAS Green Program Manager enjoy the breakfast. 

Shout outs:

  • FAS’s Northwest Laboratories building management team partnered with Environmental Health and Safety to reduce air changes in lab spaces. They created an innovative approach to reducing air changes by fabricating, in the Harvard machine shop, discs that would reduce air flow. This pilot had a payback of less than one year. 
  • Transportation Services replaced more than 1,800 existing metal halide and fluorescent fixtures with LED alternatives saving more than $3 million. This is an almost 50% savings in both greenhouse gas emissions and maintenance and utility costs, with a payback of less than 5 years. On top of this, they donated the slightly used lamps for use in a community in Africa.

Dr. Arlene Blum, a nationally recognized scientist and public health advocate who spearheaded efforts to remove harmful chemical flame retardants from children's clothing and furniture, presented an overview of the six classes of chemicals of concern, highlight why a focus on health is a critical aspect of sustainability. 

Kelsey Grab, Kate Zirpolo Flynn, SEAS Green Team, and Karen Thomas, HLS Green Team.

We have many dedicated Green Teams who consistently inspire and engage their communities. From helping us save money by reducing waste and conserving resources to organizing local farm share pick-ups and participating in waste audits, thank you to all who help build a culture of sustainability across campus.

 -Heather Henriksen, Director, Office for Sustainability

Shout outs:

  • SEAS replaced the glazing on the western façade of the McKay Laboratory building. Before, the building had single-pane windows and the wood frame was warped, so roughly 75% of its windows did not fully close. The new glazing will result in a 1.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and functional windows.
  • The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Harvard University Dining Services, and the Office for Sustainability envisioned and launched the very successful year-long, university-wide Food Better initiative.

Jeanne Mahon, Director, Center for Wellness, University Health Services and Nancy Costikyan, Director, Office of Work/Life strike a pose.

The Office of Work/Life and the Center for Wellness have been instrumental in measuring health and well-being on campus—helping us advance this key pillar of the sustainability plan aimed at making Harvard an even healthier, great place to work. 

-Heather Henriksen, Director, Office for Sustainability

Shout outs:

  • As part of the University-wide initiative called Healthy Harvard, the Mindfulness at Work Initiative has introduced more than 500 central administration employees to mindfulness.  Ninety-six percent of those participants report that the course helped make them more effective employees. This program is now expanding to include employees beyond central administration. 

Dan McLaughlin, Graduate School of Education Green Team, Emily Poore, Kennedy School Green Team, and Ashley Alberts Graduate School of Design Green Team.

Shout outs:

  • The Kennedy School has undergone a holistic and thoughtful approach to adopting a school-specific sustainability plan for their campus that builds upon the University-wide plan and embeds faculty research into specific actions. Along the way they engaged a diverse group of students, staff, and faculty. 
  • The Graduate School of Education installed a new energy-efficient mechanical-engineering-plumbing system at Longfellow, saving $58,000. 
  • The Harvard Divinity School installed an 18-kilowatt solar PV system on the rooftop of the Center for the Study of World Religions building in 2014 that will provide enough electricity to power 25% of the building.

Katie Lapp and Jameela Pedicini, Harvard Management Company.

Council of Student Sustainability Leaders Lacey Klingensmith, Yana Gorbolskaya, Kanika Arora, and Saad Amer.

We couldn't do what we do without the help of our awesome and enthusiastic community, so THANK YOU!