Victoria Elliott, ‘16
Concentration: Environmental Science and Public Policy
Employer: Office of Sustainability
Official Title of Job: Sustainability Communications Fellow
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Most of us have heard this refrain in passing, as a subtle reminder of our environmental responsibility. Harvard’s Office of Sustainability, however, aims to turn these words into action through their “Green programs,” a set of initiatives aiming to problem-solve Harvard’s sustainability challenges, and other on-campus efforts. Senior Tori Elliott has spent the past two semesters helping them achieve this goal as the Office’s Sustainability Communications Fellow.
Last fall, Tori found the communications position advertised on the SEO database, which described the job as “an environmental storyteller.” As an Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrator and hopeful future screenwriter, the job felt perfect for Tori. “It was a good combination of the work that I had done and the work that I wanted to do,” Tori explains. "Over a few years, I realized that storytelling was my passion and screenwriting would be my dream job. So I wanted a creative job on my resume where I could exhibit those skills, and it just so happened that the office for sustainability was looking for a storyteller.”
Tori works six to ten hours each week covering stories on campus that involve sustainability initiatives, and describes the job as a mixture of social media and journalism. Once Tori creates written content about the projects, she produces videos and designs graphics to accompany the articles. For these projects, Tori has had the opportunity to interview faculty members, Harvard alumni, and students in environmental clubs, including the Harvard SEAS racing team.
Working at the Office of Sustainability has helped Tori cultivate journalistic skills she hadn’t previously explored. “I’ve never really looked into journalism here on campus. I was never really a part of the Crimson or any other news or reporting groups, so I’ve kind of learned what kind of questions to ask, [and] how to use my creative license to tell the story in the best or most interesting way possible,” she notes. Additionally, Tori also appreciates the autonomy she is given over which projects to cover. “I enjoy the freedom to be able to come up with interesting stories,” she says. “I’m given a list of things that would be interesting, but I'm also given the opportunity to pitch ideas that I think would be cool.”
Outside of her work with the Office of Sustainability, Tori serves as the Co-Director of Communications for Harvard College Faith and Action. Like with her position at the Office of Sustainability, Tori produces videos and social media content for HCFA. She is also working on a senior project on environmentally responsible consumer behavior.
Luckily, Tori has found it easy to balance her job at the Office of Sustainability with her clubs and academic assignments, explaining that being busy actually helps her manage her time more effectively. “I feel like my extracurriculars and jobs definitely fill in the space between my classes. I have a lot of free time between classes that I would just waste away doing nothing, [but] my work and extracurriculars helps me structure my time and provides me with a sense of urgency, so I can get things done more efficiently.”
Working as the Communications Fellow for the Office of Sustainability has been a rewarding and fulfilling job for Tori. She has been able to blend her science background with her passion for creativity and the arts, and views this position as a great stepping stone for post-graduate plans. “I'm definitely going to be doing something creative after graduation, [and] this job has given me the opportunity to build a creative portfolio.”