Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Northeastern Research in Sustainability
Sustainability constitutes one of the three major research areas targeted by Northeastern. Some examples of current sustainability research are summarized below.
Sustainable Water Resources
Water systems are often stressed by humans and in the urban environment the interaction between water and human systems is intense and associated problems acute and severe. The water environment is impacted by historical legacy (i.e. Superfund), contemporary (present wastewater discharges) and future (terrorist attacks, global warming) activities and events. Critical problems include adequate source, treatment and delivery of potable drinking water; treatment, disposal and reuse of wastewater; the sustainable management and restoration of natural surface and groundwater resources, and the sediment based ecosystem. Contaminants of emerging concern (e.g., endocrine disrupting compounds, nanoparticles, and PPCPs) and novel technologies (e.g. molecular tools, nanotechnology, cyber-infrastructure) cut across these problem areas.
The Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology (NUCRET) conducts research on renewable energy alternatives and aims to be at the frontier of science and technology of clean energy conversion and storage. NUCRETs efforts includes materials science, advanced in situ spectroscopy, micro-fabrication methods and manufacturing technology. NUCRET Professor Sanjeev Mukerjee and Eugene Smotkin of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology are working on highly efficient, ultra-small fuel cells.
In the NSF-funded Center for high-rate Nanomanufacturing, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Professor Jacqueline Isaacs leads a Research Thrust area on Societal Implications of Nanotechnology that has a significant component of sustainability, in terms of using Life Cycle Assessment tools to result in sustainable nanomanufacturing.
Urban Sustainability and Economic Development
Law, Policy & Society Professor Joan Fitzgerald carries out research on "Emerald Cities," dealing with how cities around the world are using sustainable green technology both to reduce their carbon footprint and to boost their economic development.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Community Outreach and Climate Change
Northeastern University is represented on the City of Bostons Climate Action Leadership Committee by Stephanie Pollack, Associate Director of Northeasterns Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. The Committee was formed in March 2009 by Bostons Mayor Thomas M. Menino . The Boston Climate Action Leadership Committee, a 22-member group representing Bostons diverse local communities, is charged with charting Bostons collective response to climate change.
During October 2009, Northeastern held its first Campus Sustainability Week. Eleven events were offered in five days and presented significant educational opportunities to faculty, staff, students, and in some cases, the public. Key themes throughout the week included climate change, reduction of carbon emissions, and energy, as well as green chemistry/toxics reduction, food/agricultural production, green business, and art. The Art and Sustainability exhibit included nearly 60 artistic expressions of climate change, sustainability, and the human impacts from environmental destruction.
Northeastern is one of the most prominent universities nationwide that integrates Co-operative and Experiential Learning into its educational process. Historically, Northeastern has emphasized experiential and service learning since it was founded. Northeastern is actively developing definitions of, and parameters for Green Co-ops and other Sustainability-based Experiential Learning opportunities that are offered to students through various departments and programs. In October, 2009, Northeasterns Career Services held a Green Careers workshop for students to discuss different ways to enter environmentally oriented and green jobs.