Salata Institute Funds New Student Organization Collaborations in Sustainable Transit, Environmental Justice

The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability has awarded two new collaborative student projects through the Student Organization Funding Program. This Fall, one awarded group will conduct a campus-wide transit survey to help improve sustainable transportation options on campus and one awarded group will organize a conference exploring the intersection of law, public health, and environmental justice.

The Student Organization Funding Program supports student organizations across Harvard University that jointly undertake climate-focused initiatives. The program encourages student organizations to collaborate on initiatives that enrich student learning and contribute to the University’s efforts to meet the global climate challenge. Today, the Salata Institute announced a new round of awards for student organization collaborations in the fields of sustainable transportation and environmental justice.

Interested in funding? Applications for Fall 2023 Student Organization Funding Program awards are now open – learn more and apply here!

Sustainable Campus Transportation

With funding from the Salata Institute, the Mobility Policy Group (Harvard Kennedy School), the Harvard Undergraduate Urban Sustainability Lab (Harvard College), and GSD Mobility (Graduate School of Design) will work together to conduct a campus-wide survey of Harvard students’ transportation habits. The participating student groups hope to learn how students prefer to get to, from, and around campus. The survey will ask about students’ preferred modes of transportation, frequency of use, and usage of specific university programs like discounted MBTA passes and Bluebikes memberships.

“Through this initiative, administrators will gain access to data on student transportation at the cross-Harvard level,” said Lucas Peilert, Chair of the Mobility Policy Group at Harvard Kennedy School. “We hope the data will serve as the foundation for new sustainable transportation initiatives at the university level.” Students will use information collected from the surveys to write a report and formulate a set of proposals that estimate the costs and benefits of various transportation changes. 

“Not only will this be a great learning opportunity for us, but we also hope to increase awareness and engagement among students regarding transportation issues on campus,” said Clyve Lawrence, Co-Chair of the Harvard University Urban Sustainability Lab at Harvard College.

Ultimately, the students hope that their work will help to improve Harvard University campus transportation options and support the University’s wider climate goals.

Environmental Justice – At the Intersection of Law, Policy, Health

With funding from the Salata Institute, the Environmental Justice Student Organization (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and the Environmental Law Society (Harvard Law School) will co-host a half-day conference focused on environmental justice during the Spring semester.

The two groups are already working together to explore themes for the conference and plan to choose an environmental justice issue specific to the greater Boston area or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “We aim to connect Harvard students to injustices that are occurring right in their own community,” said Jinia Sarkar, Co-President of the Environmental Justice Student Organization on behalf of the group.

The interdisciplinary conference will invite participants to explore how local laws and policies impact public health outcomes, often disproportionately burdening environmental justice communities. The two groups plan for the half-day conference to include panel events, networking opportunities, and interactive sessions for individuals from different graduate schools and local community organizations to engage with each other.

“Our hope is for this event to not only provide much-needed professional development opportunities in environmental justice-related fields but also to help expand the environmental justice framework at Harvard and connect students with local communities,” said Kipper Berven, Co-President of the Environmental Law Society at Harvard Law School.

Apply Now

Applications for the Student Organization Funding Program are currently open. Student organizations who wish to collaborate on a climate- or sustainability-related initiative in the upcoming academic year can learn more and apply here!