National Group Gives RVCC Top Honors in US for Reducing Carbon Emissions

Monday, October 7, 2019
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For the fifth year in a row, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg has been lauded for its campus sustainability efforts by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

RVCC has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

RVCC now ranks as the #1 community college in the US in the “Air and Climate” category, which reflects that the College’s campus operations have been carbon-neutral since 2017. The College also earned a perfect score in the “Water” category.

Overall, the STARS program ranks RVCC as the #4 community college in the country, and the #7 college or university in the US. The College’s STARS report may be viewed on the STARS website.

RVCC firmly established its environmental leadership in 2009 when it became the first community college in the country to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The College's Strategic Plan formalizes its commitment to sustainability.

RVCC’s campus is River Friendly and is Bee Campus USA and Monarch Watch certified. It also has a 446kW solar installation, publicly available electric car charging stations, two green roofs and a green wall, numerous pollinator gardens, a rain garden, three rainwater harvesting systems, and three buildings built to LEED Gold and Silver standards.

“RVCC’s STARS Silver rating is a reflection of the College’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint,” said RVCC President Michael McDonough. “The College will continue to look for new and innovative ways to increase campus sustainability and to demonstrate environmental leadership in the classroom, across campus, and throughout the community.”

With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “RVCC has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

About AASHE:
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that is working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit For additional information about the STARS program, visit

About RVCC:
Ranked by,, and as the #1 community college in New Jersey, Raritan Valley Community College has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 50 years. The College has been nationally recognized for its service to the community, environmental stewardship, and commitment to diversity. It is home to a Planetarium, Science Education Institute and 3M Observatory; a 1,000-seat Theatre offering professional performances for all ages; and an Honors College for high achieving students.

The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, small business assistance through the Small Business Development Center, and professional development courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit



October 7, 2019

Media contacts: Donna Stolzer (RVCC), 908-526-1200, ext. 8383

Meghan Fay Zahniser (AASHE), 888-347-9997

PR #29