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Sustainability Spotlight: Ryan Silber, MC/MPA ’24

Sustainability Spotlight

Ryan Silber will graduate in May 2024 from the Harvard Kennedy School with his Mid-Career Master’s in Public Administration (MC/MPA). During his time at Harvard, Ryan participated in campus sustainability initiatives and programs, including the Office for Sustainability’s Council for Student Sustainability Leaders (CSSL). Learn more about Ryan’s experience at Harvard.

What is your best memory working in sustainability at Harvard?

“My best memory is tied between the following:

  1. As Events Officer for the Climate, Energy, and Environment Professional Interest Council at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), I hosted Watatakalu, Chief of the Yawalapiti, famed defender of indigenous and natural rights, to speak with students. It was an incredible experience hosting a foreign dignitary and engaging with a front-line practitioner.
  2. Leading a panel titled “Climate Justice at the Local Level” with three renowned speakers in the local climate action, adaptation, and rights space.”

What other sustainability-related experiences did you have on campus or beyond during your time at Harvard?

  1. “Events Officer for the Climate, Energy, and Environment Professional Interest Council at HKS. I hosted 15 events, including one in coordination with the sustainability group at the Extension School.
  2. The following courses:
    • Cities, Structures, and Climate Shocks
    • Financing the Clean Energy Transition
    • Land Policy and Planning for Equitable and Fiscally Healthy Communities
    • Management, Finance, and Regulation of Public Infrastructure in Developing Countries
  3. I maintained a close relationship with HKS Professor Rand Wentworth, the Louis and Gabrielle Bacon Senior Fellow in Environmental Leadership and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, in collaborating on events and discussing the future of the environmental movement.”

What are your plans moving forward?

“I came to Harvard seeking broadened perspectives on advancing climate resilient and sustainable cities beyond what I saw in my seven years in the public sector. In particular, I focused on how policy can catalyze private sector investment towards these objectives while supporting opportunity and inclusivity of the general population. While some topics may have been geared towards “how to make money on climate change,” I learned common language and the levers the public sector could pull to collaborate with the private sector and work towards mutual objectives.”

What advice would you give to incoming students related to sustainability and climate (e.g., classes to take, groups to join, etc.)?

“Get involved. If you do not see an opportunity that speaks to you, keep seeking or create it yourself. Harvard is abundant in resources and students with an intellectual curiosity, many who likely have overlapping interests. Take advantage of your time here to explore new topics or dive deep into your area of interest.”