Press Release

Harvard Students Visit West Virginia to Listen and Learn About Coalfield Transition

Mar. 29, 2023

Former Secretary of State and Harvard Fellow leads group discussions

Beckley, West Virginia - As the transition of energy continues around the world, closing coal mines and plants poses economic, and social challenges to the people employed there, their communities, and the economies of the regions in which they live. Helping coal regions develop high-quality, secure employment alternatives will be critical.
The Future of Coal Regions Study Group, co-sponsored by the Belfer Center's Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Wiener Center's Reimagining the Economy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is designed for Harvard students to learn and share knowledge about the challenges facing coal-producing regions, to identify opportunities for overcoming these challenges, and to foster connections and collaborations between students, faculty, and affiliates.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics Resident Fellow 2022 and former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant learned of this study group as students visited during her office hours. Secretary Tennant told the students they needed to visit some coalfield regions they were studying and invited them to West Virginia.

“Coal has played a critical role in West Virginia’s past. The future of the coal miners and their families is of the utmost importance. That is why visiting with them in their communities was essential and I’m glad the students are making this effort,” said Tennant.

The students arrive in West Virginia on Thursday and will tour the United Mine Workers of America Career Center in Beckley and listen to coal miners and their experiences. On Friday, they will visit the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Tamarack, and the Fruits of Labor Café. The students will also interact with community and economic development leaders along with state lawmakers.

The media are invited to all stops on the two-day tour.

For Media Inquiries:

Elizabeth Hanlon

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Harvard Students Visit West Virginia to Listen and Learn About Coalfield Transition.” Press Release, March 29, 2023.