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Awards and Recognition

Excellence in Sustainability Award

As Northwestern University pursues its commitment to leadership in sustainability, we would like to acknowledge those who go above and beyond in greening our campuses and curriculum. The Excellence in Sustainability Awards recognize members of the Northwestern Community who have displayed outstanding leadership and dedication in promoting sustainability on campus.

Any member of the University community may nominate a student, staff member, or faculty member for this award by submitting a nomination form to sustainNU. Award recipients will be recognized at the Quarterly Service Excellence Luncheons.

See a list of past winners here.

Northwestern Recognition

Northwestern has been recognized as a local, regional, and national leader in promoting sustainability. The University is proud to have received the following awards.

  • 2020poylogosmall.pngENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence 2020: Northwestern University has received the prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership in energy efficiency and energy conservation solutions. Northwestern is the first stars-web-sq.pngUniversity to receive the Sustained Excellence Award, the highest honor from ENERGY STAR. The University also was the first to be consecutively awarded ENERGY STAR’s Partner of the Year Award in 2018 and 2019.
  • STARS Gold: Northwestern was ranked as a STARS Gold Institution through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability’s Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) in 2020.
  • ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year 2019: Northwestern University has received the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2019 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award, poy2019sm.pngwhich recognizes the University’s achievements in energy efficiency, including efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. We are the first university to win the award for two consecutive years.
  • ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year 2018: Northwestern University has received the 2018 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award in the Energy Management category for the University's efforts to reduce campus energy consumption and educate students, faculty, staff and the broader community about energy efficiency.
  • Illinois Sustainability Award: Northwestern University received the 2018 Illinois Sustainability Award. The longest-running environmental program in the state of Illinois, the award recognizes public and private organizations that demonstrate commitment to reducing their environmental impact.
  • STARS Silver: Northwestern was ranked as a STARS Silver Institution through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability’s Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) in 2017. 
  • Bicycle Friendly University Silver Status: Northwestern was awarded Bicycle Friendly University Silver status by the League of American Bicyclists in 2016.
  • U.S. EPA Green Power Leadership Award: Northwestern University received a 2015 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The award recognizes the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. 
  • Tree Campus USA Recognition: Tree Campus USA is a national program created by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor higher education institutions for successfully overseeing their campus forests and for engaging staff and students in tree conservation.
  • Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards: Northwestern received Gold status from the Campus Sustainability Compact as a part of the 2013 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.
  • Green Power Challenge: Northwestern University has been ranked in first or second place for the past three years in the Big 10 EPA College & University Green Power Challenge.
  • Green Power Partnership: Northwestern ranks in the top 10 colleges and universities in the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership. The University is the top green power purchaser in the Big Ten Conference.
  • Citizens Utility Board (CUB): The CUB Energy Saver Challenge honored Northwestern employees with Outstanding Work to Promote Energy Efficiency in April 2012.