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'The Princeton Review' names Rider one of the 353 most environmentally responsible colleges

Rider selected for sixth straight year
By
Kristine A. Brown
04/28/2015

Rider University is one of the 353 most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company known for its test prep and tutoring services, books, and college rankings features Rider in the 2015 edition of its free book, The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges

Published April 16, a few days before the April 22, 2015, celebration of Earth Day, the free, 218-page guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide. 

The Princeton Review chose the schools for this sixth annual edition of its "green guide" based on data from the company's 2014 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools' commitments to the environment and sustainability. (Notes follow on how schools were chosen.) 

Melissa Greenberg, sustainability manager at Rider, said, “We are honored to be named one of Princeton Review’s Green Colleges for the sixth year in a row. Sustainability and our commitment to ‘going green’ is evident all throughout our campuses. 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. Being recognized for this work by the Princeton Review is especially gratifying.”

"We strongly recommend Rider University and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges," said The Princeton Review’s Robert Franek, Senior VP-Publisher.

Franek noted the growing interest the company has seen among college-bound students in green colleges. "Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61% told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college."  (A complete report on that survey is at www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries.)

 The profiles in The Princeton Review's Guide to 353 Green Colleges provide information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body stats. They also include "Green Facts" about the schools with details on the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.

“Broncs Go Green” is the driving force for sustainability initiatives on Rider’s two campuses in Lawrenceville and Princeton, defined by the four R’s: reduce, reuse, refuse (the purchase of non-sustainable goods) and recycle. Rider’s Office of Sustainability leads the effort to establish a more environmentally aware campus. In addition to Greenberg, the office includes an Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee, a team of student Eco-Reps, and a volunteer “green team.”

Greenberg has completed three greenhouse gas inventories and a carbon neutrality plan as well as given input on the sustainable features included in recent construction projects. These projects include an LEED Silver residence hall completed in March 2010; an LEED Gold academic building completed in July 2012; and a new academic building completed in August 2014 that is awaiting its LEED certification (a minimum of LEED Silver certification is anticipated). 

A guiding principle of Rider’s Energy and Sustainability Master Plan is to increase and strengthen student involvement. Students have the opportunity to apply for a job as an Eco-Rep or join the Rider Green Team. The Student Government Association has an elected Environmental Chair to help green student groups and their activities on campus. Students can also choose to take courses with an environmental focus and participate in research projects.

Importantly, Rider offers a growing minor in Sustainability Studies. Students are also encouraged by faculty to attend the successful Rider Green Film and Speaker Series, now in its sixth year. A United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Student Club was recently approved and the board has been elected. Rider’s procurement policy has already led to 80 percent of the school’s cleaning products being Green Seal-certified. In the early fall of 2014, Rider finished construction of a Trigeneration plant that provides more than a megawatt of power in addition to hot and chilled water to buildings in the academic quad. In partnership with PSE&G, the University has completed a 740-kilowatt solar array on campus.

Rider has also acquired honeybee hives and built a thriving community garden. To reduce solid waste removal, save money and lower its carbon footprint, Rider installed a food waste bio-digester that can process 400 pounds of food waste daily and turn it into grey water. Rider has an e-rideshare program to reduce automobile emissions, as well as a total of six designated parking spaces for hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles. Finally, Rider has equipped most academic buildings and some residence halls with water bottle refill stations in an effort to reduce the amount of bottled water on campus. Well over one million bottles have been filled since installations began.

The Princeton Review first published this guide in 2010. It remains the only free, annually updated downloadable guide to green colleges. The company is also known for its dozens of categories of college rankings in its annual books, The Best 379 Colleges and Colleges That Pay You Back.

How Schools Were Chosen for the Guide

The Princeton Review chose the colleges based on "Green Rating" scores (from 60 to 99) that the company tallied in summer 2014 for 861 colleges using data from its 2013-14 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. More than 25 data points were weighted in the assessment. Schools with Green Rating scores of 83 or higher made it into this guide. Most of the schools (347) in this edition are in the U.S. Five are in Canada. One is in Egypt. Information about Princeton Review's Green Rating and its Green Honor Roll saluting schools that received the highest possible rating score, 99, is at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.  Note: The Princeton Reviewdoes not publish the schools' Green Rating scores in this guide. The scores can be found in the profiles of the schools on www.princetonreview.com and in the 2015 edition of The Princeton Review books, The Best 379 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges, published in August 2014.

How the Top 50 Green Colleges List Was Done

The Princeton Review developed the ranking list using data from its institutional survey for its Green Rating and its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the institutional survey were factored into the assessment. Data from the student survey included student ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; adminis­tration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups.