Carbon Neutral Campus – 2017
RVCC reached a significant environmental milestone in late 2017 when it became the first two-year institution of higher education in the country to achieve carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Carbon neutrality is defined as having no net emissions after minimizing the carbon footprint as much as possible and offsetting the remaining emissions. There are three types of emissions that RVCC has worked towards offsetting:
- In 2017 RVCC has offset all remaining Scope 1 emissions (direct emissions from natural gas, oil, and gasoline) by acquiring carbon offsets, mostly for wind energy and some for the capture of landfill gas.
- Since 2014, the College has offset all remaining Scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions from purchased electricity), by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits for US wind energy. RVCC is the second community college in the U.S. to commit to 100% renewable electricity through the EPA Green Power Partnership.
- RVCC has achieved carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions and is currently working on offsetting Scope 3 emissions (indirect emissions from all of the vehicles that commute to campus) by providing electric-vehicle charging stations as well as providing support for carpooling and public transportation.
Green Ribbon School – 2016
RVCC was one of 11 colleges and universities in the nation honored with a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Award in April 2016. The College was honored for its leadership in sustainable education, programs, practices, and facilities.
Bee Campus USA – 2016
In 2016 RVCC became the first college in New Jersey, and the 15th in the country, to be certified as a Bee Campus USA affiliate. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to raising awareness and to enhancing habitat to support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, among thousands of other species. The College developed a list of pollinator-friendly native plants and follows an integrated pest management policy.
AASHE STARS Silver Rating – 2019
RVCC 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 for its efforts, according to AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). RVCC now ranks as the #1 community college in the US in the “Air and Climate” category. The College also earned a perfect score in the “Water” category. Overall, the STARS program ranks RVCC as the #6 community college in the country.
New Jersey Governor's Environmental Excellence Award – 2013
In November 2013, the State of New Jersey honored RVCC for its commitment to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the 2013 New Jersey Governor's Environmental Excellence Award (Clean Air category). 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.
River Friendly Certified – 2011
Two tributaries of the upper Raritan River run through RVCC’s main campus in Branchburg. In 2011 RVCC became 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. Since then, RVCC has continued to engage students in its ongoing efforts to improve the quality of local water resources through water quality management, water conservation, wildlife habitat protection, education, and outreach.