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Report Card 2009

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Northwestern University
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Northwestern University

School details:

Endowment: $7,249 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Enrollment: 17,747

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research and survey responses from schools. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methodology  section.

Overall grade  
C +
A campus sustainability policy outlines sustainability priorities for the university. An active, broad-based sustainability working group is comprised of students, campus groups, staff, and contracted vendors. All university equipment purchases must be Energy Star-certified.
The university has engaged a third-party engineering firm to conduct investment grade energy audits in existing facilities. Twenty percent of the campus's total electricity use is offset by wind-generated renewable energy credits.
Dining services uses biodegradable plastic bags in retail stores and as of fall 2008, students may purchase reusable bags at cost. Local produce and baked goods, hormone-free milk, and organic products are available in the dining halls.
The university has committed to achieve LEED certification for all new buildings and major renovations and will seek Silver- or Gold-level ratings when possible. The Wieboldt School of Continuing Studies was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2007.
The university works with student groups to run competitions between residence halls to promote energy and water conservation. Northwestern's campus has a green dorm. Sustainability education is now incorporated into resident education programs.
A student transportation intern was hired to encourage ridesharing, car-sharing, vanpools, biking, walking, and public transit. Northwestern is exploring the viability of running campus shuttles on waste kitchen oil.
The university makes a list of endowment holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. A list of securities in which the endowment will not invest are available on the university's website and all other information is available at the investment office.
The university aims to optimize investment return, and is currently invested in renewable energy funds and similar vehicles. The main endowment pool considers environmental and sustainability factors when making investment decisions.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting. Administrators, trustees, and students are free to provide input on all social responsibility issues in proxy voting, and the university communicates its decisions to investment managers for execution.
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