Taught Daily at Bergen: Lessons in Sustainability

PARAMUS, N.J. – In honor of Earth Day, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and Commerce Magazine have recognized 12 individuals and organizations, including Bergen Community College, for their commitment to environmental sustainability.

President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., has prioritized enhancing the College’s physical and built environment as a way to promote sustainability, inclusivity and belongingness. The ideas appear throughout the president’s goals and the institution’s recently revised mission, vision and values statements. President Friedman has relied on Vice President of Facilities Nat Saviet, who holds a background in environmental science and policy, to lead many of the transformative efforts.

“Bergen’s emergence from the pandemic provided us with an opportunity to commit to sustainable facilities that support our students, faculty, staff and guests,” Vice President Saviet said. “The CIANJ award helps reinforce the value of the work we have done and encourages us to keep innovating.”

Among the efforts the College has undertaken during the last two years, it has:

·      Converted more than 300 lighting fixtures to LED;

·      Partnered with PSE&G to conduct an energy audit that will influence future building improvements;

·      Reconvened a collegewide sustainability committee;

·      Treated roads with brine instead of salt to protect groundwater during winter;

·      Replaced 36 traditional water fountains with “bottle fill” stations;

·      Doubled the number of on-campus electric vehicle charging stations; and

·      Become a Center for Workforce Innovation renewable energy training site.

Evaluated by a panel of independent judges who reviewed entries in categories such as green building, recycling and site remediation, CIANJ ultimately crowned 12 winners. Bergen took home the top prize in the stewardship category. Honorees received their awards at an April 21 breakfast event, with Chief Financial Officer Wilton Thomas-Hooke and Saviet representing the College.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

photo caption: Bergen Chief Financial Officer Wilton Thomas-Hooke, Commerce Representative Tracy Straka and Bergen Vice President of Facilities Nat Saviet.

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