Salata Institute Funds Seven New Student-Led Climate and Sustainability Projects

Seven new collaborative student projects will be funded through the Salata Institute Student Organization Funding Program. The projects range from a new climate justice seminar series to a university-wide network for climate and health faculty and students.
Breaking Down Silos Between Climate and Sustainability Student Organizations

Since its launch in October 2022, the Salata Institute has hosted events and listening sessions to hear from students about how they hope to engage with the University on issues of climate and sustainability. Consistently, students share that connecting with each other is a top priority. Many student organization members across campus have found themselves working on similar climate issues but disconnected from or unaware of each other. To begin to respond to this need, the Salata Institute launched the Student Organization Funding Program, which supports student organizations across Harvard University that jointly undertake climate-focused initiatives. In February 2023, the Institute announced a first round of awards, funding six student-led projects organized by 13 student organizations. In August 2023, the Institute announced an additional round of awards, supporting two new collaborative student projects.

Today, the Salata Institute announces its most recent round of student organization funding program awards, which will support seven new student-led climate and sustainability projects organized through collaboration between 20 student organizations. Read more about the newly funded projects below.

Interested in funding a collaborative, student-led project? Learn more about the Salata Institute’s Student Organization Funding Project here!

A Cross-Campus Network for Climate Health Faculty and Students

Students from three organizations will collaborate to launch a new series of events that connect the Harvard climate and health community. “These events will serve to bring people together and foster community,” said Hugh Shirley, Student Lead of Students for Environmental Action in Medicine (SEAM) at Harvard Medical School. Each event in the series, beginning with a gathering at Harvard Medical School in December 2023, will focus on a core theme, including environmental justice and community engagement; education and curriculum development; and research and policy. This effort will be led by three student organizations: Students for Environmental Awareness in Medicine, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine Sustainability Committee, and the Griffin GSAS Science Policy Group.

Climate Justice Seminar Series

With Salata Institute funding, the Harvard Extension School Environmental Club and the Harvard Kennedy School Climate, Energy, and Environment Professional Interest Council will work together to launch a new climate justice seminar series. A series of three events will focus on topics including the just transition, climate justice at COP28, and climate justice in Boston. “This event series will create a space for conversations on climate justice and environmental policy amongst students from different schools,” said Isabel Varela Gutierrez, President of the Harvard Extension School Environmental Club.

A Symposium on the Environment and Human Rights

Students from the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Harvard Environmental Law Review, and Harvard International Law Journal will collaborate on a new two-day symposium on the environment and human rights. The event will convene members of the Harvard community from across the Law School and beyond, in addition to members of indigenous organizations. “The coming year will bear witness to a confluence of international litigation on the issue of the environment and human rights before every major international court,” said the Editors-in-Chief of the three journals in a joint statement. “Our hope is that this symposium will not only be an educational space during the panel discussions, but also serve as a space for scholars, practitioners, and students to connect, informally chat with one another, and build coalitions with each other for future work.”

Food 4 Thought: Inspiring Food Systems Transformation

The Food 4 Thought festival, launched in Spring 2023, aims to educate students about the environmental impact of their food choices and showcase the diversity and accessibility of climate-friendly, plant-based foods. At the festival, vendors showcase food and participants explore the benefits of plant-centric food systems. “It is imperative to raise student awareness about the environmental impacts of the food system and the importance of plant-forward diets for reducing food-related emissions,” said Navin Durbhakula, Co-President of Harvard Undergraduate Plant Based. A student organization funding program grant from the Salata Institute will support the 2024 Food 4 Thought Festival, hosted by Harvard Undergraduate Plant Based, Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice, Harvard Business School Food and Agriculture, Harvard Kennedy School Food and Agriculture, and the GSAS Food Literacy Project. Learn more about Food 4 Thought here.

The India Conference

The India Conference, a student-led event held annually at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, offers a platform for policymakers, business leaders, civil society members, and academic experts to discuss the future of India. This year, the conference will introduce new panels focusing on climate action, supported in part through the Salata Institute student organization funding program. “India is currently at a precarious precipice of protecting her future from the inevitable climate crises,” said Ananya Chhaochharia, Co-Chair of the India Conference. “We aim to educate our participants on the need to focus on climate policy and action.” Learn more about the conference here.

A Joint Mobility Ecosystem Tour

With funding from the Salata Institute, students from the Harvard Business School Sustainability Club and the Mobility Club of Harvard Kennedy School will collaborate on a series of facility tours and dinners aimed at helping students better understand the sustainable mobility space. Students will explore a range of sustainable mobility issues including the last-mile delivery problem in urban spaces, energy production for mobility, and the EV recycling question.


The PHOTOXSYNTHESIS project is an interdisciplinary student-led initiative that showcases the clean energy potential of agrivoltaics in public spaces, combining sustainability with community engagement in the creation of a hybrid garden. With support from the Salata Institute, students from Conflux and the Harvard Undergraduate Clean Energy Group will collaborate on the installation, slated to open in Spring 2024 at the Harvard Science and Engineering Complex. “The project will advance frontiers in agrivoltaics: solar panels have not been co-located with native plants on such a small scale,” said Peggy Yin, President of student group Conflux. “We aim to inspire Harvard and the broader Boston community to embrace innovative sustainability practices and further the potential for sustainable, interdisciplinary arts practice.”