Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 34.87
Liaison Courtney Gallaher
Submission Date June 4, 2024

STARS v2.2

Northern Illinois University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Courtney Gallaher
Associate Professor, Sustainability Coordinator
Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
The Green Paws Environmental Alliance is dedicated to inspiring environmental activism in students at Northern Illinois University. We offer a variety of events to give students an opportunity to make a difference on campus and in their community.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project 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:
Located on the east side of NIU's Anderson Hall, this community vegetable garden was established in the spring of 2014. It is just one of the many sites that make up the network of gardens around DeKalb County as a part of DeKalb County Community Gardens (DCCG). The garden is overseen by a staff member, but student volunteers and interns run the garden.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
Ellington’s Restaurant provides students studying hospitality and tourism management the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a restaurant setting. As part of their course requirements, students are responsible for planning, preparing and serving three-course meals, each centered on a unique theme.

Students participate in Ellington’s as part of the coursework in HOSP 320, a required class for hospitality and tourism management majors. Students are divided into teams, and each student assumes a role commonly found in a food service operation, such as general manager or executive chef.

As the semester starts, students learn about running a restaurant. The student teams also begin to develop and test the recipes they will serve. Several weeks into the semester, customers begin arriving for lunch service. Each student team prepares and serves their themed meal multiple times a semester.

Students are assessed for their performance in the roles they assume. Team building is a major part of HOSP 320, as each group is evaluated as a whole. Peer assessment is another important part of the class. Students also value customer feedback.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative 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:

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:
NIU hosted a Worldwide Teach In for Climate Justice in the spring of 2022, which included 7 panel discussions that were facilitated and attended by students from around campus.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
NIU Outdoor Adventure trips aim to provide a variety of enjoyable and affordable positive experiences from clinics to lengthy expeditions. Trips are designed to be fun, yet educational, and allow individuals and groups to learn the skills necessary to enjoy the outdoors. Our trips promote responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources.


Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
Students can work as paid interns through our communiversity garden and as assistants to the campus sustainability coordinator.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.