Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Carol Rosskam
Submission Date May 28, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northeastern University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Casey Shetterly
Special Projects - Sustainability
Facilities
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Staff regularly avail the campus infrastructure and facilities to faculty and students for learning concepts from calculating carbon footprint, to mechanical systems and operational best practices. A recent classroom project by the Chemistry department addressed Ammonia as a refrigerant and safety concerns related to large scale systems like the one we use for our ice hockey arena.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

The Energy group gives tours of the central steam plant and building mechanical systems to students from the College of Engineering, School of Architecture, and School of Environmental Science. The tours help students understand the challenges to balance sustainability and building operations which helps them understand the problem they are trying to solve.

Student interns are currently designing software algorithms to pull data for energy consumption in real time in a project to develop an energy dashboard for the sustainability office.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

The Energy group has given multiple presentations, both live and virtual, to student and faculty groups to talk about energy consumption on campus and how the Facilities group is working on conservation projects. The presentations maintain the engagement of the campus community to participate by turning down unnecessary heating and cooling, reducing lighting, and any other strategies they can do to reduce energy consumption. Of additional significance is the use and maintenance of the automated building systems for informing staff of efficiency and activity.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

Northeastern University dining has been on the forefront of innovation from its early adoption of menus of change to its experiential use of kelp as an ingredient. Additionally, these programs are highlighted through the Exhibition Kitchen wherein the staff and faculty highlight innovative sustainability measures through programs brought to the students. Additionally, students that work in co-op positions in dining have been the catalyst for substantive changes that have developed into greater composting by students, trayless meals.
https://news.northeastern.edu/2016/02/24/northeastern-joins-innovative-food-systems-collaborative/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

Northeastern University’s Arboretum was awarded a Level II Accreditation through ArbNet. Level II-accredited arboreta have 100 species, varieties or cultivars of trees or woody plants, an arboretum collections policy describing the development and professional management of plants, and have enhanced educational and public programming. Besides access to a self-tour of the arboretum, staff and faculty regularly use the grounds to exemplify urban planning, landscape architecture and to pose capstone projects to students. Recent capstone projects feature potential community development projects in Burlington, Scooter use on the main campus and increasing community gathering areas.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

The D'Amore McKim School of Business has established its own sustainability team tasked with advancing sustainability procurement beyond its current activities and with an eye toward utilizing its successes to be replicated in other colleges or institution wide.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

Transportation is often an area where pilot projects and smaller Capstone or student focus is generated on campus. In recent years we have had capstone projects focused on mobility including specifically bicycling and other "last mile" initiatives. Additionally, as an urban campus in a major metropolitan area with real transportation issues, Northeastern's continued desire to be part of the solution and address issues related to transportation around our campus has led to improvements with wayfinding and other needs, all of which are superb topics in metropolitan transportation challenges.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

From ideas percolating with student groups, to being researched for implementation by marketing or other students, many of the best innovations on campus related to sustainability have been shepherded through student initiatives and then the follow up research to make the case and then the pitch. Trayless meals in dining as well ditching the single use plastic bags and straws are examples.
https://news.northeastern.edu/2017/09/25/so-long-trays-campus-eateries-get-more-sustainable/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

The University has taken significant strides in recent years to implement innovative water retention, reuse and conservation tactics through building construction and design and campus landscape management. These include, collection and reuse in building infrastructure, landscape design, high albedo roofs and vegetated rooftops. All of these developments are used for classes but graphics and visuals also tell the story to students accessing buildings in which the innovations reside.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

Among many diciplines associated with Coordination and Planning, the immersive experience of the NU educational model incorporates co-ops for six month placements. In recent years, this has included working on GIS projects, transportation surveys, assisting with communicating our sustainability successes. Recent capstone projects have included surveying all Boston colleges for sustainability activities and transportation surveys and recommendations for the Boston campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

The University has a number of research institutes dedicated to improving the intersection of education and public benefit. For instance, The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) is a legal research center focused on public health law. Its goal is to support and enhance a commitment to public health in individuals and institutes who shape public policy through law. We are committed to research and advocacy in public health law, public health policy development, to legal technical assistance and to collaborative work at the intersection of law and public health. PHAI works closely with the School of Law’s dual JD/MPH program to provide educational opportunities to students interested in public health and the law. Students may take advanced courses at the law school and participate in the Public Health Legal Clinic, working closely with PHAI. PHAI also offers independent study opportunities, co-ops and Tufts ALE placement. There are a myriad of opportunities for students to participate in the work of PHAI on current and exciting developments in public health and law.

While most programs offer ample opportunity for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research, the Law school has exemplified its commitment through pro bono work with numerous organizations: NUSL Student Volunteers for Justice; Domestic Violence Institute; and International Refugee Assistance Project. Additionally they provide "street smart training" addressing real world issues such as landlord tenent rights and mentorship programs with The Higg-Lew mentorship program, started by law students Gabrielle Pingue and Sarah Spofford and supported by participation from members within the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Family Law and Juvenile Justice Society (FLJJS).

“A Year Up”, has gained tremendous recognition for its groundbreaking work in providing disenfranchised youth with opportunities to participate in the mainstream workforce – a field in which those without a college education have been historically excluded. Northeastern has a longstanding relationship with Year Up: every year, the College of Professional Studies accepts several Year Up students to either work in their department or register for classes to count towards their degree. Again, many other departments have similar programs. The facilities division has a program with the local vocational school for trades training and a commitment for employment for individuals that complete the program in good standing. Once employed at the University, the students have access to a world class education. Similar programs are playing out individually across the University.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

Northeastern students participating in the Social Impact-athon, a competition between teams developing plans to best effect change by donating to nonprofit organizations, were challenged to distribute a hypothetical $50,000 between three or more Boston nonprofits centered around environmental justice. The winning team was awarded a real $50,000 to execute their plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

CAP
GRIhttps://undergraduate.northeastern.edu/blog/2014/01/northeastern-launches-social-impact-lab-to-empower-global-change/
Northeastern University launched the Social Impact Lab—a hub of innovative experiential curricula, programming, and events designed to empower social change and civic engagement across disciplines and around the world. From mini grants to open classrooms and

The Myra Kraft Open Classroom addresses public policy issues in a regional context. Besides being exemplary practice in that the course is available free of charge to all interested, it also brings experts, practitioners, and students together in a regional context of subject matter. In 2020 it was climate change and in 2021, Designing beautiful, just and resilient places in America. Classes were: Equity and the City; Building Community with Food; Reimagining School; Engaging and Empowering the Next Generation; Advancing Housing for Health and Wellbeing; Strengthening Cities Through University Community Partnerships;
Investing in Infrastructure;Fostering Innovative Civic Leadership; and others


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

The Public Evaluation Lab NU-PEL is an interdisciplinary lab comprised of faculty and student teams conducting evaluation research on what is/is not successful in various community programs that leads to healthier communities and enhances the lives of those living within them. The lab is a collaboration of the Institute on Health Equity and Social Justice Research in Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the Institute on Race and Justice in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

https://nulang.org/

As an immersive experience university, faculty and staff encourage the use of campus facilities and networks within both the private and public sector, for research and discovery. Pilot projects within individual departments are often the budding accomodation to implementation. Faculty encourage real life scenarios for projects like redesigning the Burlington campus as a nexus for community engagement or helping to address desired projects in-house like our energy dashboard for facilities.
Hundreds of students participate in the annual expo, known as RISE, an annual research and innovation showcase. They are lined up, row after row, alongside their projects, which in most cases are spelled out with text and graphics on easily digestible posters. A procession of fellow students, event judges, faculty, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, investors, and researchers stop and invite the other presenters to explain their projects and make their pitches. Some students receive awards, others receive funding to continue their research while others develop their pitching skills.

A recent project developed by students include the LANG Initiative in which students translate the important guidelines, website pages and other important information at Northeastern into languanges that are not commonly translated already. https://nulang.org/mission/


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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