Rider strives for sustainability with unique pledge

By Lauren Lavelle

 

The installation of solar panels around campus in 2011 is one of the many environmental initiatives Rider has implemented.

Rider promised to stay committed to efforts regarding climate change on June 5 after President Gregory Dell’Omo signed the “We Are Still In” pledge.

The open letter states that colleges, universities, mayors and business investors in the U.S. will remain dedicated to the ongoing fight against climate change.

“Given Rider’s tremendous emphasis on sustainability, our international ranking as one of the greenest universities in the world and being a charter signatory of The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment [renamed in 2015 as The Carbon Commitment], I have signed the ‘We Are Still In’ pledge,” said Dell’Omo in a press release.

The pledge came about after President Donald Trump’s administrative decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, a global project that helps reduce rising temperatures due to climate change. So far, the pledge has gathered over 1,200 signatures, including 206 colleges and universities.

“I think we’ve gotten to a point where we can all mostly agree this is something that cannot be ignored,” said graduate assistant for sustainability Jillian Spratt. “Despite the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, it goes to show how much we have learned about this issue and understand the importance to act on this issue.”

Ranked one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. by the Princeton Review in 2016, Rider’s sustainable efforts began in 2007 after signing the Carbon Commitment. Since then, water bottle refill stations have been installed in residence halls and academic buildings, a Tri-Generation energy plant was built on campus, a partnership was formed with the United States Green Building Council and Rider’s carbon emission has drastically decreased.

Sustainability manager Melissa Greenberg believes the pledge will positively affect Rider’s green projects and will increase student awareness of environmental dangers.

“Knowledge about this will go a long way,” said Greenberg. “When people find out Rider has committed to this pledge, those who haven’t taken notice before might wonder why we’re taking a stand and why this is important. People who were on the fence about climate change will realize that we do need to pay attention to this.”

There will be many events during the 2017-2018 school year for students wishing to learn more about Rider’s sustainability efforts, including the Green Film Series and National Campus Sustainability Day.

“I love that Rider has taken a stand,” Greenberg said. “We are emerging as a leader in this area.”

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