Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

The Story of Us

The Resource Efficiency Program, known as REP for short, was an organization founded in 2002 by Harvard undergrads in EAC hoping to make an impact on a more institutional level. These students approached several groups, including FAS Office of Physical Resources (OPRP), Harvard Green Campus Initiative (HGCI, now the Office for Sustainability), and University Operations Services (UOS), for funding. In 2008, the Office for Sustainability (OFS) was formalized by President Faust to enhance the university’s engagement in sustainability in its campus operations.

Since REP now exists under OFS, it’s mission is very much related to that of OFS. The mission of OFS is “to advance solutions to evolving global health and environmental challenges that benefit the common good by translating research into practice and empowering people to be stewards for the future” (Green Harvard). REP’s goal is to educate the student body about sustainability on Harvard’s campus and beyond, and our method for doing so is through empowering other students to make changes in their daily actions and attitudes. We hope to not only to highlight how individual people are connected to environmental issues, but also to guide others to feel like they have the agency to make a difference in helping combat environmental issues themselves. While the students involved in REP tend to its mission as one focused on educating the student body, the OFS staff members involved in REP also see it as a means for student leadership development. With these two goals in mind, the REP leadership team strives to think critically about how REPs can effectively reach and educate the student, as well as how members of REP can grow as leaders and professionals. 

Since REP’s mission is to inform others how to live sustainability, REP uses Harvard's residential structure for our organization and engagement. To maximize visibility, REP hires one student per upperclassman House and 3-4 first-year students. These REP members are known as REPs (a condensed version of REP representatives). House REPs and FREPs (first-year REPs) are managed by student coordinators, who with the OFS coordinator, make up the leadership team. Each student coordinator manages a smaller team (also called a “neighborhood”), three coordinators managing House REPs and one coordinator managing the FREPs. The REP coordinator is a full-time OFS staff member who manages REP, but also thinks more broadly about undergraduate engagement for Harvard FAS.

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