By Neil Rasbury
The members of Rider Sustainability spoke about the recent news of Rider University’s recent selection as one of the upcoming “green” campuses, the new installation of the Dream Machine, and student involvement.
Melissa Greenberg, Sustainability Coordinator, sat down and spoke about the installation of the Dream Machine as well as why students should get involved with the Sustainability Program at Rider.
“We hope to draw attention with a PSA to show why it’s important. It would be a nice visual display and it would give students and incentive to recycle,” said Greenberg.
The Sustainability group patterned with PepsiCo Inc. and Waste Management recently just added a new “Dream Machine” in the SRC on the Lawrenceville campus and one on the Westminster Campus in the Student Center. According to the Rider News article the Machine includes a point system with Greenopolis.com. Both students and faculty will receive a card and each time they recycle, they will add points that can be redeemed for prizes. Greenberg is hopes that this new installation will change the perspective of current students. However, the more people recycle, the more PepsiCo Inc, will donated money to Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
She believes that there are going to be more improvements. “Students are going to demand change. When we have students that come in educated there is going to be a shift and students are going to demand change.” “ People need to be more open-minded. You can do little things that make a big impact,”said Greenberg.
She said the one of the problems with the Lawrenceville campus is people have a lack of knowledge about the subject matter. However, she said it is “getting better.”
Rider student, junior Allison Ingram, a major in Environmental Science, and is environmentally aware agrees that Rider has improved with being green with implementing the Green Go containers in Cranberries, the new water fountains, and plans to use the Dream Machine. However, she thinks that students can do more on their part with “using Brita filters and the water fountains to fill up reusable bottles and cut down on plastic waste.”
One of the founding members of the Steering Committee, Dr. Laura Hyatt, agrees that the knowledge is getting better but that Rider can “always be more sustainable.” “The beautiful thing about Sustainability is there are always connections to be made.”
Dr. Laura Hyatt functions as the Assistant Science Dean at Rider University and is one of the Steering Committee members.
Rider’s Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee, which was formed in 2007, produces annual reports that describe activities on campus that support our sustainability mission. Some activities like Earth Day, Earth Hour, and the ever-popular Cranberry Fest are initiated by the steering committee. The mission of the Steering Committee is to inform students about the environment through the classroom, resident life, as well as jobs and internships.
Dr. Hyatt talks about how she got involved. “The township was participating in Sustainable Lawrence. Where we were thinking about how do we go about making Lawrence Township greener? How do we improve people’s awareness about how their choices affect the environment? Then I got to thinking about ways we can generate energy on our campus. If we can reduce our energy usage, we can have more money to create more energy. It got me asking how can we make Rider a “greener” place.”
That began the start of the Steering Committee. President Rozanski signed the Presidential Climate Commitment that Dr. Hyatt says, “promises that we don’t make more carbon dioxide then we absorb.”
In addition, to founding Rider’s Sustainability Program, she also helps with the sponsors “giveaways”, started the campus garden, and the beehive, which is located behind West Village. Dr. Hyatt spoke about how she starred with the garden.
“We started with a little tiny garden plot down by the lecture halls, started growing stuff there. That was really fun, but I wanted to make produce to give it to Aramark to feed students with it. They said to me ‘we can’t take your produce because its not grown in a safe location. [Therefore], we needed to get a fence. So we got a bigger space and a bigger fence and we worked hard last year to get it all up an running. At the same time, the bee woman came. Then I thought those bees can help pollinate the garden, which means more fruits and vegetables and all those lovely things. So we decided to let the bees pollinate the garden.” Dr. Hyatt came to another discovery about compost. She decided that red Earth compost was the right decision. Not only do the worms get food, but also they will help with the composition process. Hyatt says it “closes the loop.”
She also believes that is process of tending to the garden and the beehive has created a community of environmental aware students. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Hyatt also discusses the recent news that Rider University was selected in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges. Hyatt replied “It’s great, but there is always room for improvement. When you look at all the colleges in the Atlantic, the things they are doing a Middleberry College they are going food and feeding it on campus. “
Greenberg and Dr. Hyatt also agree that students should look into Sustainability minor. Greenberg says “Any field can benefit and that people don’t realize how many areas that sustainability affects.” She also says that we need to think about how it will affect future generations.
The Sustainability Studies program acknowledges that this subject is “clearly a defining issue of the 21st century” by showing students how the environmental and the human population are connected. The program provides students with the opportunity to understand and explore “what going green really means.” Greenberg says, “It surrounds everything.”
Because Ingram is an environmental science major, most of her classes overlap with the sustainability minor. She says that the minor would benefit other environmental science majors as well as business majors. “It is important for understanding green practices, green business, and climate change.”
“If you want to go green you don’t have to uproot your life, just tweak it. One person can make a huge difference,” said Greenberg.