Earth Day Update: Committed to Sustainability at RVCC


Earth Day Update: Committed to Sustainability at RVCC

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22. This annual celebration of our planet is always a great reminder to take action towards a more sustainable world.

But what does sustainability mean, exactly? Simply put, sustainability refers to meeting the needs of humans today without compromising the needs of future generations. It’s about preserving natural resources, ensuring clean air and water, using renewable materials, finding alternative energy sources, and protecting the planet in general.

Many people who hold these values seek sustainability in schools, workplaces, and communities. For college students, that could mean attending an educational institution that is dedicated to creating a more sustainable campus environment.

If you’ve been searching “best sustainable schools near me,” you’ve found the answer in Raritan Valley Community College. RVCC has a longstanding commitment to preserving the environment through unique educational programs and groundbreaking campus sustainability initiatives.

Environmental Achievements

Just take a look at these achievements to see why RVCC is the perfect choice for students who are interested in sustainable NJ schools:

  • RVCC has earned a STARS Gold rating for its campus sustainability efforts by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
  • RVCC now ranks as #1 overall for two-year colleges in the US for its sustainability efforts.
  • The College also ranks extremely high nationally among community colleges in a number of areas, including the #1 school in the country for sustainability research (for its Center for Environmental Studies)
  • The College has three solar installations, a greenhouse, publicly available electric car charging stations, a green roof and a green wall, numerous pollinator gardens, a rain garden, three rainwater harvesting systems, and three buildings built to LEED standards.

Studying Environmental Science at RVCC

For students interested in earning an environmental science associates degree, RVCC offers two distinct programs. What can you do with an environmental science degree? This path of study can lead to careers in environmental testing and research, sustainable home and packaging design, energy efficiency, and so much more. RVCC’s program options include:

  • Environmental Science 

RVCC’s Environmental Science program is an option of the Associate of Science degree program in Science and Mathematics. It prepares students for transfer into a Bachelor of Science degree program in Environmental Science. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the functions of local and global ecosystems and examines alternatives to present ecosystem practices.

  • Environmental Studies 

The Environmental Studies program at RVCC is an interdisciplinary major offered by the Department of Science and Engineering and other departments at RVCC with environmental interests. The Associate of Arts program encompasses a broad range of environmental classes to start you on a path to a successful career trajectory in various fields such as Environmental Law, business, activism, policies, or journalism.

RVCC Center for Environmental Studies

Further demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, The College established the RVCC Center for Environmental Studies. The Center engages approximately 100 students each year in real-world learning experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. These experiences empower students to transform their academic knowledge into real-world research that prepares them to pursue successful careers in environmental science, sustainability, ecology, natural resources management, and related fields.

The Center offers paid internships to RVCC students and alumni. Interns work closely with a faculty advisor to conduct research in a variety of environmental fields: Campus Sustainability, Coastal Conservation, Forest Ecology, Water Quality, Wildlife, and Rare Plant Research.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jay Kelly at or 908-526-1200 x8531; or Dr. Emilie Stander at or 908-526-1200 x8344.

More Sustainability Opportunities at RVCC

In addition to academic studies and research, RVCC offers other sustainability-related endeavors, including:

  • RVCC’s Environmental Club

RVCC’s Environmental Club works to positively affect the community and create environmental awareness and eco-friendly living by making the campus more “green” through education and community projects. Members 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, make maple syrup and natural soap, and more. For further information, contact Jay Kelly at or Emilie Stander at

  • Service Learning Program

RVCC’s Service Learning program allows students to earn credits while serving their communities through partnerships with local organizations. Community partners related to environmental health include:

   ◦ The Hunterdon Land Trust, which works to preserve the integrity of the rural landscapes in the Hunterdon County region by protecting and enhancing natural resources.

   ◦ The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center, which is dedicated to fostering environmental, cultural, and recreational learning experiences, as well as preserving natural areas of Somerset County parkland.

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About RVCC

Ranked by and as the #1 community college in New Jersey, RVCC has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 50 years. The College offers more than 90 degree and certificate options along with affordable tuition, flexible classes and a vibrant campus life. For more information on The College, visit