Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Past Projects

COP21 Documentary

This group of students attended the COP21 Paris Climate Conference to make a short film on youth activists. These students worked closely with the Malaysian Youth Delegation, a group of five young people who were the first to attend a climate conference from their country. The filmmakers also interviewed other climate activists and negotiators at the conference. The students hope to raise awareness surrounding climate injustice and the relationship of the United Nations in climate change policy. The filmmakers worked with campus student organizations to host a screening of the finished film, Voices Not Heard, the Climate Fight of Malaysian Youth, on campus in November, 2017.

Wild Roots Panel

These students organized a panel entitled “Ethical Eating for the College Student.” Experts on ethical food production and other related fields were brought in to speak about the issues and the effects of making food choices that aren’t harmful to the environment. The goal was to inform students, who for the first time are making decisions on grocery shopping and eating at restaurants, on how to choose food that is ethical-sourced and produced. This panel was attended by around 40 students who gave positive feedback on the event.

ESW Hydroponics

These students’ project was to create a hydroponics system to be implemented on Northwestern’s campus. It is an effort of the student organization Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW). This method of growing plants is sustainable and has a higher resource efficiency than traditional soil planting. The students have already effectively created an ebb and flow hydroponic system at a low cost, and they had success in growing basil and chard over the summer of 2016. Their future goals are to create a hydroponics plant maintenance guide, create a “food computer” to track and adjust the system, and implement this project on campus through partnerships with groups such as GREEN House and Wild Roots.

Amper Technologies

The goal of this project is to track energy use at the university in a way that would provide data immediately. The students planned to design a system that would track energy use in order to give recommendations for energy conservation, as well as show wasted energy. The technology would give useful insight on utilities for facilities management and lead to lower energy use on campus.

NU Scope

These students organized two speaker events for the Northwestern campus and Evanston community. The group hosted experts on urban sustainability and transportation sustainability to encourage students and community members to be involved in and aware of the issues surrounding sustainability in these fields. The students were able to appeal to a diverse group of Northwestern students as well as some Evanston residents.

One Earth Film Fest logoOne Earth Film Festival

These students brought the One Earth Film Festival to Northwestern’s campus. The group hosted a screening of the film “Banking Nature,” about how the environment has been degraded by companies for profit. The screening was attended by about 60 people from Northwestern and the broader community. The event featured a discussion of the issues addressed in the film.

Design For America Coffee Thermoses

These students organized an initiative to promote awareness of disposable coffee cup waste and encourage students to #BYOT (bring your own thermos). They achieved this by organized three Free Coffee Days in the spring quarter of 2016. The students gave out free coffee to students who brought a thermos and gave out 74 free thermoses to students. Their initial analytics after one week showed that out of 43 people surveyed, the thermoses had been used 143 times, and had lasting potential to decrease coffee cup waste on campus.

ESW logoESW Summer Incubator

The summer incubator program funded an Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) project to organize two weeks of new programs focused on recruiting new members and planning for the next year. TrackNU was formed to track energy usage on campus, and ESW used the incubator to begin designing an app that will track students’ carbon dioxide usage among other measurements. The goal of the app is to aid in the university’s monitoring of data that will aid in developing sustainability strategies for the campus. The second program to come out of the project was BeeSW, a new beekeeping society on campus. Over the two weeks, the students met with a beekeeper, researched hives, and held a meeting to gain interest in the new club.

project team photoMEM Grad Student Microgrid

These graduate students from the Master’s in Engineering Management program assessed the campus and developed recommendations on installing a microgrid. This grid can be used as a backup system for electrical power and could power the entire university. The group analyzed energy use and efficiency at three points on campus to determine whether this system would be a good addition to the university.

House by Northwestern renderingHouse by Northwestern

House By Northwestern was Northwestern’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The members of this undergraduate student organization worked together to design and construct a home that is solar-powered and energy efficient. Northwestern’s team was one of 16 teams selected internationally for submission to the competition. The students partnered with industry professionals to learn how to best put their ideas in motion. The grant provided for ten of the students to stay during the summer to research and test models for the house. The team won first place in market potential and communications at the competition and took sixth place overall.

solar car teamNUSolar

NUSolar is the solar car design and racing team at Northwestern. The Sustainability Fund grant provided for the purchase of wheels, tires, and solar cells for the construction of the car. The mission of the team is to challenge student engineers with creating a sustainable design and managing construction and execution of the car.

Back to top