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Report Card 2008

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Northwestern University
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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Northwestern University

School details:

Endowment: $6,500 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Evanston, Illinois


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
C +
Northwestern University has a comprehensive sustainability policy and has made significant strides towards a sustainable future. Efforts include renewable energy purchases, a LEED building policy, an Energy Star program, and a sustainability website. The university employs a manager of recycling.
The university is one of the top ten largest purchasers of renewable energy credits in higher education, supplying 20 percent of its energy needs with wind power. Facilities management has initiated a third-party Energy Cost Savings Measures (ECSM) audit of its facilities on the Evanston and Chicago campuses that will identify areas for improved energy efficiency. Northwestern also retained the services of a professional illumination consultant to evaluate the potential for de-lamping on campus and switching older, inefficient bulbs to more efficient models.
Dining services works with five local producers and sources about 10 percent of farm produce locally. Many organic products from national companies, are available on campus. Dining services has a sustainability committee and is working to create its own green label, the nuGreen brand, to support sustainability efforts. Cooking oil from dining operations is recycled by a local company for animal feed, and also donated to a campus group for biodiesel research. Dining services works with Campus Kitchens to donate unused portions of food to those in need in the Evanston area.
The university strives to make all new buildings LEED Silver-certified, a goal that was achieved on the first building constructed under the new policy, and major renovations will also follow LEED guidelines whenever possible. Both new and renovated buildings will achieve, at a minimum, 20 percent improved energy efficiency over the building code when feasible.
The university currently has eighteen dual-fuel E85 ethanol vehicles, five Prius hybrids for the student SafeRide service, and four natural gas vehicles used by the facilities management department. Northwestern offers the college community free rides on seven separate bus routes, and has a pretax transit program to encourage use of public transportation.
The university does not make available information on endowment holdings or shareholder voting records.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is invested in, and exploring further investment in, renewable energy funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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