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Report Card 2010

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Northeastern University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Northeastern University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $662 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 19,541

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


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

Overall grade  
B +
Northeastern's Executive Sustainability Committee has developed several sustainability policies, including a green IT policy. The committee addresses a multitude of topics, including green building, bicycle transport, food, and a non-smoking policy. Two full-time staff members work within the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management to coordinate campus greening. Northeastern purchases strictly Energy Star appliances, Green Seal cleaning products, and EPEAT-certified technology.
The university reduced its carbon emissions per square foot by nearly 20 percent between 2005 and 2008. Along with a direct digital control and electronic metering system, Northeastern has installed high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. Systems also feature variable speed drives, and over 8,300 lighting fixtures have been upgraded to T-5 and high-performance T-8 ballasts.
The university's food provider allocates approximately 10 percent of its budget to local foods, including produce, bread, and dairy. Dining halls serve 100 percent cage-free eggs and hormone-free meat, as well as fair trade coffee and bananas. A composting program collected a combined 594 tons of pre- and postconsumer food waste during the 2008-2009 academic year. A discount is given on beverages purchased with a reusable cup.
The university's new mixed-use International Village is expected to achieve LEED-Gold certification. Motion sensor lighting, LED exit signs, low-flow showerheads, and low-flow or dual-flush toilets have been installed throughout campus.
The student group Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT), in conjunction with the student government, has organized a farmers market to be held on campus and is working to establish an optional renewable energy student fee. The facilities division and HEAT are cooperatively producing a sustainable living guide that will be distributed to freshmen during move-in. Residence halls reduced their energy consumption by 13.4 percent on average through the Do It in the Dark competition.
Alternative-fuel vehicles comprise nearly 40 percent of the university fleet. Northeastern works with a car-sharing company for student and faculty use. Carpools are facilitated through ride-matching services, and participants receive preferential parking spots. Faculty and staff can take advantage of pretax monthly transit prices, and students are eligible for semester transit pass discounts along with discounts on regional trains.
The university makes neither a list of endowment holdings nor its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds and on-campus energy and water efficiency projects. Investment managers consider environmental sustainability among many other factors when choosing investments. Donors can also direct gifts to sustainable investment areas.
The university does not have the ability to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds.
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