My name is Kalena Wang, and I’m a senior living in Leverett. I concentrate in Environmental Science and Engineering and am doing the Ed Secondary. Other than REP, this year I was involved in the First-Year Outdoor Program and peer counseling on campus. On this page, I’m not going to attempt to recount my entire time at college, and instead I'm going to try to give you a sense of how REP has influenced and shaped my college experience.
When I came to college, I was interested in being involved in the environmental scene, but I didn’t have much experience in high school to build off of. I came across the REP table during the activities fair and decided to apply for the first-year REP position on a whim. To my surprise, I was offered a position and by the end of September, I was brought through an orientation and hired as a student staff member at the Office for Sustainability. Thrown into work on campaigns almost immediately, I began to learn about sustainability on campus and beyond, how to do work within Harvard’s complicated hierarchies, and how to work on a team with people who had very different personalities. These are things that I continue to learn about as a member of REP to this day.
REP was the first extracurricular that I took on, and actually the only one I took on in my first semester at Harvard. However, while I continued to explore other extracurriculars and (often) taking too much on, REP has been a constant in my life at Harvard. I’ve been lucky to hold a number of different positions within the organization, giving me the opportunity to stretch my leadership in different directions and shape the organization in different ways.
When I became a student coordinator for the program my junior year, REP gained a new supervisor (an OFS staff member). As the organization experienced a high level of membership turnover in addition to turnover in supervision, the other student coordinators were excited at the opportunity to completely reimagine our organization and campaigns. Luckily, our supervisor trusted us and invested heavily in our development as leaderships, giving us so much agency and supporting and trusting us to steer the organization in the way we saw fit. This first year in REP leadership completely changed how I viewed and approached REP and peer education, both because of the way that leadership changed the program and of the agency I was given as a student to impact the organization. While each year and position I’ve held in REP has taught me a lot, this year stands out as one that particularly energized and sustained my passion as a peer educator and leader.
While I initially applied to REP on a whim, this organization has been one of the most defining aspects of my college experience. REP has given me a platform to pursue my passions, explore the sustainability and environmental fields, find community, grow as a leader and professional, and collaborate with other students hoping to do the same. As I near graduation and leave this organization I care about and love so much, I hope that I’ve left it (even slightly) better off than it was before and have empowered a few others to feel like their actions can make a difference.