News: Academic

Building Interest in the Community

By Aimee LaBrie

Bill Lewis ’14 has spent most of his life seeking to serve. In his working life, he assists the federal government in its conservation efforts. In his personal life, he is a founder and president of NEST! (Nurture Environmental Stewardship Today), the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to sustainability initiatives. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Sustainable Jersey and Environmental Commission for Plumsted Township and serves on the board of directors for EarthShare New Jersey. Add to this his service on the board of trustees for Crosswicks Creek Watershed Association and one wonders how he is also now finishing his B.S. in business administration at Rider’s College of Continuing Studies.  

As a nontraditional student, Lewis feels that waiting a few years before going off to college gave him time to develop his interests. “When I was 18, I wanted to go to Rider and major in accounting. At that age, I was interested in what would make me the most money.” Instead, Lewis spent four years as a noncommissioned officer in the Marine Corps and eventually started working for the federal government. In his mid-30s, he considered going back to school. By then, he had other ambitions and other passions. “At that stage, I knew myself better and had developed a more committed focus on academics.” 

His interest in creating sustainable communities led him to focus on management and leadership. “The leadership courses gave me the tools I needed to pull people together to make good teams. My speech class honed my elevator speech so I could convince community leaders it was in their best interest to grow food locally,” he explains. 

On May 3, NEST! will host the 2014 N.J. Bluebird Festival and Lewis has also been integral in planning the May 31 “EarthShare N.J. Celebrates” event at Grounds for Sculpture. He believes too in staying connected to the Rider community. “EarthShare is always looking for businesses to partner with and environmental groups that need help, so I encourage alumni to contact me.” You can reach Lewis directly at [email protected]

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