Rider ranked among most sustainable universities in the world

An international survey evaluated 516 institutions in 74 countries
Adam Grybowski

An international survey ranked Rider University as the 224th most sustainable and environmentally friendly university in the world. The UI GreenMetric World Ranking Universities survey compared 516 universities from 74 countries.

This was the first time that Rider has participated in an international sustainability survey. On a national level, the University has been recognized as one of the 361 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. by The Princeton Review for seven years in a row.

“We understand that the challenge of reducing Rider’s impact on the environment is in our hands,” says Melissa Greenberg, Rider's sustainability manager. “This ranking affirms that our dedication to that goal is paying off in a big way. I’m incredibly proud of what the University has achieved through our efforts to create a sustainable future.”

The survey organized information in six main categories, green statistics (15%), energy and climate change (21%), waste management (18%), water usage (10%), transportation (18%) and education (18%). Rider ranked 34th in energy and climate, which judged the institution’s energy efficient appliances usage, total electricity use, energy conservation program and green building, among other things.

UI GreenMetric released its seventh edition of the ranking on Dec. 29, 2016. The results included universities from the North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, including the U.K., Japan, New Zealand and Venezuela.

“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 a volunteer “green team,” and a Student Government Association (SGA) Environmental Chair.

Greenberg has completed three greenhouse gas inventories and a carbon neutrality plan as well as given input on the sustainable features included in campus construction projects. These projects include a LEED Silver residence hall completed in March 2010; a LEED Gold academic building completed in July 2012; and a new academic building completed in August 2014 that was recently awarded a LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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.

Rider also offers a growing minor in sustainability studies. Students are encouraged by faculty to attend the successful Rider Green Film and Speaker Series, now in its seventh year.

A United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Student Club was formed and elected a board in 2015. 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.

This year, UI GreenMetric initiated a forum for participating universities to share their best practices in implementing sustainable campus programs in their universities. For example, four national workshops were conducted in Russia, Turkey, Jordania and Indonesia in 2016. The workshops were organized by local universities to encourage their peer groups in their countries to embrace UI GreenMetric indicators to be implemented in more universities infrastructure management. In 2017, the UI GreenMetric global annual workshop will be conducted in Turkey.