Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Megan Curtis-Murphy
Submission Date May 28, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northeastern University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Carol Rosskam
Sustainability Program Manager
Office of Sustainability, Facilities Mgmt.
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Black Engineering Student Society (BESS)
Mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

Civil & Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Council (CEE GSC)
Aims to be a bridge that unifies all CEE concentrations in a way that fosters fellowship - collaborate in academic and non-academic settings through sharing of cultures, research, and general interests.

Cruelty Free Northeastern
Dedicated to animal advocacy and plant-based diets on campus and in the greater Boston area.

Energy Systems Society (ESS) - assoc. with the Energy Systems Program
Bridge the gap between industry and academia, as well as development and sustainability. Aims to align with the interdisciplinary pillars of sustainability: Engineering, Business, and Policy

Engineers Without Borders
Working with communities in Guatemala, Uganda and Panama to provide accessible drinking water.

Global Medical Brigades
Work with licensed medical professionals and community health workers to provide comprehensive health services in rural communities with limited access to healthcare. Current partners are Greece and Honduras. Chapter focus is to raise funds and supplies needed for Northeastern students to engage with communities abroad, while also gaining valuable insight into global development and building sustainable solutions abroad.

Global Public Health Brigades (GPHB)
Work with licensed medical professionals and community health workers to provide comprehensive health services in rural communities with limited access to healthcare. Current partners are Greece and Honduras. Chapter focus is to raise funds and supplies needed for Northeastern students to engage with communities abroad, while also gaining valuable insight into global development and building sustainable solutions abroad.

Graduate Environmental and Geo-Environmental Students (GEGES)
University volunteers and local teams work with partner communities to create sustainable resources through a holistic approach of multiple interdisciplinary brigades: water, agriculture, public health, microfinance, and even human rights.

Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT)
Student group working towards environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality at Northeastern University. Raises awareness, works with administration to advance sustainability initiatives, hosts events promoting responsible use of energy and waste.

Marine Biology Club
Strives to foster and engage students with interests in marine biology, environmental science, ecology, evolution, and behavior by providing educational, recreational, and professional opportunities in correlation with the Marine Science Center.

Net Impact NU
Global community of 100,000 students and professionals who take on social challenges, protect the environment, invest new products and orient business for the greater good through educational events and hands-on learned experiences.

Northeastern Socialist Alternative
National organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day. We are community activists fighting against budget cuts in public services; we are activists campaigning for a $15/hour minimum wage and fighting for democratic unions.

Northeastern University Chapter of the New England Water Environment Association
Organization dedicated to connecting students and professionals involved in the water environment profession.

NUAPPS NU Association of Public Policy Students
Serves as an academic, professional, and social community for the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs' graduate students. SPPUA drives interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving on issues of pressing concern – from transportation, housing, energy and community development to social and environmental justice, resilience and sustainability.

NUITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers)
Mission is to enrich the depth and breadth of knowledge of the Transportation Engineering students at Northeastern University in the areas of transportation systems engineering and research through interaction with the larger engineering community.

NUSBO - Sustainable Buildings Organization
Seeks to engage and connect students and professionals interested in the field of sustainable building.

Partners in Health
Mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. Two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.

Peace Through Play
For over 10 years, Peace through Play has used games, books, music, arts & crafts, and community service to engage and empower youth across Boston.

PSA Progressive Student Alliance
Nothing on the spreadsheet or website about sustainability

ReThink the Drink
Encourage members of the NU community to “rethink” their consumption of sugary beverages and switch to water, thus reducing caloric intake and ultimately obesity. members have promoted the addition of 190 filtered water stations on campus and lobbied for the inclusion of their locations on the NUGo app. Active outreach displays at Earth Day, Sustainability Day, and the Bouve Health Fair where members have collected over 500 recommendations from 375 individuals as to where additional filtered water dispensers should be placed

RSA Resident Student Association
Advocates on behalf of residents through initiatives, programming, and working with administration. Has led initiatives such as gender-neutral housing, increased sustainability, and laundry improvements.

promotes art at the University including sustainability-focused or carbon reduction/energy management

SGA Student Government Association (Director of Sustainability Initiatives = main contact)
Solar-powered picnic tables initiative, supports grassroots student sustainability projects.

Slow Food NU
Promotes an increased awareness of the interconnectedness of food, the environment, and human health through deliberate and meaningful service projects, educational events, and transformative dialogue.

Social Enterprise Institute Student Association SEISA
Believes business can be a powerful tool in helping to alleviate poverty in the developing world by utilizing enterprise based solutions.

Soil4Climate NU
Chapters to help spread the hopeful message of soil as a climate mitigation solution.

Students for Health Justice at Northeastern
Nothing on the spreadsheet or website about sustainability

Students of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Research & Sustainability (SEWERS)
Group is to serve as an organizational vehicle for educational and social events for environmental graduate students including student presentations, seminar guest presentations, outings/field trips, and networking with other universities.

Terra Society
Provide students with a chance to work with professors in the Earth & Environmental Sciences department and network with students in similar disciplines such as ecology, environmental science, marine science, geology, environmental studies, and sustainability.

Trash 2 Treasure NU
Promotes the reduction of waste and reuse and repurposing of clothing, furniture, home appliances and accessories, etc. Anything not sold to NU students is donated to local charities to be repurposed and recycled.

Wine to Water
Nonprofit organization, based in North Carolina that works to combat the water crisis by building clean water solutions, such as filters, and distributing them to several communities within the Amazon, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, East Africa and Nepal. Northeastern Chapter aims to raise awareness of the Global Water Crisis, fundraise for the cause and serve on an 8-10 day trip in one of Wine to Water's six current locations.

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

There's a plot in a community garden next to campus that Northeastern students regularly use for more than a decade. Significant work on the garden is done each year by the Northeastern Landscape Department, to help its upkeep, implement improvements, and generally as a community service. The plot used by students offers them opportunities to collaborate/interact with community members from the surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, a group of faculty, students, and staff are working to identify an appropriate location for an on-campus, experiential learning garden that would be part of courses such as Sustainable Food Systems. The Food Project, a local nonprofit located near the Northeastern campus, has been the basis for student food and garden projects such as a vermiculture initiative that was used to educate younger students in sustainable food and composting.

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Idea Venture Program is a student-led business venture accelerator. Gap funding is available through educational grants to help young entrepreneurs build their business. They work in conjunction with the NU Entrepreneurs Club. Additionally, the NU Impact Student Group at Northeastern supports student-run enterprises with sustainability focuses.


40+ Startups. 400+ Audience Members. $6K+ in cash prizes
The Husky Startup Challenge incubator serves to provide Northeastern's earliest stage startups with the knowledge, resources, and mentorship they need to flourish. Every semester, students attend bootcamps, spanning topics from ideation to prototyping, and build their own business. All with a chance to win cash prizes in front of 400+ people at Demo Day.

Specific examples of Northeastern student-run enterprises: a new company launched 2021 features a granola product in a fully compostable package; a company launched 2020 that sells sustainably made products and has been used several times for thank you gifts and prizes with campus-events; a company developed and launched that offers kombucha drink now sold at the Student Center take out kiosk; two students formed a company that manufactures a morning alternative to coffee, for those who are on the run. The product, Eat Your Coffee, is sold in the campus bookstore and various dining services kiosks, in addition to food service locations beyond Northeastern; renovated a school bus converted into a mobile produce market offers fresh fruits and vegetables in food desert areas around Boston.

E2 is a highly unique incubator program that's experiential-based, entrepreneurship-focused, for pre-college, talented high school students. The program is intense and supports students to actually run their own enterprises and build a toolbox of entrepreneurship skills.

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The Idea Gap Funding program within the student-led "Idea Venture Accelerator" Program offers microfinance help to newly evolving entrepreneurs.

Northeastern uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors when making investment decisions for the University. The University invests in renewable energy funds or similar investing vehicles. In addition, the University invests in on-campus energy and water efficiency projects, however, such investments are accounted for as property, plant and equipment because generally accepted accounting principles in the United States prohibit accounting for such an investment as part of one’s endowment.

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

BARI - the Boston Area Research Initiative, offers a weekly series on sustainability as it pertains to Boston's infrastructure, resiliency, and services.

The College of Engineering hosts regular events throughout the year: guest speaker series, panel discussions, and events on sustainable building design and resiliency and other related topics.

Myra Kraft Open Classroom is held every fall and spring term. Open to the entire University community and the public, it addresses sustainability in relation to many topics including food systems, politics, transportation, materials management, and energy/climate.

The Office of Sustainability provides year-round sustainability programming: annual fall sustainability/bike/light fair, drawing over 1,000 attendees; sustainable film series; moderated discussions; panel discussions; moderated discussions and film screenings; interactive events; and information tables. Programming is developed along with regular nation-wide and international events: National Energy Efficency Day, and Campus Sustainability Month (both in October); America Recycles Day (November); Christmas/holidays (December); Valentines Day (February); World Water Day (March); Earth Day (April); National Bicycle Month (May).

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Northeastern offers sustainability-focused public art, and both exhibits and performances through the 360 Art Gallery and Theater, and the College of Arts, Media and Design. Themes include: human rights, globalization and identity, the Boston Emerald Necklace Networks, and areas of the United States with petrochemical/environmental justice issues as cancer clusters follow oil pipeline routes. In 2021, "Dream Boston" will be exhibited in the 360 Art Gallery on racial justice and COVID. March 2021, "By Way of Revolution", a multidimensional workshop, will be held on resilience and community during histories of social change movements. In 2020, "Urinetown" was performed in the performing arts theater on the globally warmed future where water shortages mean private toilets are corporate-owned and the poor must pay to urinate.

Spring 2021, "Breaking Bread", a series on cultural identity and sustainability will be held in collaboration with the Center for Spiritual Life/Dialogue, Residential Life, the Office of Sustainability, and the Residential Life Living Learning Communities. The events will virtually engage people in an activity that includes different cultural groups and their perspectives on, and understanding of "sustainability", and use food preparation to strengthen the attendees' connections with issues around identity, culture, and sustainability.

The Cognitive Laboratory of Environment and Arts Research intends to solidify this and has held a number of events on climate change, climate justice, urban coastal sustainability, as examples.

The Center for Intercultural Engagement strives to create an inclusive campus community and provide opportunities for students to explore the complexity of their own identity and engage in conversations regarding the identities of others.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Northeastern Huskies Outdoor Club's primary purpose includes encouraging outdoor recreation and education. Active efforts are made to reach diverse audiences and make the outdoors more accessible and affordable to all. Additionally service projects, programs and events are regularly scheduled to promote good stewardship that follow the Leave No Trace principles. At least one LNT program is presented each semester and club members seeking lodge access must prove an understanding of LNT principles (among others) to receive the keys for life membership.

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

The Office of Sustainability collaborates with Residential Life to provide sustainability programming for Living Learning Communities (LLCs) in which students choose to live with other first year students interested in sustainability. Numerous events, such as trivia bash, sustainable goal setting, and sustainable business tours around Boston, are part of the LLC's programming. In addition, a new program developed for the 2020/2021 academic year includes biweekly sustainability highlights (food/dining, health/wellness, recycling, and transportation) and spring term events that engage students, especially freshmen, in exploration of different cultural lenses through which "sustainability" can be understood. Part of the program will be called "Breaking Bread", involving live virtual events making a type of bread or food associated with a culture or faith as a way to talk about sustainability. We've also developed a week of sustainability events in early February highlighting energy, health and food using a “learning by doing” approach where students are challenged to complete a sustainability checklist and post photos and videos of their efforts on social media. This will culminate with a documentary on fair trade chocolate and a guest speaker discussing Valentine's Day, chocolate, sustainability, and how one can reduce waste generated by Valentine's Day.

The Husky Environmental Action Team, "HEAT", is the primary Northeastern student group dedicated to sustainability/climate change. Throughout the year, it holds film screenings, educational events, and engaging opportunities that are open to all but especially seek to engage freshmen; during freshmen orientation, HEAT does information tabling to discuss and promote sustainability on campus and engage freshmen as they transition into student life.

The Resident Student Association (RSA) represents over 10,000 students who live in residential halls on campus. Each fall during move-in, RSA holds an annual fall carnival for freshmen that includes sustainable trivia games, information tables, and sustainable giveaways such as reusable straws, cutlery sets, sporks and water bottles. Throughout the academic year, RSA works with Residential Hall staff (Residential Assistants and Residential Directors) to integrate sustainability programming throughout the year in the Hall Council Meetings, bulletin board information, RA Programming, and discussions. During the annual January - April Recyclemania recycling competition, now called "Race to Zero Waste", Northeastern's RSA educates about and promotes recycling and sustainability by giving out reusable straws, seek kits, canvas totes and reusable water bottles during its annual Recyclemania participation, now called the "Race to Zero Waste". RSA has promoted this event, held January-April, for over a decade; some of the programs include sustainability trivia, recycling of water bottles, and other engaging events during key athletics games/competitions on campus. Information Tabling is also a regularly held part of RSA's Recyclemania programming.

Since 2009, Trash2Trasure provides spring term sustainability education events, spring semester move-out collections, and the fall term move-in sale. This student group does significant work to educate/raise awareness throughout the year.

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

NU Dining regularly hosts cooking demonstrations in the Expo kitchen to highlight utilization of sustainable products and healthy eating and cooking. These programs include vegan tutorials and how to make sustainable choices in our dietary decisions.

While the Green Office Program is focused on faculty/staff, the information is readily available on the Facilities' Sustainability website and includes sustainable life skills information that students can readily adopt. Part of this program is educating about the meaningful impact small actions can take in daily life both on and off campus.

In 2020 the University President directed the entire Northeastern community to intensify its assessment of diversity and focus on increasing our efforts in this area through the establishment of the Presidential Council on Diversity and Inclusion. The Council hosted four public events focused on Racial Literacy and Culture. These events continue during 2021.

For the past decade, the Sustainability Office convenes biweekly Student Sustainability Committee meetings between September-April. These meetings offer extensive leadership development opportunities and skills training; sustainability-specific training through the committee's work each term and process in identifying and vetting initiatives; and collaboration with other student groups and staff offices throughout the university. A number of students gained the necessary skills to become key leaders and executive board members in Student Government and other student groups within the Northeastern community.

As part of Northeastern's living/learning, experiential, community-service based educational process, many student groups offer students direct examples of, and experiences with sustainable life skills. As an example, "Alternative Spring Break" programs take students into underrepresented neighborhoods locally, nationally, and internationally, where they quickly learn skills in the process of serving the community. Examples may include building or renovating a community center.
See https://www.northeastern.edu/sei/2019/04/student-reflection-alternative-spring-break-2019/
Any student can join Engineers Without Borders and their work in Uganda and Honduras to bring energy and potable water to remote villages; students learn significant skills during these work trips. Across from Northeastern, students built a worm composting/vermiculture container that they used to teach children about composting and waste reduction.

Northeastern's Social Enterprise Institute is rooted in the study of sustainable, enterprise-based solutions to global poverty, SEI aims to educate social business leaders through coursework, cooperative education, international field studies, on-campus student organizations, and service-learning programs.

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

As an immersive/experiential school, each student has the opportunity to participate in sustainability focused co-op, work study, community service, and other volunteer opportunities. Each semester, the Office of Sustainability offers at least one co-op position; spring 2021, the Office of Sustainability is offering a total of five full-time co-op positions and two part-time work studies. Other offices, departments and colleges also offer similar opportunities as research assistants, co-ops, work studies, in units such as the Procurement/Purchasing Office, individual research/faculty members' projects, the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, the Global Resilience Institute, the D'More McKim School of Business, College of Engineering, and the Marine Science Center/Urban Coastal Resilience Institute, to name a few. Many of these opportunities derive from research assistance, cross-disciplinary, independent studies with individual faculty, as well as numerous external opportunities offered through the University's many co-op offices.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The Global Resilience Institute (climate justice, environmental justice and equality), the Coastal Urban Sustainability Initiative, the College of Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, all offer regular sustainability programming: guest speakers, conferences (PFAS/toxins), colloquia (buildings, resiliency and sustainability).

The Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, along with the Office of Sustainability and the Intercultural Engagement Center, have hosted film screenings and discussions about plastic pollution, global to local water issues, and relevant topics such as sustainable agriculture, so that students can not only hear first-hand about the issues but learn about employment opportunities as well.

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

Additional documentation to support the submission:

There are over 35 student groups at Northeastern that address some aspect of sustainability into their mission, goals and programming. Over the past five years in particular, more incoming students, and students in general, seek sustainability as campus engagement activities and a way to impact the University during their time at Northeastern. Multiple flyers exist that document the related activities and they can be provided, but there is not enough room on this software platform to include or provide them. They can be made available on request.


The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.