By Julia Corrigan
Rider has been named one of the top green colleges in New Jersey by The Princeton Review, as well as one of the top 353 environmentally conscious universities in the country, because of its dedication to making the campus green and trying to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The free 218-page book was published on April 16, just days before the celebration of Earth Day. Rider was chosen for The Princeton Review’s “green guide” based on a 2014 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges regarding the schools’ vows to the environment and sustainability.
“We are honored to be named one of Princeton Review’s Green Colleges for the sixth year in a row,” said Melissa Greenberg, sustainability manager at Rider.
Rider’s program, “Broncs Go Green,” is one of the main initiatives for sustainability on Rider’s campuses. The Office of Sustainability has the mission to establish a more environmentally-aware campus. Greenberg and the sustainability office also have an Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee, a team of student eco-reps, and a volunteer group named the “green team.”
“It is absolutely fulfilling to see that our efforts of ‘greening up’ our campus are not going unnoticed,” said junior eco-rep and environmental science major Kathy Blachut.
An ecologically friendly university is often a deciding factor for incoming college students.
“Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college,” said The Princeton Review’s vice president publisher, Robert Franek.
One of the most recent improvements for campus was the Trigeneration plant, which provides more than a megawatt of power to heat and cool the buildings in the academic quad. Through a partnership with PSE&G, the university has also created a 740-kilowatt solar arrangement on campus.
“Rider remains committed to making our campus more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, through our infrastructure and activities that encourage behavior change that allow our community members to be better stewards of our planet,” said Greenberg.
Greenberg has worked hard getting a number of Rider buildings LEED certifications for their environmentally practical features. However, one of the goals of Rider’s Energy and Sustainability master plan is to increase student involvement. Encouraging students to apply for jobs such as an eco-rep or a member of the Green Team can have a tremendous impact on the campus.
“Being an eco-rep, it is a struggle to get more of our community on board with the way our world is heading in the direction of a more self-sustaining and environmentally sound future,” said Blachut. “However, such a recognition shows that we in fact are doing something right and that the eco-reps, Office of Sustainability, students, faculty, and staff of Rider deserve a pat on the back and a round of applause for helping achieve such standing.”