Harvard's Office for Sustainability, previously located east of the College's campus, has moved to 14 Story St. in Harvard Square, bringing it closer to Harvard Yard and increasing its accessibility to students.
Heather A. Henriksen, the director of the sustainability office, said that although the previous building, located at 46 Blackstone St., was a preeminent example of sustainability on campus, its distance from the Square, nearly a 20 minute walk, hindered the office from fulfilling its mission of connecting with students.
“We really wanted a space for students who were interested in sustainability to come talk to us, where we could bring, in particular, students, but also other community members, together,” Henriksen said.
The Story Street building, which is currently being renovated to house the office, features designs focused on minimizing waste, promoting health and well-being, and fostering collaborative spaces. The office is outfitted with secondhand furniture, and an environmentally-friendly carpet, paint, and other equipment, according to Henriksen.
Brainstorming for the renovations, most of which took place over winter break, featured input from faculty and staff from the Green Building Services, the Innovation Lab, and the Sustainability Office itself.
“We probably moved in and fitted out this space much more cheaply than your average office does,” Henriksen said. “All it took was a bit more resourcefulness to source reused furniture.”
According to Henriksen, the new location reflects the office’s values by providing an example of sustainable living—addressing energy and greenhouse gas emissions and building healthy, productive spaces for people.
“It’s really important for us to make sure our space aligned with the intention of our mission, which is to be a living lab, to institutionalize the best practices in sustainable operations, and really amplify our impact through all of our partnerships with students, faculty, staff, and community members,” Henriksen said.
According to Colin B. Durrant, a spokesperson for the Office for Sustainability, the building will serve as a convening space for Harvard’s sustainability managers, student leaders, and staff.
“We want to create a space that could be another space for students working on sustainability projects,” Durrant said. “If you’re a student working with a group on a sustainability project, whether it be an entrepreneurial thing or whether it be a class project, this could be it.”
Although it is already open to students, the office anticipates “ramping up” student involvement in late March or early April after it completes the renovation of its building, according to Durrant.
“We hope to have some focus groups and figure out from students what they need and want, and how we can really make this space in our office in better service of [them],” Henriksen said.
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