Northeastern University

Steps Toward Sustainability with Snell Library’s Solar Panels

Dean of the Library Dan Cohen poses next to a solar panel on the Snell Library Quad
Dean of the Library Dan Cohen flips the switch to solar electricity in a ceremony on April 2, 2024.

Northeastern University’s commitment to sustainability was evident at Snell Library on April 2, as the university held a ceremony to unveil the new solar panels installed on the library’s roof as part of the building’s ongoing renovations.

“Libraries have long been associated with light, as places that light up our world. Today, the Northeastern University Library continues this tradition by holding resources and expert staff members that shine light on learning and research,” Dean of the Library Dan Cohen said at the event. “So it’s nice that today we are able to make this association between the library and light literal in addition to metaphorical. We’re thrilled that Snell Library can capture and distribute light in a different way, and that this light will help our campus and our environment.”

The panels will be providing 157.8kWp DC of power to Snell Library and will save around 13,600 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

The project was led by Northeastern’s Planning, Real Estate, and Facilities (PREF) Division, and the panels’ installation was completed by Ameresco, a leading renewable energy integrator. The undertaking also involved efforts by the Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub, NU Trades, and more.

Infographic with statistics on the sustainability of Snell Library's solar panels

Installing rooftop solar panels on an urban campus is a complicated process with multiple considerations to manage. Limited space and logistical complications meant that the project took nearly a year to plan and execute. But Snell Library proved the perfect location for the panels, with its height, flat roof, and minimal shading, and the ongoing renovations to help ensure a seamless integration to the campus’ electrical grid.

Four workers in construction gear pose with a solar panel on the roof of Snell Library
Some of the team of workers installing solar panels on Snell Library’s roof.

“My hope going forward is that all new buildings are going to be designed to hold solar panels so that they’re maximizing as they go,” said Jacob Glickel, Director of Sustainability Operations for PREF.

The Northeastern University Library is excited to play such an important role in Northeastern’s progression toward sustainability.

For more information about the project, visit the PREF website.

Meet the Author: Dr. Emily Fox-Kales!

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 12PM in 90 Snell, Northeastern University Libraries will hold another one of its unique and enlightening Meet the Author events. Come hear author and Northeastern professor, Dr. Emily Fox-Kales, talk about her latest book, Body Shots. Body Shots exposes the scandalous yet disturbing standards centered around Hollywood and the repeating message that thin is beautiful. In her research, Dr. Fox-Kales explores how Hollywood uses films, celebrities, and social media in order to propagate obsessive weight control, self-scrutiny and vigilance, and excessive exercise. By utilizing her studies of psychology, cinema analysis, and gender studies, Dr. Fox-Kales analyzes these Hollywood values and how it unfortunately has become the norm in today’s society to obsess over weight and eating habits. During the Meet the Author event, Dr. Fox-Kales will discuss her new novel in further detail and also sign books following the talk. Books will be available for purchase at a discounted rate and provided by the NU Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information about our Meet the Author series and other related programs, click here!

Promotional Strategies?

As the title may indicate, this is a post that will raise only questions and provide no answers. I hope readers are okay with that, because it’s one of my favorite things to do. These are important questions about the Library website.  First, let me draw your attention to the intriguing organization of the Hunter College Library web page. Not only is their web page beautifully organized, I think, but they have also taken advantage of mentioning the other libraries in the same area. Hunter College is located in Manhattan and is part of the CUNY (City University of New York) system. So one of the links at the bottom-center of their page has to be the CUNY Libraries. Hunter also uses Blackboard, like so many colleges, so it has a link for that. Same with Facebook and Google. But the other three links are to the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library. Why, I asked myself, would Hunter College want to link to institutions that are essentially competitors? There are a few reasons I can think of: 1. Hunter College believes its Library web page is more appealing than the other web pages, so it wants to place a point of comparison in the mind of the visitor. They are hoping that the visitor will be put off by the Queens Library’s web page in comparison to theirs, therefore causing the web page visitor to be more inclined to visit the Hunter College Libraries. (And it knows that the vast majority of visitors are students and faculty, who are in close proximity to their Library; other nearby territory simply must be blocked off.) 2. The Hunter College Library doesn’t care about the amount of attention its website gets, because that alone won’t guarantee more donations or visits to the actual Library. What the staff of the library cares about is the world of reading and researching, period. Any institution that promotes those habits is a friend of theirs in the grand scheme. 3. There is some New York Library web that I’m unaware of; i.e. all these libraries aren’t really competitors at all, but have arrangements where they share books and resources and common donors; Hunter feels obliged to provide links. I am not an advertising expert. But I did major in Communications; so I stand by these educated guesses.  The question simply becomes; do we want to be competitors, or do we want to find common ground? Do we want to acknowledge our connections to the Boston Library system (I think there is one, correct me if I’m wrong?)? Or do we want to take a more isolated approach to Library promotion? That last question sounds silly, because we are not taking an isolated approach. But as of now, we provide no links to libraries in the greater Boston area on our homepage. Considering the vast number of Universities here, not to mention the many branches of the Boston Public Library, we are at no shortage of these “connections.” In fact, by linking to other sites in this blog post, I am publicizing them. Perhaps we should consider these three reasons for linking to other libraries, think of some more reasons and provide links. (For the record, we do provide links to YouTube and Flickr, sites that involve us but are inherently unrelated. Do we think these links are beneficial or are they distracting?)

Recording Studios open for business at the DMDS

The Digital Media Design Studio (DMDS) has two recording studios available for student use. Based on your equipment needs, you may be required to book an appointment with a DMDS staff person while using the audio and video recording studios. Studio Guidelines 1. No food or beverages are allowed in the studios. 2. All users of the studios must have a current NU ID. Audio Recording Studio- Room 208 The soundproof studio seats up to five people comfortably. Software includes GarageBand and Logic Pro. Hardware includes a MacPro, a 4-channel Mackie mixing board, an Oxygen 8 USB midi keyboard, and a condenser microphone. Video Recording Studio- Room 210 The soundproof studio accommodates individuals and small groups. A green screen is mounted on the wall. A professional quality three-point lighting kit is also available for use by appointment only, in the DMDS. The Video Recording Studio can be used simultaneously with the Audio Studio, depending on your production needs. Copyright and appropriate use Use of the DMDS is governed by NU’s appropriate use policy and by copyright law. For more information consult this link: