IN COLLABORATION WITH Harvard Chan C-CHANGE
Turning Knowledge Into Climate Action
Dates: July 22 – July 29, 2023
Location: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Grades: 9–12 (motivated rising 9th graders will also be considered)
Dive into issues of climate change, equity, and public health alongside peers, educators, and leading professionals from the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE). Choose an Action Focus based on your interests and explore how climate change is intertwined with public health, medicine, social justice, equity, economics, and policy. Gain perspective from scientists, health practitioners, policymakers, youth activists, climate creatives, and clean energy innovators at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis. Take what you have learned and transform your ideas into a Community Action Plan, and return home ready to address these issues in your own community.
This program was developed thanks to the support of Gina McCarthy, the former National Climate Adviser in the Biden-Harris Administration and former Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE.
Learn from experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as policymakers, academics, and scientists working in fields related to climate change and public health. Participate in workshops, attend lectures, and take advantage of all Boston has to offer.learn more
Gain inspiration from the experiences and perspectives of the Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE, Harvard professors, former and current policymakers, journalists, advocates, and clean energy innovators.learn more
Community Action Plan
Develop a Community Action Plan based on your interests and round out the program with a presentation to your peers, sharing your vision for practical action to make lasting change when you return home.learn more
“Before participating in the program, I did not know any peers who were deeply committed to effective environmental advocacy. Experiencing this program with so many like-minded teens gave me hope for our generation’s leadership in combating climate change.”
— Yating “Tina” T., 2022 Summit Alum
The Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Climate, Equity, and Health brings together motivated young people from different backgrounds around the world to learn from and be inspired by policymakers, public health experts, climate advocates, scientists, energy innovators, healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, and each other.
Each student chooses an Action Focus based on their interests—Climate Communications, Press, & Media; Climate Science; Entrepreneurship, Industry, & Technology; Environmental Justice; Global Health, Epidemiology, & Infectious Disease; Medicine & Healthcare; or Policy & Advocacy. This Action Focus acts as the lens through which students view the challenges of climate change and public health.
Daily workshops, meetings, and guest speaker talks take place at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health academic buildings. Offsite and field-based learning activities balance classroom and workshop time around the cities of Boston and Cambridge.
Residence & Accommodations
Students and residential instructors reside in a modern residence hall at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a short walk from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Rooms are doubles, triples, and quads, and assigned by age; genders are separated by floor; and staff reside on the same floors as students. Residence halls have 24-hour front desk security, high-speed wifi, air conditioning, and on-site laundry facilities.
Activities & Excursions
In addition to thematic program activities, students have the opportunity to explore all the culture, history, and cuisine that Boston, Cambridge, and Harvard have to offer, from the Boston Common and the North End to the Harvard science museums and Harvard Yard. Stroll the streets of Harvard Square, kayak the Charles River, or play frisbee on the Harvard Medical School quad.
Become part of a community of high school students and instructors with diverse interests and a shared passion for implementing climate solutions. Students hail from across the U.S. and around the world, creating a vibrant and dynamic community of motivated, driven individuals, each bringing a unique perspective and life experience.
Guest lecturers and workshop leaders provide important context for our climate and health challenges, as well as inspiration for ways forward. In addition, residential program instructors lead smaller Action Focus teams in discussions, hands-on activities, and field trips, while serving as mentors and helping students shape their Community Action Plans.
Each day features a combination of Action Focus seminars, hands-on activities, excursions, and guest speaker events with the entire program community. After breakfast, depending on the day, Action Focus learning may start in classrooms and meeting spaces on campus, or students and instructors may travel to a nearby site for field-based learning before meeting with a guest speaker. After lunch, Action Focus seminars continue. Afternoons and evenings offer opportunities to explore Boston, participate in group activities, or work on independent projects. After dinner, students and instructors from all Action Focus groups convene for evening activities. On the final two days of the program, students focus on their Community Action Plan, which they present on the final day.
Guest lecturers bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights. Each speaker structures their lecture to relate to the various Action Focuses and their area of expertise. For example, an expert in air quality and pulmonary disease might discuss how air quality is directly linked to climate change and how communities of color in urban areas are the most affected by pollution and a lack of access to healthcare. They might expand on how health issues stemming from poor environmental health can be addressed in a local community, on a global scale, or through policy changes that will have a direct impact on the future spread of infectious disease.View full speaker bios
Michelle A. Williams, MS, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthLearn more »
Gaurab Basu MD, MPH
Primary Care Physician and Co-Director of the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy at Cambridge Health Alliance; Instructor, Harvard Medical SchoolLearn more »
Aaron Bernstein MD, MPH
Interim Director, Harvard Chan C-CHANGE; Pediatric Hospitalist, Boston Children’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical SchoolLearn more »
Marcia Castro MA, PhD
Andelot Professor of Demography Global Health and Population; Chair, Department of Global Health and Population Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthLearn more »
Francesca Dominici, PhD
Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-Director of the Data Science InitiativeLearn more »
Howard Frumkin MD, DrPH, MPH
Former Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the CDC; Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of WashingtonLearn more »
Howard Koh MD, MPH
Former Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy SchoolLearn more »
Natalia Linos MSc, ScD
Executive Director, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard UniversityLearn more »
Founder, Co-Executive Director, & Art Director, Zero HourLearn more »
Director, Climate NexusLearn more »
Renee N. Salas MD, MPH, MS
Yerby Fellow, Harvard Chan C-CHANGE; Affiliated Faculty, Harvard Global Health Institute; Emergency Medical Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolLearn more »
Governor Peter Shumlin
81st Governor of Vermont; Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-Director, Putney Student TravelLearn more »
Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides
Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of MassachusettsLearn more »
The Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Climate is designed to educate, empower, and prepare students to take leadership roles in addressing the climate crisis.
Upon presentation of their Community Action Plans, students receive a certificate of program completion, endorsed by Harvard Chan C-CHANGE.
Alumni in the News
From lobbying local selectboards to developing sustainable agriculture plans, Youth Summit alumni come away from the program with actionable plans that can be implemented in their home communities. Here are just a few of our Summit alumni in the news.
Isleboro 11th grader proposes sustainable development goals for town
An article about Julian Kelly, a 2021 summit alum
Full and partial need-based scholarships are available for the 2023 Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Climate, Equity, & Health. The scholarships provide opportunities for underrepresented students to become the next generation of climate and public health leaders.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
To be considered for a scholarship, candidates must meet eligibility criteria and complete an application. For more information and to access application materials, please visit the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Scholarship Opportunities page.