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New Director of Sustainability

Robert Whittier will lead effort to make Northwestern a model for sustainability

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December 6, 2011 | by Megan Fellman
Robert Whittier

Robert Whittier

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Robert W. Whittier has been hired as the first director of sustainability for Northwestern University.

Whittier, who joined Northwestern Nov. 14, is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan that will eventually position the University as a national model for campus sustainability.

“Rob Whittier brings excellent sustainability credentials with him to Northwestern,” said Ronald Nayler, associate vice president for Facilities Management. “The University is dedicated to contributing to solutions for a more sustainable environment, not only through our research but also in the choices we make regarding life on our three campuses.”

Whittier will lead the effort to integrate sustainability into both the operational and academic functions of the University. This includes promoting the incorporation of sustainable teaching and practices into courses, practicums, research and other areas to teach students about sustainability and how to incorporate sustainable principles in their future professions.

Other responsibilities include developing and implementing programs and new sustainability initiatives and coordinating, supporting and expanding opportunities for faculty, staff, students and administrators to learn about sustainability issues.

Whittier will work closely with Northwestern units that may have sustainability initiatives in process or as part of their overall strategy, such as the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). He also will develop partnerships with the cities of Evanston and Chicago as well as key institutions in those communities.

Whittier is both Lean Six Sigma and LEAD GRI certified and is a LEED Accredited Professional with the U.S. Green Building Council. He sits on the board of directors of the Delta Institute, a Chicago-based organization whose mission is to improve the sustainability of Chicago’s built environment and to promote green economic development.

Whittier most recently was the manager of sustainability and climate change at Deloitte Consulting. He provided advisory services to clients in the areas of sustainability strategy, alternative energy, cleantech, greenhouse gas management and water, waste and resource management. Whittier supported the creation of an organization-wide sustainability strategy for the U.S. Postal Service (nationwide) and led the development of an employee engagement plan.

Prior to Deloitte, Whittier worked at General Electric as a director with the company’s ecomagination initiative and as a project manager for GE Energy focusing on wind energy and other alternative energy technologies.

Whittier earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan with an emphasis on strategy and sustainability. He received his bachelor’s of science degree from Central Michigan University where he majored in finance and minored in environmental policy.

Julie Cahillane, Northwestern’s manager of recycling and refuse, will work for Whittier in the Office of Sustainability.

Topics: University, People