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Since 2005, Harvard Law School is dedicated to building a healthier, more sustainable campus. Supporting the University’s holistic Sustainability Plan, the HLS students, faculty, and staff are working together to turn research into action by generating new ideas and solutions to real-world challenges on campus. There are well-established aggressive waste reduction and management programs, and an active community dedicated to reducing the campus’ environmental footprint. Learn more about the history of sustainability at HLS through this archive of news articles and case studies.

History of Sustainability Initiatives at HLS

  • Animal Law & Policy Program Year in Review 2019-2020

    Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program publishes its Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program Year in Review. It details all the impactful work accomplished during the 2019-2020 academic year around areas such as food technologies, tangible policy steps to shift food systems to more healthy, humane, and sustainable models, and plant-based diets.

  • New 1607 Massachusetts Avenue Building Receives LEED Gold

    Harvard Law School’s newest building opened in fall 2019 at 1607 Massachusetts Avenue. Inside, the LEED Gold-certified structure continues the School’s commitment to experiential learning, with space suited for clinics and collaborative learning as well as research programs.

  • Animal Law & Policy Program Releases First Formal Policy Publication

    The Animal Law & Policy Program released its first formal policy publication, which analyzed the potential consequences of H.R. 4879, the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act of 2018,” also known as the “King Amendment.”

  • HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Changes Its Name to HLS Animal Law Society

    In 2018, the HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund changed its name to HLS Animal Law Society: A Student Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

  • Pound Hall Renovation Receives LEED GOLD

    Harvard Law School’s 2016 renovation of Pound Hall’s second floor has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

  • HLS Reduces Waste to “Exemplary” Levels During Commencement

    A group of Green Team and HLS staff volunteers diverted 94.8% of all waste from the landfill on Commencement Day 2016 at HLS.

  • HLS Partners with Food For Free

    Harvard Law School launched its first formal food donation program in 2016, in partnership with Food For Free, a local nonprofit that recovers wasted food from companies across Cambridge and Boston to redistribute to the area’s hungry.

  • WCC Evolves from Sustainable to High-Performing Energy Efficient Facility

    New cost-effective measures and energy-efficient installations in 2015 allowed WCC to evolve and for HLS to follow Harvard’s aggressive sustainability goals.

  • HLS Establishes the Animal Law & Policy Program

    In the fall of 2014, Bradley L. Goldberg, founder and president of the Animal Welfare Trust, made a generous gift to found the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School.

  • Gannett House Receives LEED-CI Gold

    The oldest building on Harvard Law School’s campus, Gannett House, underwent a significant transformation in 2013. Construction crews gutted and redesigned the building’s interior to accommodate an elevator, central air and heating systems, a reconfigured electrical system, and redesigned office space on the first and second floors.

  • Hauser Basement Renovation Receives LEED-CI Platinum

    The Hauser Basement Renovation Project earned the LEED Platinum for Commercial Interiors in 2012.

  • WCC Opens Making It the Fourth LEED Certified Building on HLS Campus

    Certified LEED Gold building, the WCC Student Center opened in 2012 and is added to the three previous LEED-certified buildings on the HLS campus.

  • HLS Achieves 95% Recycling/Compost Rate at Commencement Luncheon

    During the HLS 2011 Commencement Luncheon, with the participation of guests and the efforts of Green Team members, the HLS FMO custodial team, and undergraduate Dorm Crew workers, HLS was able to compost or recycle 95% of the waste.

  • Compost Bins Available in Every HLS Building

    A partnership between the HLS Green Team, Green Living Program, and FMO custodians in 2011 made compost drop-off points available in every dorm, academic, and administrative building on the HLS campus.

  • Harvard Celebrates 50 LEED-Certified Projects

    In 2011, Harvard became one of the first higher education institutions to have 50 completed LEED projects. One of the renovations was at Harvard Law School’s Griswold Hall, which in 2009 was awarded the highest rating of LEED-CI Platinum.

  • WCC Receives LEED Gold

    Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing building (WCC) received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – New Construction (LEED-NC) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2011.

  • HLS Launches New Read & Ride BikeShare Program

    The HLS Green Living Program, HLS Sustainability, and Harvard Law School Library teamed up to launch Read & Ride BikeShare in 2010, a new program that provides free short- and long-term bike loans to all HLS community members.

  • HLS Installs New Bike Shelters Near Pound Hall

    On Earth Day 2010, a set of new bicycle shelters were added at the Lewis Lot, south of Pound Hall.

  • HLS Establishes the Food Law and Policy Clinic

    The Food Law and Policy Clinic of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation was established in 2010 to link Harvard Law students with opportunities to work with clients and communities on various food policy issues.

  • North Hall Renovation Receives LEED Gold

    The North Hall renovation project focused on prominently on sustainability in both design and construction. Emphasis was placed on the reuse of existing elements, as well as the application of sustainable furniture, materials, and energy-efficient lighting, which lead to LEED Gold in 2010.

  • HLS Green Team Forms

    HLS staff members created the HLS Green Team in 2009 as a forum for members of the HLS community interested in taking action to improve campus sustainability.

  • HLS Adopts the University Temperature Policy

    HLS adopted the University Temperature Policy in 2009 and was instrumental in leading to University commitment campus-wide.

  • Griswold Hall Project Receives LEED-CI Platinum

    In 2008, the HLS Griswold 2-South Suite and Main Entry project was the first LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Platinum project in New England, first at any University, and only the 19th in the world.

  • HLS Adopts Campus-Wide Composting

    In 2008, HLS was the first of all the schools at Harvard to implement campus-wide composting.

  • Announcement of New WCC Building with Small Carbon Footprint

    Gold LEED certification standards were received in 2008 for environmentally responsible construction goals stated for the new Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing Complex.

  • Environmental Law and Policy Clinic Launches at HLS

    The Environmental Law and Policy Clinic was launched by Wendy Jacobs in 2007 to create a broad array of opportunities for students to work on complex environmental law projects and cases.

  • HLS Establishes Environmental Energy and Law Program

    The Environmental Energy and Law program was established in 2006 at HLS to provide students with a broad and growing curriculum; a new law and policy clinic; a mentoring program for emerging environmental law scholars; and discussion forums for national and international policy-makers, advocates, scholars, practitioners, and investors.

  • HLS Establishes the Green Living Program

    The Green Living Program was established at HLS in 2005 as a peer-to-peer education initiative that promotes sustainable living in HLS residence halls and elsewhere on campus to help students reduce their environmental impacts.

  • HLS Students Found the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

    Students founded HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund or HLS SALDF in 1995 as a chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

  • Harvard Environmental Law Review Begins Publishing

    The Harvard Environmental Law Review began publishing semi-annually by Harvard Law School students in 1976.

  • Harvard Environmental Law Society Is Founded

    The Harvard Environmental Law Society was founded in 1970 by three Harvard Law students who perceived a pressing need for the Law School, and the law in general, to respond more effectively to the nation’s environmental problems.