Environmental Justice

February 1, 2019

Swirly colors foregrounding woman with fist in the air and environmental justice sign.

The Harvard College Women’s Center values environmental sustainability in our programming and office work/space/management. We acknowledge that neglect and destruction of the natural environment disproportionately affects women and people of color in low-income communities globally. Accordingly, our mission to promote gender equity by raising awareness of women’s and gender issues cannot be fulfilled without consideration of the environmental context within which these issues take place.

We plan to fulfill our obligation by reducing our environmental impact on the planet as individuals and as a community. We also intend to spread this shared commitment among other units within the College. Through our activism we will hold those institutions which have disproportionately fueled climate change accountable for responding to global climate needs. We will also advocate for vulnerable populations to have equitable protection from environmental and health hazards, as well as equal access to the decision-making processes to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Harvard Green Office Logo of a shield with pictures of things from nature like trees insideOur Commitment

In alignment with the Harvard University Sustainability Plan, the students and staff of the Harvard College Women Center commit to the following actions within four of the five core topics for a more sustainable future:




Health and Wellbeing

Personal well-being

  • Host or co-sponsor at least one event a year in which the focus will be personal well-being

  • Promote weekly community walks and runs through Harvard on the Move.


  • Provide default 50% plant-based meals and take in consideration healthier food options whenever food is made available.

  • Reduce HCWC funds used for red meat or drinks that contain only sugar.

Emissions and Energy

Energy Reduction

  • Ensure the last staff member will turn off all lights in the space before leaving, including between shifts (5:30-6 pm) and switching off outlets connected to appliances at the end of the day.

  • Follow sustainability office guidelines regarding shutting office down over holidays.

Campus Operations


We will reduce what we consume and minimize the impact of purchasing for the office and events in the following ways:

  • Eliminate purchase of all disposable plastics within the next 2 years

  • Purchased paper products (copier paper, envelopes, etc.) with the highest recycled content possible.

  • Order from vendors that support sustainability where possible.

Culture and Learning

Communicate the “One Harvard” sustainability story to educate, engage, and motivate the Harvard community.

  • Ensure our approach to sustainability is centered on a commitment to environmental justice and that our work brings to the forefront the voices and issues that are underrepresented in current and historic discussions on climate change.

  • Serve as a model within the Dean of Students Office at Harvard College by creating space, both physically and online regarding our commitment to sustainability.

Maintain and continuously improve programs and resources that drive sustainability action among students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

  • Host or co-sponsor at least one event a year in which the topic will intersect with environmental justice issues focusing on underrepresented voices and issues.

  • Encourage student organizations that focus on environmental justice to apply for our ART grant funds and participate in Women’s Week.

Participate in Green Office Program – maintain Leaf 4 Certification.

  • We will follow the Harvard Sustainable Meeting and Event Guide to reduce the amount of waste and carbon footprint of food consumed and products purchased.

  • All sponsored or co-sponsored event organizers will receive an electronic copy of the Harvard Sustainable Meeting and Event Guide.

  • Encourage groups that receive ART Grants, Women’s Week, and WoCC funding for events to reduce purchases that include red meat and purchase recycled and/or compostable cutlery, plates, etc.

  • Increase the amount we compost to include all plates, napkins and compostable cutlery, in addition to updating our signage about composting in our space.