National Group Ranks RVCC as #1 Two-Year College for Sustainability Efforts


National Group Ranks RVCC as #1 Two-Year College for Sustainability Efforts

Monday, October 24, 2022
students planting in rain garden

For the first time in its history, Raritan Valley Community College has earned a STARS Gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

This is the eighth year in a row that RVCC has been recognized nationally for its sustainability efforts by 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, with a perfect score, for sustainability research (for its Center for Environmental Studies); #1 for academics (for research and learning outcomes); tied for #1 for water use and rainwater management, with perfect scores for both (for River Friendly commitments); #3 two-year institution, with a 97.25% score, for sustainability learning outcomes; #3 for energy; and #4 school for air and climate, due to the College’s energy efficiency initiatives and purchasing of carbon offsets and renewable energy credits.

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

RVCC’s STARS report can be viewed on the STARS website.

Raritan Valley Community College has a proven track record in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2009, RVCC became the first community college in the US to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. RVCC is River Friendly, as well as Bee Campus USA and Monarch Watch certified. The College has three solar installations, a new 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. The College’s Strategic Plan formalizes its commitment to sustainability.

With more than 900 participants in 40 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.

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, the program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions. To learn more about the STARS program, visit

About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are 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

About RVCC:

Ranked by and as the #1 community college in New Jersey in 2022, 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 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 and professional development courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit



September 30, 2022

Media contacts: Donna Stolzer (RVCC), 908-526-1200, ext. 8383; Meghan Fay Zahniser (AASHE),, 888-347-9997

PR #27