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University’s commitment to sustainability garners global acclaim

Northeastern University continues to gain recognition for its long-standing commitment to sustainability, ranking second among 178 schools worldwide in the University of Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities. The UI GreenMetric ranks higher education institutions on their efforts toward campus sustainability and environmentally friendly university management.

Northeastern was ranked first among all American universities and second globally only to the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The methodology required universities to submit details on a number of sustainability indicators that were organized into five main categories: Green statistics, energy and climate change, waste management, water usage and transportation.

Northeastern’s standing improved from the UI GreenMetric in 2010, when it was ranked fourth out of 95 schools worldwide.

“Northeastern’s long-standing commitment to energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability precedes the more recent focus on ‘greening’ and sustainability,” said Carol Rosskam, Northeastern’s sustainability program manager. “Through our efforts to advance sustainability system-wide, we have a tremendous opportunity in higher education to influence millions of students, nationwide and worldwide, who will serve as our future decision- and policymakers.”

This latest recognition follows Northeastern’s highly regarded award in October from Mass Save  — an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy-efficiency service providers — for its dedication toward energy efficiency improvements. Northeastern was the only university recognized among a group of 15 institutions that included businesses, hospitals and a waste-treatment facility.

In earning the Mass Savers Award, Northeastern was lauded for its commitment to energy efficiency. The award noted that in the last five years, the university’s efforts have yielded savings of nearly 10.7 million kilowatt hours annually, or about $1.3 million a year.

In August, The Princeton Review’s 2012 annual college guide, “The 376 Best Colleges,” also included Northeastern in its Green Honor Roll for the third consecutive year. The Sustainable Endowment Institute has also deemed Northeastern a “Campus Sustainability Leader” in its annual report cards each of the last four years.

Northeastern’s other sustainability efforts and green practices include LEED Gold certification for two of its buildings, International Village and Dockser Hall, and “Compost Here,” the university’s food waste composting initiative. The university also partnered with the city of Boston this fall to launch a bike-sharing program called Hubway that promotes sustainable options for moving around campus and throughout the city.

The university’s commitment to advancing environmental sustainability is also reflected in its research and teaching. Sustainability is one of Northeastern’s primary research priorities, and faculty members leverage the university’s approach of use-inspired interdisciplinary research to discover solutions to global challenges such as clean water and energy efficiency. Students also strive to tackle these challenges through innovative course work, interdisciplinary research projects and high-impact experiential-learning opportunities.

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