Rider co-signs letter to Biden administration urging carbon reduction

By Olivia Nicoletti

Rider signed a letter to President Joe Biden urging his administration to adopt carbon reduction goals —  a plan that has hopes of reducing 50% of carbon emissions by 2030, leading to a further goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a university press release. 

Rider co-signed the letter with 74 other universities and colleges on April 8, a sign of increasing pressure on the federal government to adopt eco-friendly public policy initiatives.

The press release also stated that Rider has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. The school is already on the path to doing so, with its decrease in carbon emissions by 40% since 2006. It is now 25% toward its final goal. 

“The United States re-entered the Paris Agreement in February and needs to submit a carbon emission goal, known as a nationally determined contribution,” according to a university press release. “Rider, along with the letter’s co-signers, hopes the bold 2030 goal will be adopted by the White House.”

Rider has shown dedication in the past to the national effort to combat climate change. It has been partnered with Second Nature, an organization “that aims to advance solutions toward climate change specifically through institutions of higher education,” according to a university press release, for over 12 years and has taken advantage of opportunities to get involved, according to Director of Sustainability Melissa Greenberg.  

“Having an annual deadline for greenhouse gas emissions reporting through Second Nature keeps us on top of all our campus carbon contributors and generates meaningful goals for reduction opportunities,” said Greenberg. “Being part of a group of colleges and universities that have made combating climate change a priority puts us in good company and gives Rider University a global platform for our efforts.”  

Rider’s Carbon Neutrality plan was amended in 2016. The plan suggests ways to reduce the main contributors to its overall annual greenhouse gas emissions.

 “Since then, many energy efficiency projects have taken place — the Tri-Gen energy plant was built, [The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] LEED buildings were added to our inventory, electric vehicle charging stations were introduced, a 740-kW solar array was constructed and green offsets have been purchased to offset our annual energy use,” Greenberg said. “The plan is also tied to the facilities master plan completed in 2018 and the Energy Master Plan that was done in 2019. All of these initiatives have put Rider in a position to achieve our carbon neutrality goal earlier than the 2050 target.”

According to the press release, The Princeton Review has named Rider “one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges for 11 years straight.” 

The next step is to continue to evaluate the student interaction with climate change and promote ways to get involved. Greenberg expressed her gratitude towards the volunteer Green Team and their increased motivation to become educated on the matter.

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“Since I began my position at Rider in 2008,  there has been a steady increase in student involvement around sustainability,” Greenberg said. “I attended a student job fair in 2009 in order to build a team of Eco-Reps and have not attended a job fair since. Any vacant positions are quickly filled through word-of-mouth by students with an interest in getting involved advocating for the environment.”

Greenberg sees the importance of involvement in improving climate change because she understands the detrimental effects of doing nothing.

“I am proud to work for a university that is committed to reducing our environmental impact, has included sustainability in our overall campus master plan and is working toward a goal of carbon neutrality,” Greenberg said. “There is a growing awareness on the campus and we cannot do it alone. I want to thank the members of the Rider community for their continued support in this endeavor.”

Caption: Director of Sustainability Melissa Greenberg said that she saw the importance of involvement in improving climate change because she understands the detrimental effects of inaction.

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