What are the overarching goals of Harvard Forward?
We want to establish Harvard as a moral and academic leader in the context of the climate crisis and give a voice to students and recent alumni within Harvard’s governance structures.
How does Harvard Forward plan to achieve these goals?
We will work to elect
5 recent alumni - John Beatty, Lisa Bi Huang, Margaret Purce, Thea Sebastian, and Jayson Toweh - to Harvard’s Board of Overseers in 2020 on a
platform of climate action, responsible investing, and inclusive governance.
Why did Harvard Forward choose this tactic?
We believe that running a traditional organizing campaign will simultaneously boost turnout for the election and demonstrate to Harvard that the majority of the alumni body supports our platform. This is about more than any individual candidate; this is about building a movement and creating a mandate for change.
Additionally, history gives hope for petition candidates’ influence on Harvard’s decision-making. In the late 1980s, a group called Harvard & Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid (HRAAA) recruited and ran petition candidates to the Board of Overseers on a South African Divestment platform. They elected a handful of Overseers across several years, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu. After years of sustained pressure, the University decided to shift its investment guidelines.
How did Harvard Forward get started?
You can read our origin story and meet the team
How can I support Harvard Forward?
Other Harvard Efforts
Are Harvard Forward and Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard the same?
We are not
Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, but we are in frequent communication with them! Harvard Forward and Divest Harvard are part of a broad coalition of alumni and student groups that have the same goals: to move Harvard forward into a position of leadership in the fight against climate change and to grant a greater voice to students and young alumni. Divest Harvard does great work through on the ground activism, while we’re approaching the problem through Harvard’s system of elections. Both approaches are necessary, and we encourage alumni to sign the
FFDH petition and get involved with their work.
Does Harvard Forward work with the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign?
HPDC provided input and feedback for our responsible investment platform. You can find our statement of support for the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign on our
What other climate-focused efforts exist at Harvard?
There are many, ranging from on-campus initiatives to alumni Shared Interest Groups. You can read about some of them on the
Harvard Climate Wiki.
How is Harvard Forward funded?
Harvard Forward was created by young alumni who are passionate about making Harvard the leader that it should be. We believe that many alumni share this goal and want to contribute to the cause, so after creating HF we began accepting grassroots donations to help accomplish our mission. Donations are made to our parent non-profit, The Boarding School 501(c)3.
To date, we’ve received nearly 350 individual donations. The average donation is under $200, and the most popular donation amounts are $20.20 and $16.36.
What is The Boarding School?
The Boarding School is Harvard Forward’s parent non-profit. The same alumni that started HF founded TBS in partnership with two Young Alumni Trustees on the Princeton Board. Beyond Harvard Forward, TBS is developing educational materials and offerings for current and prospective young trustees who serve on boards of universities, foundations, and other companies and organizations. Harvard Forward is the first TBS project, but, over the coming years, TBS hopes to continue supporting similar efforts that help young people shape the institutions that impact their lives.
What does Harvard Forward use donations for?
Harvard Forward uses donations to cover our campaign operations costs. These have included:
Shipping physical petition forms around the world, especially before and after Global Networking Night (an expense that was necessary as the online form was nearly impossible to use);
Limited campaign travel (flights/trains/hotels/food costs) for candidates and organizers;
Weekly payments for our field director;
Our website, email server, Mailchimp, and database;
Printing and mailing of business cards and other campaign materials; and
Volunteer campaign meet-ups around the country and world.