19 May 2021

Celebrating Staff Sustainability Superstars—Green Team Newsletter


In the May edition of the Green Team newsletter, please join us in celebrating HBS staff who exemplify the spirit of sustainability in their professional and personal lives. Plus, see examples of (and figure out your own) sustainability action “sweet spot,” inspired by How to Save a Planet’s Climate Action Venn Diagram and expanded upon by @pattiegonia and friends. Reach out to HBS Sustainability to brainstorm ideas for integrating sustainability into your daily efforts, whether at home or at work.

Keith Pendergrass, Baker Library, Special Collections

Keith Pendergrass, digital archivist in Baker Library Special Collections, has been integrating sustainability into his professional work for several years. His recent efforts focus on changing digital archives and digital preservation practice to include environmental factors in decision-making. With colleagues Walker Sampson (University of Colorado Boulder), Tessa Walsh (Artefactual Systems), and Laura Alagna (Northwestern University), he wrote what has become the field’s foundational research article, “Toward Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation.” In it, they use John Ehrenfeld’s sustainability paradigm shift framework to argue for the inclusion of environmental sustainability as a third co-equal pillar of digital preservation practice alongside digital object management and successful use of digital materials. Through their research article, workshop protocol, and other outreach and education efforts, Keith, Walker, Tessa, and Laura are building and strengthening a global community of practice, and empowering the community with the intellectual tools they need to evaluate and implement environmental sustainability as digital preservation standard practice.

The archives and digital preservation communities have recognized Keith and colleagues for their work. First, the Society of American Archivists awarded them the 2020 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award for their research article. Then, as part of the Digital Preservation Awards 2020 (the premier awards competition in the digital preservation field, held biennially), an international panel of judges selected the team’s initiative, “Creating Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation,” as a Finalist for the Dutch Digital Heritage Network Award for Teaching and Communications, which recognizes excellence in outreach, training, and advocacy. The judges noted that the initiative takes on “a concern that must be at the forefront of all digital preservation practice,” “addresses the challenge broadly and helps us to understand the many factors at play - well beyond technology,” and is “perhaps the most important contribution to digital preservation in the last two years.”

Mohamad Khalil, Information Technology, Web Services

“About 4-5 years ago, I attended my first HBS Honey Tasting/Bee presentations by a Best Bees beekeeper in Batten and I was really impressed. I’ve always loved honey, and in turn had a fascination for bees as well. I’ve never thought of owning my own bee hive, not until that day anyways! Unfortunately, that desire fizzled away when I found out about colony collapse disorder (CCD) which is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen. A year later my team (Web Services) moved into the 3rd floor of Batten. No matter how busy or stressed I was, I always felt so much better when I sat behind the window located right in front of the two rooftop hives in Batten. Suddenly, I knew that it was no longer “if” I should get one but more of a “when” I should get one and “how” I would take care of them. I’ve been busy like a bee lately taking evening classes and attending weekend webinars and conferences to be a certified backyard beekeeper and start my own apiary. I’m excited to share that on 5/1 @ 8 am, “Mo’s Apiary” was officially opened to become a safe haven for our “May-Bees”! My nephew and I, drove at 3:30 am that Saturday morning to pick up our certified Russian bees from Greenfield, MA and on the way back we picked up our Italian bees from Billerica, MA as well! That three hour drive back with more than 20,000 bees in our possession felt like the longest drive of my life, but I was super excited and couldn’t wait to get my May-bees home!”

Lisa Sweezey, Operations

In March, Lisa Sweezey hit a major milestone at Harvard – 25 years of service. Lisa is a constant fixture at the Operations Service Counter and her knowledge of not only HBS, but also Harvard has made her a great resource for the school. Lisa is also an active and founding member of the HBS Green Team and has brought energy and ideas to campus sustainability and operations since 2005. This year, despite the pandemic, Lisa and her son, Nick Sweezey (pictured above), went above and beyond collecting donations for the annual Harvard Valentine’s Day Toiletries Drive benefiting the Cambridge Family Shelter at the YWCA.

Green Tip

Inspired by a recent podcast episode of How to Save a Planet, you too can draw your own Climate Action Venn Diagram. Answer these questions to identify your sustainability action sweet spot: 1) What are you good at? 2) What is the work that needs doing? 3) What brings you joy?

Follow this step-by-step guide if you need more help and see examples below from this edition’s featured HBS staff. Share yours on social media and tag @How2SaveAPlanet and @green.HBS

Lisa Sweezey’s Sustainability Action Sweet Spot: “Modeling a healthier lifestyle.”

Mo Khalil’s Sustainability Action Sweet Spot: “Solving everyday problems with greener solutions!”

Keith Pendergrass’ Sustainability Action Sweet Spot: “Transforming preservation into an environmentally sustainable endeavor.”

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