Our Culture of Sustainability: Principles into Practice

At Northeastern, many programs and people work to keep the university green and uphold best practices in sustainability. If you have questions, wish to get involved as a volunteer, or would like to take part in the Green Office Challenge, contact Sustainability Program Manager Carol Rosskam.


Tap Water Testing and Conservation
Find out how clean Boston tap water really is, and cut back on bottled water consumption. Mass Water Resources Authority publishes everything you might want to know about your local water, including annual reports on drinking water test results, information on lead in tap water Massachusetts’ is lead free), and information on free water conservation kits.

Lab and Research Safety
The university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety is committed to providing a safe and healthful learning, teaching, and research environment that protects faculty, staff, and students from exposure to hazardous materials, safeguards against occupational injuries and illnesses, and complies with federal, state, and local regulations.


Cosmetics Safety
The Story of Cosmetics, released on July 21, 2010, at storyofcosmetics.org, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals toward safer alternatives. The film concludes with a call for viewers to support legislation aimed at ensuring the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.

The film was made in close partnership with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition working to protect the health of consumers and workers by securing the corporate, regulatory, and legislative reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products.

Tips on Reducing Hazardous Household Products
Find out which hazardous household products contribute to environmental pollution and how to avoid them.

Sustainably Made Clothing
Choose from a selection of organic cotton and fair-trade collegiate clothing by Knights Apparel’s brand Alta Gracia, available in the campus bookstore. The bookstore also offers products made by Columbia and Under Armour, which are known for their recycled content and sustainable manufacturing processes.


Recycling for Printer Cartridges
Don’t throw out your used printer cartridges. Recycling them is easy. Northeastern University is partnering with Hewlett-Packard Planet Partners program to recycle LaserJet and inkjet cartridges through the HP Planet Partners program. It’s a free and convenient way to do your part for the planet while earning points that can be redeemed toward printer supplies through the PurchasEdge program.

For questions about recycling cartridges or how you may be eligible for a free printer through the PurchasEdge Program, email Denise Young in Procurement Services or call her at 617.373.2494.

Key Recycling
Northeastern has teamed up with keyforhope.org, an Avon, Mass.-based nonprofit dedicated to recycling old keys and directing the money toward providing food and clothing for shelters. Bring your old keys to Work Order, Cullinane Hall, 288 St. Botolph St. (in back of the YMCA Boston, across from Hurtig Hall), where you’ll find two designated recycling buckets. The organization has already recycled more than 50,000 keys.

In this biannual event held during Move In and Move Out weeks, students donate useable items they would otherwise throw out. Volunteer’s from Northeastern’s Husky Energy Action Team collect and store the items until the following season, when they are sold during a campus-wide tag sale. All proceeds go to designated Northeastern Student organizations and local community/environmental organizations. Leftover items are donated to a different local charity each year. Event details will be posted closer to the date.

For questions on recycling, contact Peter Lembo, Northeastern’s recycling program manager.


Northeastern University is committed to research and education in sustainability as one of the university’s main strategic and programmatic pillars (health, security, and sustainability).

Sustainability Resources at Snell Library
Find books, journals, abstracts, and more on Snell Library’s Sustainability Resources site.


Bike Maintenance and Repair
The university features a self-service bike-repair stand underneath the archway near the north tower of West Village A. There is also a bike repair station inside East Village that’s available only to residents of the building.

Bike Registration
The Northeastern University Police Department offers a bicycle registration program that provides valuable discounts and security benefits.

Bike Sharing Program
Northeastern has partnered with Hubway, Metro Boston’s bicycle share system, to provide discounted annual memberships to all Northeastern students, faculty, and staff. Hubway provides a convenient, economical, and environmentally friendly form of transportation. Northeastern membership costs only $50 to get started (compared to $85 annually), and all rides under thirty minutes are free.

Here’s how you can get started. Navigate to thehubway.com/signup and enter code HUSKY on your application to receive your discounted rate. Your Hubway key will be mailed to you within 7 business days. Activate it online and you are ready to ride.

Bike Stations
Northeastern has partnered with the city of Boston by sponsoring a bike station in the North Lot (the surface lot next to Stetson East) and one adjacent to Northeastern’s Renaissance Parking Garage as part of the Hubway Bikeshare program. Plan your route with this Boston Bike Map. The university also offers an indoor bicycle-locking area at Renaissance Park Garage, and showers and lockers are available for bicyclists to use at the Marino Center and Squashbusters.

Northeastern University 2014 Hubway Infographic

Commuting at Northeastern
The Northeastern University Commuting Services website offers plenty of information about your daily commute.

Commuting Benefits
Faculty and staff may purchase transit passes on a pre-tax basis through payroll deduction and students can access additional transportation resources—including discounted rail passes—on the Off Campus Student Services website. Northeastern is also a partner of MassRIDES, a service of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) that promotes smarter commuting options and practices.

Vehicles and Parking
The university has acquired several small electric vehicles for use on campus by facilities personnel. Electric charging stations are available off-campus; check this map for nearby locations.

For faculty and staff using Northeastern’s multiple on-campus parking facilities, parking permits may be purchased quarterly or annually through payroll deduction using pre-tax dollars. Northeastern offers four preferred parking spaces in the Gainsborough Garage first floor for faculty and staff with daytime decals who travel with at least three total occupants.

The university also offers two carsharing programs. Zipcar, now part of the Avis Car Rental Corp. and Enterprise CarShare. For nearly a decade, Northeastern has maintained numerous Zipcar accounts and facilitated access to Zipcar spots adjacent to campus. The accounts are for departmental use by employees, usually paid with a university-issued purchase card;  in addition, affiliate accounts are open to faculty, staff, and students 21 and over. Northeastern members who join under the affiliate program set up their own personal accounts.

Enterprise CarShare is available for faculty, staff, and students who are 18 years and older. It provides a convenient, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to using a personal vehicle, with cars parked on site at Matthews Arena, North Lot, Ryder Lot, and Columbus Garage, giving members access to vehicles 24/7, which can be reserved by the hour or by the day.

Click here for more information or to join today.

Campus Groups

Engineers Without Borders
The Northeastern chapter of Engineers Without Borders gives engineering students the opportunity to donate their time and skills to communities around the world. Recent projects include designing water-supply systems in Honduras and Uganda.

Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT)
The Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT) is a student group working toward environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality at Northeastern. HEAT is part of Campus Climate Challenge, a nationwide coalition of more than 500 schools working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses.

Oxfam America NU
The Oxfam America Club at Northeastern University strives to finds sustainable solutions to hunger, poverty, and social injustice.

Northeastern University Vegetarians United
Northeastern University Vegetarians United’s (NUVU) mission is to promote knowledge of the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle within the Northeastern community, to build awareness of animal friendly products available to the Northeastern community, promote and network at vegetarian events in the metropolitan Boston area, and to educate the Northeastern community about the ethical, nutritional, environmental, political, and economic benefits associated with a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

Slow Food NU
Slow Food NU works to increase consciousness about the food system and its relation to social justice through deliberate and meaningful service projects, educational events, and transformative dialogue. These efforts establish and sustain lasting relationships with like-minded student groups, organizations, and initiatives throughout Northeastern’s campus and surrounding Boston neighborhoods.

Student Government Association
Northeastern’s SGA sponsors and promotes various campus initiatives in sustainability, from RecycleMania to the Renewable Energy Initiatives Board (REIB). Email the association here.