Amidst the crimson celebration, pomp, and circumstance that mark commencement across campus, Harvard Law School made sure to add in a little green. Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of Green Team and HLS staff volunteers, the law school diverted 94.8% of all waste from the landfill on commencement day.
For the second year in a row, HLS event organizers worked together to ensure that all materials provided at commencement were compostable, including all food packaging and serviceware — the only exception being a plant-based water bottle that was recyclable.
For the first time ever, on-campus advocates such as the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic worked with dining services provider Restaurant Associates to further reduce unnecessary food waste by donating 900 leftover meals. Through a partnership with Food for Free, a local Cambridge nonprofit, the surplus food was redistributed to families in need in the Greater Boston area.
The success of the second zero-waste commencement at HLS would not have been possible without participation and collaboration across campus from sustainability champions such as the Dean of Students, Green Team-led staff volunteers, and Facilities, Custodial Services, and Restaurant Associates partners. These efforts help tackle Harvard’s goal to reduce per capita waste 50% by 2020, as outlined in the University-wide Sustainability Plan.