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Report Card 2011

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Northwestern University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Northwestern University

School details:

  Grade lower than last year


Endowment: $5,445 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Evanston, Illinois


Campus Survey: No

Dining Survey: No

Endowment Survey: No

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: This school did not respond to any of the three administrator surveys. The data used for both the profile and grading was compiled from independent research. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methodology section.  


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


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

Overall grade  
C +
Northwestern's Commitment to Environmental Sustainability includes projects related to renewable energy, energy and water conservation, green building, and recycling. The Initiative for Sustainability and Energy employs several staff, including a full-time director of operations and outreach. A green purchasing policy requires that all new appliances be Energy Star rated.
The university has installed energy efficiency technologies such as economizers, lighting retrofits, and HVAC system upgrades. A centralized campus energy management system optimizes efficiency through remote monitoring and temperature adjustment of individual spaces. Twenty percent of the campus's total electricity use is offset by wind-generated renewable energy credits.
The university's food service 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. Trayless dining has been implemented at all but one dining hall. Over five tons of clothing and food are collected each year during the Take It or Leave It campus move-out program.
All new buildings at Northwestern must meet at least LEED Certified standards. There are three LEED-certified buildings on campus, two of which are LEED Gold. NU has installed low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets in buildings across campus. The Evanston campus central utility plant draws water from Lake Michigan, offsetting the need for over 200 million cubic feet of water from the municipal water supply.
Engineers for a Sustainable World recently raised money to put solar panels on the roof of a campus building. Students for Ecological & Environmental Development encourages environmental stewardship on campus. Water usage fell 62 percent during the annual Green Cup competition. Students can choose to live in a environmentally themed hallway.
Northwestern provides a free shuttle bus around campus and to local destinations, and also subsidizes over half of the cost of city transit passes for employees. A car-sharing program features one hybrid, and a ride-share program is available for carpoolers. The university fleet includes six 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 is available on the university's website, and all other information is available at the investment office.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment 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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