Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.59
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date Aug. 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Raritan Valley Community College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:
Yes

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

The Environmental Club seeks to positively affect the community and to create environmental awareness and eco-friendly living by making the campus more “green” through education and community projects. Environmental Club meetings are all about taking action – both to benefit and learn from our campus and local environments. We raise organic fruits and vegetables, help restore local forests and other habitats, sell organic/fair-trade coffee and chocolate, participate in beach and stream clean-ups, support campus sustainability events, make maple syrup and natural soap, and go on hikes and camping/canoeing trips. We also sponsor campus-wide trips to such places the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil, the Lakota Wolf Preserve, People’s Climate March in NYC, and more. The Environmental Club is student-governed.

Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. Enactus explores modern business practices and provides networking opportunities to its members, including a national exposition event. Our meetings involve a number of teams that help to run individual projects. Members work collaboratively to meet objectives, inspire new ideas, and to use their classroom experience in a real world situation. Enactus can be thought of as a unique mix of entrepreneurial practice and philanthropy. The student organization works to ensure sustainable projects in order to better serve people in need locally, state-wide, and even internationally. Enactus offers an opportunity to apply everything you have learned in the classroom to real projects that deal with real businesses. The experience you will gain, as well as the benefit it will have on your resume, makes this student organization a valuable life-long credential.


Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Students are involved in growing plants and vegetable's in the new greenhouse. The greenhouse includes a hydroponic system. The plants are being sold to the community and the vegetables have been donated to the campus food pantry. See https://sway.office.com/s6pEB45WEAHoAtvW?ref=Link

The RVCC Organic Garden, located behind the baseball field, is .4 acres in size. Previously it operated as a CSA, but it is in transition to an organic orchard now. The garden is run by the Environmental Club, which is student-governed.

Enactus has a My Neighbor's Garden project. They built a 40 plot, 22,000 square foot organic garden. They provide food from this garden to food insecure families. They also donate up to 50% of their produce to the Community Food Bank of NJ.


Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Environmental Club makes maple syrup from the sap of invasive Norway Maple trees and sells it as a fundraiser for a student internship.


Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

The Environmental Sustainability Committee hosts a series of student-focused events every April in celebration of Earth Day. This year the events were a documentary screening and panel about a 600 year old tree in a nearby town center, followed by a visit to the 350 year old oaks on campus; a lecture by a bat expert followed by a visit to campus bat-houses; and an electric car show. Also in April, the faculty sustainability SIG hosted a scavenger hunt to find/photograph sustainability-related locations on campus based on a set of clues.


Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

In April 2022, the Arts department sponsored a documentary screening and panel about a 600 year old tree in a nearby town center. The documentary was directed by RVCC adjunct Michael Reynolds. The event and panel was geared toward students interested in documentary and film work as well as environmental sustainability. See https://ccabedminster.org/under-the-great-oak/ for more information.

Video students made a fun and creative educational video about how to properly sort waste on campus. It is available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO0ZN607FyY


Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Environmental Club outings, class trips, and school trips such as the Clean Ocean Action beach sweeps, follow Leave No Trace principles.


Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
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Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
No

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
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Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Facilities and Environmental Science departments offers internships with an operational and campus sustainability focus. The Center for Environmental Studies offers several internships.


Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):
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A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

RVCC has a service learning program, in which students spend 15 hours doing community service and this is noted on their transcript. Some student projects involve sustainability projects in the local community.

The College also has an annual essay contest called Nota Bene, and the winners are often sustainability-related. In 2022, the winners include "Willow" and "You know I've never seen a sunrise?" works of fiction and papers on war, gender norms, and many other topics. See https://rvcclibrary.omeka.net/exhibits/show/notabene22/fiction for more information.


Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The Enactus Club often has sustainable entrepreneurship activities but had nothing to report this year (according to Tracy Rimple).

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.