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  Environmental Sustainability at RVCC  
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RVCC is a 2016 Green Ribbon School!

RVCC earned NJ's first collegiate award for sustainability education,
environmental impact, and health & wellness. 

Raritan Valley Community College is nationally recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability. Our unique educational programs and sustainability initiatives demonstrate our ongoing commitment to preserving the environment and have placed RVCC at the forefront of this rapidly developing field. Take a virtual green tour or watch "Our Green Campus" to see how this commitment comes to life across our campus. 

Memorandum of Understanding with EPA

RVCC is the first community college in the nation to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   

In 2009 Raritan Valley Community College pledged to reduce its environmental impact and raise environmental awareness within its academic community and the surrounding community by signing an agreement of environmental stewardship with the EPA. The agreement is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Using EPA guidelines and voluntary programs, RVCC has developed or is currently developing policies and programs that focus on protecting and bettering the environment, allowing RVCC to take a leadership role in this area.  This agreement enables RVCC to actively pursue green initiatives that benefit our faculty, staff, students and community.  The EPA's twice-annual environmental assessment reports are posted on the News page.


Environmental Accolades 

RVCC's environmental efforts keep making headlines. 

stars silverIn recognition of its sustainability achievements, in 2015 RVCC received a STARS Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). RVCC is a charter member of the program and is the first academic institution in New Jersey to earn a STARS rating (Bronze in 2011).  STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Some of the College’s accomplishments include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, and waste; incorporating environmental, social, and corporate sustainability in its courses; fostering participation in student community service projects; and numerous diversity programs. RVCC has reduced its scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 51% since 2005. For more information, read the Hunterdon Democrat article or check out RVCC's STARS report.

RVCC and New Jersey Audubon have combined forces to conduct education, research, and outreach on forest health in central New Jersey, with the support of a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s SENCER Program (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities). Preliminary results from 2013-2014 include the successful training of citizen scientists by RVCC students and NJ Audubon, research on the bird and plant communities of our local forests, and integration of these activities into RVCC classes, Audubon programs, and stewardship of public forest preserves.  Students in the Environmental Field Studies class trained citizen scientists to identify and conduct surveys for invasive plant species.  Four student interns were hired to conduct intensive vegetation studies as part of a regional assessment of forest health. For more information, listen to Prof. Jay Kelly's 2015 interview on Hunterdon Chamber Radio (start at 8 minutes).

NJ Governor's Environmental Excellence Award

In November 2013, the State of New Jersey awarded RVCC the 2013 New Jersey Governor's Environmental Excellence Award in the Clean Air category, for its commitment to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.The Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards are the State's premier environmental awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects in the state.  In 2009, RVCC became the first community college in the country to sign an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, pledging to implement green initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment. The partnership has resulted in reducing energy, water and solid waste production across campus operations. The EPA has estimated that the College reduced its carbon footprint by the equivalent of 22,579 metric tons since signing the agreement. The College accomplishes its goals through an on-campus co-generation plant, a solar array, energy efficiency lighting and equipment, green energy purchasing, energy reduction, and support for carpooling. It also has an electric-car charging station on campus.

River Friendly

RVCC is the first higher education institution in the state to be certified by New Jersey Water Supply Authority as part of the River-Friendly Business Program. The College has two tributaries of the upper Raritan River running through its Main Campus in Branchburg.  In 2011, the River-Friendly certification was awarded to RVCC for its efforts over 18 months to improve local water resource quality through water quality management, water conservation, protection of the wildlife habitat, and education and outreach.

Creating the organic garden Beach cleanup at Sandy Hook

RVCC's 2009-2010 Annual Report (p. 4) highlights the environmental leadership of Dr. Jay Kelly, Biology/Environmental Studies instructor.  For Kelly, community service is very much a part of his job, because so much of his work with students—from planting organic gardens, to protecting endangered species, to cleaning beaches and streams—is geared to the public interest. Kelly recently was recognized with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for his research and educational efforts regarding ocean pollution and the problems of plastic marine debris. He also received the “Research Award” for the 25th anniversary of Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps. Kelly’s beach clean-up efforts in Sandy Hook in April 2010 involved the assistance of 200 students, who also cleaned storm drains in RVCC’s parking lots and streams a week later.

For more articles, press releases, and pictures, visit our News page or click on the pictures above. 


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Sustainability Committee

native purple coneflower in rain garden



Thematic Gardens


Transportation & Parking


Food     Recycling       


  This website was developed by Computer Science major Georgiana Haldeman through the Service Learning Program at RVCC. 
The top banner was designed by graphic design student Gregory Brock through the Service Learning Program at RVCC.

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