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

STARS v2.1

Northeastern University
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Casey Shetterly
Special Projects - Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

Northeastern continues to develop and prioritize its governance in Sustainability and Resiliency. During 2019, initiatives supporting the University’s ability to achieve the goals of Northeastern 2025, and its impact for the University’s global profile in curriculum, research, and operations, included phase one of an updated Climate Action Plan, preparation for the STARS survey, and hiring of new staff. The Sustainability Advisory Council, was formed by the Provost and the Chief Financial Officer with invited faculty/staff. The Council’s 2019 accomplishments including further development of strategies towards an advisory report that contains suggestions for integrated action that can strengthen the University’s leadership in sustainability and resiliency. Among areas for exploration are governance (how to optimize the network of groups/individuals working on these areas); curriculum/research (identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary research/teaching that highlights sustainability/resiliency); operations (metrics for how the campus facilities/activities can embody principles/methods to support a sustainable environment and resilient community); and student/community engagement (communication, public education, demonstrating innovative approaches in the classroom, and beyond). Priorities include specific strategies that connect research, teaching, campus, and community.
The Deans Council Meetings convene biweekly and discuss sustainability issues as they pertain to their College-level research, curriculum, faculty initiatives, and programs.
The Sustainability Working Group, with oversight by the Vice-Presidents of Facilities Management - and Campus Planning and Development, identifies challenges and opportunities as they relate to sustainability, climate resiliency planning and design, and drawing from faculty and staff expertise on an as-needed basis. Committee initiatives included: the first phase of an updated Climate Action Plan; developing a resilient campus strategy; and continued development of the design/installation in public corridors of sustainability graphics or “popups” to educate/raise awareness within the campus community about sustainability issues such as reducing waste, conservation of water and other resources, recycling, and lighting.
The Student Sustainability Committee, in its 10th year during 2019, met biweekly with staff, and students representing multiple student groups, and faculty on an as-needed basis, to help guide student-initiated sustainability projects/initiatives.
The Green Office Certification Program (GOCP) started a new collaboration with the D’Amore McKim School of Business that will continue throughout 2020. GOCP continues engaging University employees campus-wide in the Program – and campus sustainability overall, and further developing the Eco Ambassador outreach to its interested members. There are over 600 certified Green Office Program members from over 130 different departments, offices, and groups campus-wide. The Program co-sponsors events throughout the year that attract faculty/staff to engage in sustainability and help educate/raise awareness of issues - such as World Water Day and how one can better conserve water resources at Northeastern.
The Food Advisory Committee, convened by the Director of Dining Services, meets monthly with students to discuss food sustainability issues in dining halls and other on-campus food service facilities, composting, recycling and signage challenges/opportunities, as well as more specific types of food choices available, especially to those wanting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Ashoka U. Changemakers and the Green Living Learning Community also meet to develop, promote, and institute sustainability programs.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Sustainability Advisory Council: Provost,Chief Financial Officer, Vice Presidents of Facilities – and Campus Planning, and invited faculty/staff.
Deans Council: Dean from each of the University’s nine College administrative units.
Sustainability Working Group: VP Facilities and VP Campus Planning/Design; Associate VP Facilities; Associate VP of Facilities Services; Senior Director of Sustainability; Director Building Services; Director of Landscape Services; Sustainability Program Manager; Senior Sustainability Planner; Senior Strategic Program Manager; Senior Campus Designer; Facilities Project Administrator; and Senior Capital Projects Manager.
Biweekly Student Group Sustainability Committee meetings: staff from Student Affairs, Residential Life, and Facilities Division; and students from Student Government Association; the Energy Systems Society; Graduate Student Government Association; Husky Environmental Action Team (HEAT); Northeastern University Sustainable Buildings Organization; the Resident Student Association; and ReThink the Drink.
Food Advisory Committee: Dining Services Director, and includes participation from student groups (participation being determined by the student groups themselves) HEAT, Progressive Student Alliance, Resident Student Association, Student Government Association, and Slow Food Northeastern, as well as other individual students who may attend meetings.
Ashoka/Changemaker: College of Business, Social Enterprise Institute, NU Law School, Northeastern’s Social Impact Lab, which is housed within the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Athletics Sustainability Committee: Athletics, Facilities, Marketing/Communications, Student Affairs, and Dining Services. Marine Science Center/Nahant: Nahant, Facilities, Campus Planning and Development. Social Impact Council: Co-chaired by the Interim dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design, and the Associate Vice-President for Student Affairs, the council includes in total: four appointed faculty, four appointed administrators, no fewer than 12 student selected from a group of 25 students nominated by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Government.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

Northeastern continues to advance campus sustainability on an institutional basis through a variety of procedures, practices, and guidelines, including staffing changes and department restructuring. These changes demonstrate Northeastern's continued commitment to sustainability and the importance the University places on energy efficiency and energy management as fundamental tools that help reduce greenhouse emissions, and helps the University work towards carbon neutrality. The Office of Sustainability staff report directly to the Vice-President of Facilities and Senior Director of Sustainability. Staff also includes: a Sustainability Program Manager, an Assistant Energy Manager, an Air Quality Compliance/Regulation Manager, Director of Commissioning, and Energy Systems Automation Specialists.
Altogether, 13 full-time staff in Sustainability and Energy Management, and multiple others in Campus Planning/Design, work full-time on campus sustainability issues. Additionally, more than nine full-time staff from Facilities, Procurement, and Environmental Health/Safety departments provide part-time coordination and benchmarking of past and present campus-wide sustainability efforts.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution (e.g. a campus-wide committee or an officer/office responsible for the entire campus)?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the institution-wide coordinating body or officer during the previous three years:

Significant efforts have been made to continue our strong push in energy conservation. This last year carbon offset purchases culminated in our first year of being carbon neutral. The office of Sustainability undertook a climate vulnerability assessment as a way to align our capital investments and operational plans with long term projections for our built environment. Significant investment in campus sustainability is being realized with additional staff and efforts to more fully engage with the entire university community. We have begun the process of updating our 2010 Climate Action Plan and look forward to engaging all stakeholders in the process.

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Senior Director of Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position:
Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Senior Director for Sustainability

Position Summary: The Senior Director for Sustainability will have the administrative and supervisory responsibility for the operation and coordination of the university's Sustainability and energy management efforts. Working closely with the Campus Planning and Development team, the position will direct and oversee the development and execution of a broad-based, university-wide strategic sustainability initiatives, integrating sustainability throughout the university's facilities. Key Focus areas: | Northeastern 2025 and the impact of Sustainability and Resiliency | Partnerships that focus on Engagement, Education, and Outreach as a function of developing a campus culture |Climate Action Plan & Renewable Energy Projects that leads the transformation of Northeastern to a carbon and climate neutral campus | Work in partnership to lead the Campus Sustainability Office and serve on the management team of Facilities Management Department Other Responsibilities include: | Research environmental sustainability issues, concerns, or stakeholder interests. | Propose and implement organizational process or policy changes. | Identify and evaluate pilot projects or programs to enhance the sustainability research agenda that is driven by the provost and the academic mission. | Direct organizational operations, projects, or services to include supervising workers performing environmentally sustainable activities as well as employees or volunteers working on sustainability projects. | Identify educational, training, or other development opportunities for sustainability employees or volunteers. |Develop or execute strategies to address issues such as energy use, resource conservation, recycling, pollution reduction, waste elimination, transportation, education, and building design, and environmental concerns. |Oversee and direct sustainability program operations to ensure compliance with environmental or governmental regulations. Review sustainability program objectives, progress, or status to ensure compliance with policies, standards, regulations, or laws. | Write and distribute financial or environmental impact reports. Prepare financial documents, reports, or budgets. Prepare operational progress or status reports. | Develop methodologies to assess the viability or success of sustainability (not sure the task force will be more than short term) | Develop, or oversee the development of, marketing or outreach media for sustainability projects or events.

Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Engineering or Similar. Master’s Degree Preferred. | 10-15 Years of experience | Formal Training in Environmental Science or Engineering or Commensurate experience | Program Planning Experience | Leadership Development Experience | Ability to Facilitate interaction between multiple stakeholders | Develop Strategic Initiatives within complex environments. | Must be self-directed with proven effectiveness and team leadership | Demonstrated ability to create documentation of plans and outreach deliverables. | Ability to be flexible required.

% of time Duties / Responsibilities Essential

Budget | Review and oversee requisitions and purchases orders. | Responsible for forecasting, developing, reporting and monitoring budgets related to sustainability activities/operations | Oversee the selection of vendors and suppliers, making sure to comply with University requirements on bidding practices and minority participation.


Climate Action Plan | Research environmental sustainability issues, concerns, or stakeholder interests. | Develop sustainable organizational policies or practices in partnership with the Sustainability Planner that address these issues or concerns. |Propose and implement organizational process or policy changes. |Identify and evaluate pilot projects or programs to enhance the sustainability research agenda that is driven by the provost and the academic mission. |Direct organizational operations, projects, or services. Supervise workers performing environmentally sustainable activities. |Supervise employees or volunteers working on sustainability projects. Identify educational, training, or other development opportunities for sustainability employees or volunteers. | Conduct sustainability- or environment-related risk assessments. Write project proposals, grant applications, or other documents to pursue funding for environmental initiatives. Prepare proposals or grant applications to obtain project funding.


Leading Campus Sustainability Office | Develop methodologies to assess the viability or success of sustainability initiatives that are put forward by the sustainability task force. | Develop procedures to evaluate organizational activities. | Oversee Scheduled activities or facility use. | Maintain operational records for green energy processes or other environmentally-sustainable activities.


Renewable Energy Projects | Develop and execute strategies to address issues such as energy use, resource conservation, recycling, pollution reduction, waste elimination, transportation, education, and building design, and environmental concerns. |Develop/Review sustainability program objectives, progress, or status to ensure compliance with policies, standards, regulations, or laws. | Develop, or oversee the development of, and implementation of, sustainability evaluation or monitoring systems. | Evaluate green operations or programs for compliance with standards or regulations. | Evaluate and approve proposals for sustainability projects, considering factors such as cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and integration with other initiatives. |Analyze data to determine project feasibility.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):
Sustainability Manager

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Sustainability Manager

Position Summary: The Sustainability Manager is critical to the University's ability to judiciously manage its investment in physical facilities, to control the costs of operations and to fulfill the University's commitment to environmental sustainability. The Manager's role is to lead sustainability efforts within the Facilities Division and manage the development of comprehensive plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and integrating sustainable practices in all areas of Facilities operations. Strategies will include, for example, conservation, use of sustainable new technologies and products, and adoption of LEED and/or similar standards in construction and renovation. The Sustainability Manager also provides input and technical guidance to the development of feasible sustainability policies and standards that can be implemented at an institutional level. The Sustainability Manager actively promotes sustainability principles, goals, projects and achievements across the University, encourages best practices and peer networking, designs/implements education and outreach programs. Prepares grant proposals and works with institutional advancement, faculty and staff to secure gift/grant funding for sustainability projects. Establishes and maintains systems to ensure integrity in sustainability reporting. Serves as a technical resource to individual offices across campus in the development of their own sustainability goals and plans. Serves as a sustainability liaison with external parties.

Bachelor's Degree (environmental science, business, engineering, or construction management preferred.) Three to five years experience in project management, budgeting, planning and/or policy development, and administration; plus several years experience in a Facilities operations setting or sustainability role; plus expertise in at least one aspect of sustainability (e.g. LEED, EMS.) Must be well-organized, able to handle multiple priorities simultaneously and to manage others in completing work according to a timetable. Must work well with different levels and disciplines of co-workers, as noted above. Must have outstanding communication skills and the ability to educate and motivate others without direct line authority. Proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite, internet research, document writing and layout, and data management. Proficiency in website design and maintenance preferred. Expected to maintain familiarity with the evolving sustainability body of knowledge, as well as with sustainability initiatives (e.g. ACU Presidents Climate Commitment) and standards (e.g. LEED.)


Assist in procuring resources for implementation; prepare grant and budget proposals. Support institutional advancement efforts to obtain gifts to the University for sustainability projects.

Champion sustainability in activities across campus, including the University Committee and Sub Committee for Sustainability. Provide input to sustainability standards and policies that can be implemented at an institutional level (eg conservation, transportation, waste management, green products,….) Collaborate with other departments to analyze environmental claims, payback features and life cycle impact for new products, systems and protocols. Provide project management support as directed by the Director of Sustainability and Energy Management.

Lead the development of comprehensive plans for conservation and sustainability within the Facilities Division to promote progress toward carbon neutrality. Educate personnel on sustainability principles and serve as a resource for conservation, LEED standards, product and equipment selection, and other sustainability issues. Work with Facilities Directors to establish sustainability goals, policies and practices in all Facilities departments, including landscaping, recycling, energy management, construction and special projects, building services, transportation and others. Identify potential for sustainability improvements in each area including conservation, reducing the toxicity of products used, increased recycling and other environmentally-preferable practices. Promote implementation timetables to systematically move sustainability initiatives ahead. Follow up on implementation plans; provide project management for cross-functional projects, as assigned. Assist in preparing requests-for-proposals for contractors and consultants for the sustainability aspects of projects; participate in proposal review and selection processes; review outcomes.

Manage documentation, tracking and reporting to ensure integrity in sustainability reporting. Work with other departments to implement data collection mechanisms, including a database of LEED-eligible points by category by building. Track equipment purchases to monitor sustainability compliance. Coordinate documentation of sustainability practices University-wide. Verify progress and coordinate with other offices to provide consistent, accurate data for sustainability surveys and reports.

Manage education, outreach and promotion to achieve broader awareness of NU's sustainability efforts and accomplishments. Develop and implement programs to educate students, faculty and staff on sustainability, identify opportunities for linkage between operational issues, teaching, co-op and research. Develop and maintain the Facilities portion of sustainability websites. Serve as a sustainability liaison to all University constituents and externally.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (3rd position):
Sr. Sustainability Planner

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Senior Planner – Sustainability

Job Scope: Campus Planning and Facilities are jointly responsible for making the Northeastern campuses embody the best principles of sustainability and resilience. To this end, Campus Planning is seeking to add a member to the planning team to lead the campus policies and programs by creating a strategic framework, a communication plan and innovative partnerships that build on the research and resources in our community and beyond. The goal is to establish a hub for sustainability and resilience that accompanies the academic expertise of Northeastern faculty and the interest and enthusiasm of the student body. Northeastern has a strong reputation for research and teaching in the areas of sustainability and resilience as well as progress in management of energy and facilities that support the teaching and research. While the offerings for research and courses on these topics have increased, our students regularly request stronger evidence of sustainable and resilient policies and practice in our management of resources across campus. The creation of this Senior Planner position can fulfill the aspirations of our carbon reduction commitment and exceed the expectations of our students for the environment we manage on their behalf. By creating a planning position dedicated to sustainability and resilience, the university seeks to optimize the good efforts of faculty, staff and students across the campus.

Bachelor's degree required in Urban/Environmental Planning, Environmental Engineering, or Public Policy with substantial coursework related to sustainability. Masters Degree preferred. 7 to 10 years experience including work with diverse groups, budget trade-offs, policy development and communication consistent with the goals of the Job Summary. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Candidates should be able to work independently, use graphic tools to present information and apply creativity to meeting the challenges of the job. The job requires an understanding of complex data and multiple constituent interests.


Outreach/Communication | Focus on critical need to improve communications of sustainability vision, goals, and milestone progress primarily with the internal NU Community, but also opportunities to market our successes publicly | Regular communication with campus leadership on opportunities to improve sustainability and resilience | Work with External Affairs to develop thoughtful communication approach re: the energy services partnership to highlight the opportunity to meet university sustainability goals and further research |Develop standards and process for tracking sustainability metrics and sharing annual updates with appropriate stakeholders |Prepare presentations on progress and challenges for internal and external audiences

Partnerships |Develop strong partnerships with faculty working on sustainability and resiliency to leverage NU research and innovations to improve sustainability on the Boston campus and globally |Facilitate productive dialogue with student groups to understand their concerns and priorities. Implement operational changes and capital investment that align with strategic vision. |Strengthen connection with local and global organizations that are focused on sustainability (Green Ribbon Commission, Second Nature, etc.) and identify opportunities for Northeastern to take a more active role, particularly with respect to research to support the efforts of these organizations.

Strategy | Establish strategic vision to guide programs and resources for sustainable operations and development at Northeastern in collaboration with university stakeholders including, students, faculty, and staff. | Inform capital planning process through lens of sustainability and resilience, establishing standards and policies to reflect university goals. |Connect with faculty researchers working on sustainability and resilience and conduct research on best practices.

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

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.