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sustainNU holiday letter

Office of Sustainability StaffIt’s hard to believe the Office of Sustainability is wrapping up its third year! While looking forward to the new year is exciting, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on this year’s accomplishments.

President Schapiro has set a goal that Northwestern should be a national model for sustainability, therefore NU kicked off the development of our Strategic Plan for Sustainability in 2014. Five working groups are currently creating objectives and implementing projects in areas ranging from curriculum and research to energy and greenhouse gas emissions with the intention of launching the University’s first plan by Summer 2015.

But sustainability at NU isn’t sitting idly while that plan is developed! The new cogeneration turbine that will be deployed in Evanston’s Central Utility Plant will provide seven megawatts of electricity to the campus, adding reliability and reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 17,900 metric tons.

2014 also included the launch of new programs such as Green Office Certification, the Excellence in Sustainability awards, and a video highlighting sustainability at NU. This fall the University Library received the first Green Office Certification. Nearly a dozen other departments and office’s are working towards certification, which will help to identify simple opportunities to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, and increase environmental awareness in the workplace.

We also partnered with Human Resources to establish three Excellence in Sustainability awards to recognize staff, faculty, and students who have gone above and beyond to green our campuses and curriculum. The first round of these quarterly awards were announced in November. Any member of the University community may submit a nomination for the Green Office Excellence, the Faculty and Staff, or the Student Excellence in Sustainability Award at any time.

Finally, with the help of University Relations, our first sustainability video was created featuring Morty, Coach Fitz, Burgie Howard, and Willie! It serves as a great introduction to going green at NU.

Our office grew this academic year, with five work-study students focusing on communications, energy, greenhouse gas, waste, and cycling. We are excited to watch them succeed and learn in conjunction with our office. As we move into 2015, we’ll be working with Purchasing, Student Affairs, Athletics, student organizations, and many more green champions to identify opportunities to make NU a healthier, happier, and more environmentally responsible community.

It’s been another great, green year, and we want to thank you for doing your part. As we take a break during the holidays, please think about what more we can do in 2015 and be ready to share your ideas and enthusiasm on our journey of sustainability.


The Office of Sustainability

Julie Cahillane
Allison Potteiger
Rob Whittier