Rider named “Green College” for 12th straight year

By Olivia Nicoletti

Rider University’s continuous efforts in improving its environment have once again secured them a spot on The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition. 

The ‘green college rankings’ were first launched in 2010 and Rider has received a spot on the list every year since. Many changes have been made in the past by the university to encourage students and faculty to engage in sustainability on campus.

In 2016, a Carbon Neutrality plan was put in place to help reduce the main contributors to its overall annual greenhouse gas emissions. Some organizations such as Second Nature, have partnered with Rider to combat climate change. In April of 2021, Rider co-signed a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration to adopt carbon reduction goals. 

Along with the efforts that the university has put in, the green team organization and their eco reps also focused on keeping the campus sustainable on a daily basis.

Director of Sustainability Melissa Greenberg said she is, “proud to have been a part of so many initiatives over the years that solidified Rider’s place in the Princeton Review as a ‘green campus’ and the unfinished work [they] are still doing to reach our goal of carbon neutrality.”

Tara Towson, a junior elementary education major, became an eco rep in the fall semester of 2021. She has great pride in her position on campus and hopes to continue inspiring others to get involved.

“There are many ways we implement sustainability around campus including a Solar array through the partnership of PSE&G, tracking energy use through energy submeters, a biodigester in the dining hall that converts food waste into greywater to divert from landfills, and many more. It is important to us that we reach students and faculty to ensure they do their part on campus as well,” said Towson. 

Fellow eco rep, Kayelena Brimage, a junior entrepreneurial studies major, became a part of the team the same semester as Towson.

In agreement with Towson, Brimage said, “We have green team meetings and events to boost the importance of going green and how it affects the environment by making conscientious decisions.”

An important aspect of their job is engaging and encouraging students on campus to get involved. 

“We hold green team meetings talking about climate issues and how students can do their part. We also table all over campus to educate students on campus projects like fill it forward which involves scanning a sticker after filling water bottles on campus to give back to communities who don’t have water while saving plastic bottles,” Towson said. “We also have our green film series which has an assortment of environmental movies to keep students engaged and educated. Students can even do their part by just recycling correctly. Rider campus accepts recycling numbers one, two and five for plastics and aluminum when rinsed out as well as paper and cardboard.”

Greenberg said, “At the very least, [students] can follow the eco reps on social media for information about upcoming events, sustainability news and current events.”

In addition to the environment on campus, Greenberg encouraged college students, “To understand their own impact on the world around them and understand that the choices they make when it comes to the environment, matter. The extent of their participation will vary from casting votes for only political candidates that want to lower local and nationwide environmental impacts to seeking a career within a direct environmental field. The current generation of college students will become tomorrow’s innovators, educators, policymakers and business and world leaders that will need to work toward combating the climate crisis.”

After years of dedication to sustainability on campus, Greenberg and the eco reps are proud to have been a part of these movements.

“It is an honor for all of our hard work in the Office of Sustainability to be recognized,” Towson said. “We do so much around campus to ensure our campus stays green and getting the word of sustainability out there is top priority.”

The Green Team is hosting a meeting on Feb. 10, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., students are welcome to join in-person or virtually.

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