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How does Northeastern take sustainable practices to the next level?

A new course kicking off this fall will examine the university’s efforts to conserve energy, reduce food waste, and participate in other environmental initiatives that impact both the Boston campus and the residential neighborhoods surrounding it.

“Universities are anchors in their communities,” says Stephen Flynn, a professor of political science and a leading expert on critical infrastructure and supply chain resilience. “Providing leadership—not just thought leadership and leadership through research and teaching, but really through the engagement of the community—is essential to getting us to a better place.”

Flynn, founding director of Northeastern’s Global Resilience Institute, is one of the guest speakers for the seven-week course titled Sustainability & Resilience at Northeasternwhich will meet Tuesday evenings in-person and online starting on Sept. 14. Registration is still open.

“What the events of just last week with Hurricane Ida really highlighted is that while we’re currently trying to do things to put us on a much better trajectory without doing harm to our environment, the reality is we have already triggered enormous disruption in our lives that is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future,” he says.

Flynn’s talk on resilience is scheduled for Sept. 28, and he’ll be joined by Maria Cimilluca, vice president of facilities management at Northeastern. She is leading efforts to transition some 140 gas-powered vehicles in the university’s fleet to electric models over the next few years. Charging stations are also being added to two campus parking garages.

Jennie Stephens, director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, who conducts research on the social and political aspects of renewable energy transformation, energy democracy, and climate resilience, is the course’s primary instructor.

She and Kathy Spiegelman, vice president of campus planning and real estate, will kick off the seminar on Sept. 14 by sharing their expertise on sustainability, resilience, and climate justice. They will be followed the following week by Michael Kane, a civil and environmental engineering professor, and Joe Lalley, associate vice president of operations, who will speak about energy management.