As the leaves begin to change to orange and a chill comes back into the air, autumn lovers have a lot to be happy about. October is equally exciting for those working in sustainability, as it is designated as national Campus Sustainability Month for colleges and universities across the country.
First established in 2003 by The Society for College and University Planning, the month is used to highlight the importance of sustainability and set academic goals for bringing this topic into the classroom for the year ahead.
“As an educational institution recognized by the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, Rider recognizes the importance of sustainability, not only in managing campus buildings, but also in the academic programs taught within them,” said Sustainability Studies program director, Daniel Druckenbrod.
The Office of Sustainability is preparing for its tenth annual celebration of Campus Sustainability Day. This decade of working toward environmentally conscious and carbon neutralizing goals has seen a great deal of change within the field, both in society at large and on campus.
In 2008, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals was created as an organization to guide the growth of the occupational profession. Today, this organization has more than 1,000 members. The organization provides credentials for professionals working toward the triple bottom line, demonstrating the establishment of this growing career opportunity for over ten years, according to sustainabilityprofessionals.org.
The spread of sustainability has brought along exciting new connections, and has moved into the spotlight of a variety of industries outside its environmentalist roots.
With the focus on people, profit and planet equality, businesses are continuing to recognize sustainability as a smart move for financial futures.
Since 2008, reporting of sustainable development goals and mitigation through the Global Reporting Initiative has grown nearly 100 times, from 358 practitioners to 30,525 in 2017.
Students who want to learn more about sustainable business and get valuable work experience can do so through Rider’s interdisciplinary minor in sustainability studies.
Druckenbrod said, “Students gain real-world experience in sustainability with an internship. Recent placements reflect the diverse interests of our students with internships at corporate, non-profit, and government organizations.”
Crosswalks are also being built between sustainability and the arts on campus with this year’s Dance and Sustainability Project (DASP), led by Kimberly Vaccaro, director of the dance program.
“The team we have assembled is an exceptional group of caring, intelligent, motivated artists who value clean air and water,” said Vaccaro.
By partnering with the environmentally-focused dance company, Artichoke Dance, performances this year will examine interactions with the environment and the impacts of pollution.
Vaccaro said, “I am delighted to be able to use our collective creativity in service of the planet. Our arts give us the opportunity to heighten awareness through dance, music and film.”
While you flip to October in your calendar, take a moment to consider how sustainability is relevant to your own life and studies. Make an effort to connect to Campus Sustainability Month and the decade of sustainability legacy being built at Rider and around the world by finding your own way to bring this issue to life.
“It’s important to utilize the arts when trying to get certain messages, like sustainability, across,” said Christina Ficarra, student DASP project manager. “You can read all of the statistics you want and they are just numbers, but art, and, in this case, dance, specifically touches and impacts you in ways that words just can’t.”
Rider’s tenth annual Campus Sustainability Day festival will be on Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Campus Mall. The campus community is welcome to join the celebration, filled with games, giveaways and information from on-campus and local organizations.
Campus Sustainability Month celebrations will continue with a pub night on Oct. 25 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., featuring live music from local recycled-instrument band, Homeless Apians.
Graduate Assistant for Sustainability