The University is one of 206 institutions of higher education to join 'We Are Still In' declaration
By
Robert Leitner ’17
06/26/2017

Rider University President Gregory G. Dell’Omo signed the “We Are Still In” pledge on June 5, signifying that Rider remains committed to ambitious action on climate change. The pledge was a response to the announcement of the United State's intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global effort to help limit temperature increase in response to the threat of climate change.

More than 1,200 governors, mayors, businesses and investors, as well as 206 other colleges and universities, have signed the pledge so far. The intent of the declaration is to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

“Given Rider’s tremendous emphasis on sustainability, our international ranking as one of the greenest universities in the world, and being a charter signatory of The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (renamed in 2015 as The Carbon Commitment), I have signed the 'We Are Still In' pledge,” says President Dell’Omo.

Since signing The Carbon Commitment in 2007, Rider has continued to implement successful sustainability initiatives that move the University towards neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing education about the earth’s climate. As a result of energy saving, construction and recycling initiatives, Rider’s Carbon Neutrality Plan was updated in 2016 and shows a decrease in carbon emission of 8.61 percent from the previous year.

Rider’s energy-saving initiatives include the Tri-Generation energy plant that provides a megawatt of energy along with chilled and hot water to the Lawrenceville academic quad as well as having building users take action to reduce their energy use. In addition, the Lawrenceville campus gained a 740-kilowatt solar array in 2011 through a partnership with PSE&G. There have also been numerous upgrades to LED and other energy efficient lighting fixtures.

The University has also made sustainability improvements in a number of residence and academic buildings. Three newly constructed buildings have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications by the United States Green Building Council. LEED was developed to provide a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction that must be met in order to receive a certification.

Other on-campus initiatives include water bottle refill stations, which have saved the equivalent of over 2.5 million plastic water bottles. In 2016, an initiative to collect hard-to-recycle health and beauty packaging resulted in more than 30,000 items being collected from residence halls and sent to Terracycle for recycling.

The University’s drive for sustainability has also permeated into the local community. As part of their 2016 capstone course, students who minored in sustainability studies teamed up with local sustainability-based organizations to successfully earn Lawrence Township a silver Sustainable Jersey certification, which was a level higher than its previous bronze certifications.

In 2016 Rider was ranked among the most sustainable universities in the world by UI Green Metric World University Ranking. Also, The Princeton Review has recognized the University as one of the 361 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. for the past seven years.