In October of 2008, we launched the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). With the support of President Morton Schapiro, ISEN is dedicated to supporting the growth of research, education and outreach in the areas of sustainability and energy at Northwestern University, and raising the visibility of the cutting-edge work being done by its students, researchers, and faculty members alike.
We are proud to report that we have seen significant progress during our tenure. Nearly 950 students have enrolled in ISEN courses as the interdisciplinary classroom model has flourished, and beginning in the Fall of 2012, ISEN was pleased to announce the launch of an undergrduate certificate in Energy and Sustainability. We have provided approximately 225 research grants for students and faculty and have co-sponsored dozens of events with university partners, with a goal of informing and educating the Northwestern and local community about complex energy and sustainability challenges and solutions. ISEN is leading our campus in the support of new energy innovation research and is actively communicating advances in these complimentary fields. ISEN’s website is an ever-growing platform that highlights the broad survey of resources that exist on campus, including upcoming events, leading research, and a diverse body of student groups. Together with Brad Sageman, Director of Education and Special Projects, Kelly Glenn, Director of Development for Interdisciplinary Research Centers, Donna Kwiatkowski, Research Administrator, Jeff Henderson, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, and Kelly Helgeson, Program Assistant, ISEN is dedicated to fostering research, teaching and outreach. To that end, we were especially proud to be named in the November 2011 Northwestern Strategic Plan, in which Energy and Sustainability is highlighted as one of "Northwestern's areas of greatest strength." Strides that the University has taken, including the 2011 hiring of Rob Whittier, Northwestern's first ever Director of Sustainability, tell us that these issues permeate the highest levels of priority institutionally.
Even with our successes, challenges remain. Rolling out new curriculum, sponsoring events, funding research requests from students and faculty, strengthening partnerships, and developing new initiatives keeps us busy. We continue to seek new funding opportunities and we are constantly working to reliably measure the impact of our grants and outreach initiatives. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that our limited resources are deployed in support of the most effective and worthwhile activities.
If you have thoughts or ideas about how ISEN can be of service to you – faculty, student, staff or community member – we welcome your call.