1. Northwestern University is committed to being a leader in sustainability. As a member of the NU community, we’re asking you to reduce your impact and contribute to a healthier more sustainable environment.

    Please check what you're already doing and pledge to help more – But first we would like to hear about you:

  2. Please start by filling in your information below:
  3. Full Name(*)
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  4. E-mail(*)
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    We will email you a pdf version of your pledge
  5. Affiliation(*)

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  6. School(*)
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  7. Select your status:(*)
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  8. Department(*)
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  9. Do you live in a residence
    hall/college or Greek house?(*)
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  10. Residence Hall(*)
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  11. Building(*)
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  12. Room/Office Number:
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    I hereby pledge to:
  1. energy Conserve Energy
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  3. The simplest way to save energy is to turn off your lights – learn about the lbs/year of carbon dioxide emissions emitted from certain light bulbs.
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  5. The lighting fixtures NU provides are already energy efficient, but if you brought a personal lamp with you, are living off-campus, or work in a department, use a CFL or LED in your fixture. On average, they use 75% less energy than their incandescent equivalent, and last six times as long. Just make sure to recycle it properly when it finally does burn out.
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  7. Set your computer to “Power Saver” so it will go into standby or sleep mode after a few minutes of inactivity. Computers use 80% less energy while in this mode & will ‘wake’ up in seconds with the click of your mouse. Learn about NUIT's energy savings policy.
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  9. Electronics can draw electricity even when they’re turned off. This ‘vampire draw’ is estimated at almost $10 billion of electricity per year in the U.S.
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  11. Choose "cold" or "bright colors" on the washer when you're doing your laundry. 90% of the energy used in washing clothes comes from heating the water. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, washing clothes on cold or warm is sufficient, and simply using warm instead of hot can cut energy use in half.
  12. energy Reduce Waste
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  14. Bring your own utensils, mugs, and other reusable materials to any event or location where disposables are offered. Use a reusable mug when buying coffee on the run – most places offer a discount when using your own.
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  16. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Host a clothing swap or donate items to charity resale shops. The annual “take it or leave it” move-out program offers collection sites for clothing, household items, and food at the end of the school year in the residence halls/colleges. This site also offers donation options throughout the year.
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  18. Reduce, reuse, recycle is our mantra and reducing junk mail is an easy first step. Online services such as, catalogchoice.org or PaperKarma are great places to start.
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  20. There are regulations for handling hazardous materials, learn more on the NU Recycling page and the Office of Supplies and Equipment.
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  22. If you must print, print double-sided, in black & white, and reduce your margins. Please distribute meeting materials electronically and ask your professors if you can email your assignments.
  23. energy Eat Sustainably
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  25. How you choose to fill your plate has an impact on the environment. The difference in energy and water needed to produce a vegetarian diet versus the average meat-based diet is significant. Reducing meat consumption has a positive impact on the environment and health. Northwestern Dining practices Meatless Monday’s in the dining halls, learn more about Northwestern Dining sustainability initiatives.
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  27. Only take what you know you want to eat, you can always go back for seconds if necessary. Food scraps rank second in their contribution to solid waste in the U.S., accounting for 14.5 percent of our garbage. By consciously choosing food, you can take control of a large portion of the waste you produce.
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  29. Items produced locally have a lower transportation impact and arrive fresher. Food grown organically is safer for us, our water supply and wildlife. Learn about Northwestern Dining’s local food initiatives. Also download the "Eat Local" app to find out the produce in season and find your local farmers markets!
  30. energy Save Water
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  32. Evanston and Chicago tap water is monitored closely to ensure there is safe and clean water coming from the sink. Bottled water is not monitored or regulated as astringently and costs significantly more. Carry your reusable water bottle with you and fill it at one of 40 filling stations on campus.
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  34. You can save up to 8 gallons of water each day by simply turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and shave.
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  36. How low can you go? Can you make your shower two minutes shorter, three?
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  38. A leaking faucet can waste more water than one would think. Contact Facilities management or School Dude (on-campus residences only).
  39. energy Travel Sustainably
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  41. Evanston and Chicago have fantastic public transportation; the CTAMetra, and Pace Bus system can get you almost anywhere!
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  43. Cycling or walking are better for you and the environment! NU has over 7,200 spots for bicycle parking. Evanston and Chicago are both rapidly adding protected cycling lanes.
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  45. These alternatives can save you money. Find people to carpool with or use Zipcar or Enterprise when you need wheels for errands or a group outing.
  46. energy Get Engaged
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  48. Did you know NU purchases renewable energy certificates equal to half of its electricity use, which represents a reduction of 85,000 metric tons of green house gases? Learn how NU is working to become a leader in sustainability and more by getting involved! Check out events/activities and student organizations  to help support our environmental initiatives.
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  50. Find out who the Eco-Rep is in your office or residence hall/college/greek house and see what you can do to support their efforts. Office Green Teams are created through the Green Office Certification program. Don’t have an Eco Rep or Green Team? Contact the Office of Sustainability to learn about filling this role!
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  52. Everything you buy carries some environmental impact. Consider recyclability, packaging, and renewable options in all your purchases.
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  54. When working on school or work projects, consider how to integrate sustainability into the process and the product.
  55. energy Green the Labs
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  57. Visit MITs Green Alternatives Wizard to bone up on less toxic lab techniques.
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  59. Fume hoods use significant energy - A single fume hood running 24 hours uses as much energy as a single-family home. Whenever you walk away, don't forget to shut the sash. Learn how to calculate how much energy your sash uses and its cost.
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  61. There are several new innovative technologies ands organizations dedicated to improving the environmental performance of laboratories, including I2SL.
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  63. It’s a no brainer. Turning off the non-essentials will reduce energy use, energy costs, environmental impacts, and in some cases increase the life of the equipment.
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  65. As long as things are not contaminated, it's safe to recycle them in the a lab plastics recycling bin. If you have any questions about whether something is safe to recycle, please review the Office of Research Safety's website.
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  67. Seeding Labs is a 501c3 non-profit organization that organizes a Lab Equipment Transfer Program for other universities in low- and middle-income countries.
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  69. The use of -80F freezers is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions on campus. According to data compiled on the EPA/DOE Labs 21 Program Energy Efficient Equipment wiki, the direct cost of electricity use for an individual -80F freezer could be between $1,000 and $1,500 per year.
  1. Almost Done - Thank you for pledging to make a more sustainable Northwestern University!

    If you're interested in learning more, please visit the Northwestern University Office of Sustainability website.

About the Pledge

The sustainNU Green Pledge is a set of actions ranging from energy conservation to engagement. Most of these are everyday choices that can impact your environmental footprint; the water you use, the waste you create or your contribution to the NU community and beyond. These actions may seem simple, but when you and your peers all make a commitment; the impact can be game changing!

This is why we ask you to join us in reducing our collective impact by taking the sustainNU Green Pledge. Everyone is welcome including students, faculty, staff, researchers, and others associated with Northwestern University.

When you're finished, you’ll receive an email summarizing your pledge; please don’t print this! Keep it and look back at it throughout the year to remind you of your commitment to sustainNU.