In recognition of Raritan Valley Community College’s commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability, the College has earned a STARS Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
A STARS charter member, RVCC was the first New Jersey institution to earn a STARS rating (Bronze) in 2011. Princeton University is the only other STARS-rated institution in the state. It recently renewed its Silver rating.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “RVCC has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
The STARS program assesses institutions in Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. The College earned a perfect score in Coordination, Planning, and Governance, due in part to its Memorandum of Understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2009 RVCC became the first community college in the nation to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the EPA. RVCC earned an almost perfect score in Air and Climate, reflecting the College’s reduction in carbon emissions of over 50 percent since 2005. Raritan Valley’s other high-scoring areas include the Environmental Studies undergraduate program; student activities; outreach; inter-campus collaboration; student diversity and equity; and water, waste, and grounds management.
“Sustainability is part of the culture at Raritan Valley Community College. We don’t just educate our students about protecting the environment, we ‘live green’ on a daily basis and use the campus as a teaching tool. RVCC boasts a cogeneration plant, a 446kW solar installation, a green roof, a green wall, a rainwater harvesting system, and an electric car charging station. To supplement the electricity generated on campus, RVCC purchases 100 percent wind power. The campus is certified as River Friendly, and we have committed to LEED [Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design] Silver certification or better for all new buildings,” said John Trojan, RVCC Vice President for Finance and Facilities.
With more than 650 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For additional information about AASHE or the STARS program, visit www.aashe.org.
To learn more about RVCC’s STARS report, visit https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/raritan-valley-community-college-nj/report/2909/. For additional information about sustainability at RVCC, contact Sue Dorward at email@example.com or visitwww.raritanval.edu/green.
Featured image caption: Raritan Valley Community College’s two-story green wall.