Bergen Honored for Building a Sustainable Future

PARAMUS, N.J. – Announced to coincide with Earth Day, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) has recognized Bergen Community College for its commitment to stewardship with the “Environmental Leader” award. The organization presented awards to 22 businesses, colleges and nonprofits at an April 19 breakfast event. Bergen has now earned an environmental leadership award from CIANJ in back-to-back years.

“I want to congratulate our honorees for the important work that they do to protect our environment,” CIANJ President Anthony Russo said. “CIANJ proudly recognizes the role these companies and individuals play in keeping New Jersey a safe, beautiful and clean place to live and conduct business. We always look forward to hosting this breakfast to honor those who make a real environmental difference in our world.”

Bergen President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., accepted the award on behalf of the College with Vice President of External Affairs Suzanne Wetzel and Professor Robert Dill, Ph.D. also in attendance at the event. The president said that Bergen continues to prioritize programs that not only respond to community needs, but remain rooted in sustainable practices that encourage health and wellness.

“Bergen Community College has embraced environmental stewardship and a commitment to sustainability by cultivating a culture driven by innovation and progress,” Friedman said.

Working alongside staff and faculty such as Dill and Professor PJ Ricatto, Ph.D., Friedman has launched a comprehensive campaign to spur sustainability initiatives. Among them, the College has developed new recycling programs, instituted campuswide composting and secured more than $5.5 million in federal grants to create student pathways to careers in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences. The grants have forged new collaborations between the College’s STEM and culinary academic programs to establish projects in hydroponic/vertical farming techniques.

CIANJ seeks to be the leader in free enterprise advocacy for the purpose of fostering, through education, legislative vigilance and membership interaction, an economic climate that enhances business potential and makes New Jersey a better state in which to live, work and conduct business.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, 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 Community College Vice President of External Affairs Suzanne Wetzel, Professor Robert Dill, Ph.D., President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., and Creamer Environmental Executive Vice President Tracy Straka.

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