Green Awards Honor Eco-Friendly Initiatives on Campus

Rena Mei

Professor William Clark receives the Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award at the Green Carpet Awards ceremony held at Sander’s Theatre yesterday.

The Harvard Office for Sustainability hosted the second annual Green Carpet Awards yesterday afternoon, honoring green initiatives launched by University students, faculty, and staff.

Held in Sanders Theatre with an actual green carpet laid across the stage, the event celebrated campus-wide environmental efforts and recognized the successful work of Harvard-affiliated students, faculty, and staff.

Sixty-one awards were given to a variety of projects in categories ranging from renewable energy to water and waste.

Winners were selected from 12 different Harvard schools and departments as well as Harvard Campus Services and the Central Administration.

“We’ve made significant progress that would not have been possible without deeply committed individuals in our schools and departments,” said University Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp in her opening remarks.

One winning project was a steam and solar system in Canaday Hall that is expected to heat 60 percent of Harvard Yard.

Another initiative enabled Harvard undergraduate volunteers teach environmental issues to students in local elementary and middle schools.

Award presenters included a variety of distinguished faculty members and staff who came to express their support for environmental projects.

The event falls in the context of the Office of Sustainability’s celebration of “Earth Month” and Harvard’s increased focus on environmental issues.

Robert S. Kaplan, a professor at the Harvard Business School and an award presenter, praised the University’s success in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent since 2006, as part of its initiative “Green is the new Crimson.”

Presenting the Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award, the highest honor given at this ceremony, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith focused on work still to be done, and Harvard’s responsibility going forward.

“We can never underestimate the power of individuals,” Smith said. “Each of us has a role in confronting the challenges of our generation.”

Jackson S. Salovaara ’11, an individual award recipient and co-chair of the Environmental Action Committee, acknowledged the support of the administration and his peers.

“We have a bunch of really smart students who are committed to the environment, and it is very special to work with them,” Salovaara said.

Additional highlights of the afternoon included a performance by the Harvard Opportunes a cappella group and a student-produced music video spoofing Kanye West’s song, “All Of The Lights.”

Of the hundreds who attended the event, several expressed their enthusiasm for the environmental cause by wearing green costumes and apparel. Others were surprised and inspired by what they saw.

“It’s great for the university to recognize and live it’s values,” said Mark W. Robertson, who is a development and alumni communications manager at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“The range and scope of the work that was presented was truly impressive,” he added.

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