Northwestern University

As one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Northwestern University recognizes its role in addressing the global challenges of sustainability and climate change. Northwestern University’s strategic plan states that we will “Engage with the world…expanding our impact at home and abroad.” The University’s approach is to immerse our students and faculty in leading environmental curriculum and research and to commit to improving our own carbon footprint.

Northwestern is committed to minimizing our environmental footprint through an emphasis on efficiency and renewable energy. Northwestern’s Energy Retrofit Initiative has allocated over $40 million to energy efficiency projects across our campuses which, when completed, will reduce the University’s energy use by more than 9 percent. And Northwestern currently offsets 50 percent of our energy use with renewable energy certificates (RECs), equating to taking 17,700 cars of the road or growing 2,157,000 trees a year. The University is committed to sustainability in construction and renovations; our last seven major projects have achieved LEED silver or gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

But Northwestern recognizes that the most significant impact that an academic institution can have is through its curriculum and research and through the engagement of its students, faculty, staff, and the communities around them. The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) has created focused curriculum and research grants in the critical global topics of sustainability, energy, water, and climate change. Northwestern’s joint effort with Argonne National labs to create the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Research Center (ANSER) and our partnership in initiatives such as the Solar Fuels Initiative (SOFI) and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) ensure that we are on the forefront of energy and sustainability research.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.

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Volunteers plant mangrove saplings to help restore the canopy at Benedict Key. (Sarah Anderson/MEDILL)

Northwestern University
A man in a purple jacket and beige cap smiles at a woman in a sweatshirt who is holding water samples. They are both sitting on the ledge of a boat.

SCCF marine laboratory director Eric Milbrandt (left) and research assistant Sierra Greene (right) collect water samples to help identify the drivers of harmful algal blooms in southwest Florida. (Sarah Anderson/MEDILL)

Northwestern University
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A researcher points out coral polyps growing at ONDA’s on-shore nursery facility in Florida. (Image courtesy of ONDA Design)

Northwestern University
Person in mask sits in a church pew looks forward at a presentation. The presenter stands in front of a screen which reads "HOW INDIGENOUS PHILOSOPHIES CAN SAVE THE WORLD."

Northwestern history professor Doug Kiel shares practices of Indigenous philosophy that can save the world as part of the Generations of Environmental Justice program in Vail Chapel. Kiel is a member of the Oneida nation of Wisconsin. (Catherine Odom/Medill)

Northwestern University

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