By Lauren Lavelle
Rider’s efforts to be eco-friendly were recognized during the spring 2015 semester, when the school received the Silver Level Student Actions Award from Purposeful Networks, formally known as myActions. The award recognizes undergraduate schools that work to better their community through ecological activities and various forms of student leadership.
Awarded on four different rankings, Green Level, Silver Level, Gold Level and Platinum Level, the honor acknowledges those striving for a greener, more efficient campus. Rider students, along with eco-reps and the office of sustainability, have been making efforts to keep the campus green with programs such as Recyclemania. An ambitious eight-week competition, Recyclemania measures the amount of recycling on campuses throughout the country to see who is the most dedicated to improving the environment.
“The power of student leaders to build community and inspire action for causes and programs they support is tremendous,” said Kristine Sturgeon, president of Purposeful Networks, in a press release. “We are proud to spotlight the individual and collective impact of undergraduate students across the country.”
During the eight weeks of Recyclemania, the eco-reps hold a weekly information table focusing on different areas of recycling, according to Melissa Greenberg, Rider’s sustainability manager.
“The idea is to bring attention to all the different ways that people can recycle and how they can be a part of it not just at Rider, but in their own personal life,” Greenberg said.
Purposeful Networks, a phone and computer application that provides users with information on healthy and green living, gave students who participated in Recyclemania the option of sharing their progress with friends, family and other universities.
“We didn’t create this, but we were thankful for it because it added a fun element to Recyclemania and people were excited to do it,” Greenberg said. “There were people I had never met before on this campus that were posting every day in myActions. It was awesome to see people who weren’t my staff participating in it.”
Greenberg, who has held the position of sustainability manager since 2008, remains optimistic about Rider’s future as a green campus and can already see the impact her programs are making on the student body.
“People are more mindful than when I got here in 2008,” she said. “Back then, no one wanted to talk about sustainability, everyone thought it was a fad. I have noticed a change in culture. There are a lot more people that are receptive than there were in 2008. People need to understand their own personal connection and why it should be a concern of theirs.”
Although Greenberg recognizes that there are many eco-efficient improvements that still need to be made, she feels the Silver Level award was well deserved and gives students even more of a motive to make green decisions.
“We have a lot of work to do around campus as far as upgrades and facilities to make them more energy efficient,” Greenberg said. “There are some buildings with older lighting that needs to be replaced, it would be great to have motion sensors. Behind the scenes, there is a lot that can be done. Just continue to raise awareness.”