University Looks to Students in Effort To Drive Down Waste

As a result, Wraith said that rallying students behind a cause is not easy.

“If you are trying to change someone’s lifestyle…people are furious about that,” she said.

And even when large groups of students support an initiative, lack of communication between groups can sometimes add to the challenge.


“The University is really decentralized,” Olsen said.


With many groups working on specific issues tailored towards different schools, infrastructures, or environments, what works in one place does not always work in another.

“You need and want to respect each culture of the place,” sustainability communications Ddirector Colin B. Durrant said.

While the OFS oversees many green efforts beyond recycling, student groups often focus on disparate sustainability goals, such as Divest Harvard or the Beyond the Bottle Campaign.

For some, the decentralization on the student side is not necessarily a bad thing, though.

“I think [decentralization] is not a problem in any case because there are so many issues that we’re dealing [with],” said Akshay Sharma ’14, an Eco REP captain.

Wraith, on the other hand, called the current decentralization of environmental groups “a blessing and a curse.”

Wraith said that she has seen a “massive growth” of smaller student organizations centered on environmental issues in the past three years. Whereas the EAC was larger and more centralized in the past, Wraith said smaller groups “have not been working together as much.”

“If we could work harder to actually make a real strong coalition of environmental groups, overall things would be a little more cohesive,” she added.