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Report Card 2010

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Northwestern University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Northwestern University

School details:

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Endowment: $5,404 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Enrollment: 16,130

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 -
Northwestern's Commitment to Environmental Sustainability addresses renewable energy, temperature set points, LEED certification, water conservation, and recycling. The Sustainability Working Group hosts numerous workshops and events pertaining to sustainability and developed a website detailing Northwestern's initiatives. The university provides its departments with environmental purchasing guidelines and requires that all new appliances be Energy Star-rated.
Energy audits have been completed, or are in progress, for 29 campus buildings, and upgrades have begun in accordance with the results in some buildings. The university has improved energy efficiency through digital control system upgrades. Twenty percent of the campus's total electricity use is offset by wind-generated renewable energy credits.
The university's food provider purchases produce from 38 local farms and a local dairy. Dining halls serve exclusively fair trade coffee, sustainably caught seafood, and hormone-free poultry and milk. A food pulper has been installed in one dining hall and is expected to conserve water and energy by reducing food waste volume by 80 percent.
The university has committed to achieve LEED certification for all new buildings and major renovations. The campus currently features one LEED Silver-certified building and one LEED Gold-certified building. Toilets, urinals, and faucets have been upgraded to low-flow models.
Group Residence for Environmental Engagement at Northwestern (GREEN) houses 48 students interested in sustainability. Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED) raised $13,000 to start a campus revolving loan fund. ECO at Hillel awarded money in order to green other student group operations through the Bright Ideas Grant competition.
Northwestern provides free shuttle bus service around campus and to local destinations, and also subsidizes over half of the cost of city transit passes for faculty and staff. A car-sharing program features three hybrid vehicles.
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 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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