Northeastern News: High honors for ‘green’ campus

Sustainability at Northeastern goes beyond a green campus; it’s a theme that drives our research and teaching enterprise. Photo by Craig Bailey.

Northeastern University has been honored with the 2011 Green Business Award, presented on Friday by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the fifth annual Mayor’s Green Awards. The University is the only higher-education institution this year to be recognized for its multi-dimensional sustainability strategy and leadership in green initiatives.

“Mayor Menino’s leadership in transforming Boston into a truly green city has inspired us all to contribute,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University. “Sustainability at Northeastern goes beyond a green campus; it is a key theme that drives our research and teaching enterprise. Our students, faculty and staff share the passion and commitment for energy efficiency and for solving the issues of climate change.”

Northeastern became a founding member of the American College University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007, pledging to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to stabilize the earth’s climate.

In January 2010, Northeastern took its commitment to sustainability a step further and adopted an actionable climate plan, “Sustainable Action Plan: Roadmap towards Carbon Neutrality,” which identifies short- and long-term plans leading to carbon neutrality.

The Green Business Award from Mayor Menino comes on the heels of numerous other accolades that recognize Northeastern’s leadership in sustainability, which, along with health and security, are leading areas of research.

The University has been acknowledged for its environmental policies, practices, academic offerings and facilities. Recently, Northeastern made the Princeton Review “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll” for the second year in a row.

In November 2010, Northeastern was awarded one of the highest ratings in North America on the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s 2011 College Sustainability Report Card. The University received a grade of A-, which is the highest of any Boston-based university. The report card also named Northeastern an Overall College Sustainability Leader and, for the fourth year in a row, a Campus Sustainability Leader.

Northeastern has also received global recognition for its green leadership. Out of nearly 95 universities surveyed throughout the world for their sustainability efforts by Universatas Indonesia (UI), Northeastern ranked second in the United States, and fourth overall. UI factored in the location, amount of green space, electrical consumption, waste management, as well as policies, actions and communication related to sustainability.

The International Village dining area received Food Management magazine’s “Best Concept” award and was named “Best New Facility” for its high-quality and sustainable menu options, and for leading the way in green construction.

The Mayor’s Green Awards recognize local Boston businesses, residents and sustainable food leaders that demonstrate extraordinary performance related to sustainable environmental practices. Nominees range from commercial, industrial, non-profit, academic, cultural, health-care and higher-education institutions.

The 2011 Awards were presented to 20 individuals or organizations at a ceremony at Boston Properties’ Atlantic Wharf, one of the newest green buildings downtown.

For more information, please contact Kara Shemin at 617-373-2802 or at [email protected].