RCC Promotes “Green” Awareness with Earth Day Celebration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 18, 2014
CONTACT: Maralin Roffino
RCC Promotes “Green” Awareness with Earth Day Celebration
April 22 program features yoga, wildlife demo, organic garden tour, exhibits and more
Ramapo – Rockland Community College celebrates Earth Day on April 22 with an assortment of activities blending environmental awareness with educational enrichment. The occasion also provides an opportunity to spotlight RCC’s “greening” initiatives and long-term commitment to the principles of environmental sustainability. All events are free and open to the public.
RCC invites the community – including local middle and high school students – to a day of interactive educational programs on campus. Special activities include 4 sessions led by certified yoga instructor Isabella Cannizzaro, who teaches at the Jamie Surya Yoga Studio in Sparkill, YJY at Renzo Gracie in Nyack, as well as Rockland Dance & Fitness Center in Suffern. Yoga will be offered in the Quad at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 am, with one afternoon session at 1:30 pm. In case of inclement weather all outdoor activities and exhibits will be moved inside to the Student Union.
Other exhibitors include the Rockland Farm Alliance touting the benefits of local farm-grown food; Green Mountain Energy, a renewable energy provider; Dr. Eric Goldman, a Pomona chiropractor and proponent of nutrition-based healing; and 511 NY Rideshare. Orange & Rockland Utilities will offer energy-saving tips and information and the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority will offer provide information on recycling and environmental education.
Another popular featured event is the 12:30 pm reptile demonstration conducted by Rizzo’s Reptile Discovery, a New Jersey-based wildlife education company that offers a friendly and non-threatening environment where children can learn how animals live and interact. The Earth Day program also includes a tour of an organic garden on campus (weather permitting), a raffle for solar-powered phone and tablet chargers, and sale of environment-themed T-shirts and water bottles.
To foster awareness of sustainability themes, the College is also sponsoring a “green” contest among its students, faculty and staff and will be announcing the winners during its Earth Day festivities. Participants must identify an issue to increase the sustainability of the RCC campus, such as waste disposal, climate change, water pollution or air pollution. The contest awards cash prizes for best essay and multimedia presentation by students and faculty/staff.
“This contest is meant to encourage members of the RCC community to think critically about the importance of environmental sustainability and to engage them in activities to improve the College environment through prevention, preservation, conservation and restoration efforts,” said RCC Science Prof. Saeed Safaie, a contest judge and chair of the sponsoring Quality of Life Committee.
The history of Rockland Community College’s broad initiatives and commitment to sustainability. The College began recycling paper in 1991, and in 1998 expanded to all tree products and mixed containers, spurred by a Rockland County law requiring all materials to be separated from the waste stream at the point of generation. RCC recycling now includes materials such as tires, electronics, fluorescent lamps, textiles, electronic media, batteries and printer cartridges. From 2000 to 2013, RCC recycled almost 900 tons of material, which translates to $66,690 in avoided disposal costs and about $17,450 in rebates. In 2013 the College recycled 25 percent more paper, glass, metal and plastic than it did in 2012.
“RCC is finding ways of reducing energy consumption, diverting more and more materials from our waste stream, enhancing the natural environment, and infusing the ideas and ethics of planetary stewardship across all curriculum lines,” said Lorinda Hill, RCC’s Assistant Director of Plant Facilities and coordinator of the College’s recycling program. “Hopefully, the legacy of the College will be not only one of greenhouse gas neutrality and environmental improvement, but of a paradigm shift in people so the coming generations will have a better planet than we did.”
Other campus projects include the ROSE program – Reusable Office Supply Exchange – started by Hill several years ago and which now saves nearly $5,000 a year office supplies. The College’s Organic Garden Club practices methods of growing a sustainable, healthy food supply, and RCC students have created a National Wildlife Foundation Certified Habitat in a wooded area on campus, planting native species to attract new wildlife.
In addition to its strategic sustainability plan to achieve carbon neutrality, RCC’s environmental goals include:
- Implementing a certified green office and zero waste program;
- Enlisting an energy services company to help reduce energy consumption;
- On-site composting of organic food waste from the cafeteria and repurposing the compost for use on campus grounds.
RCC’s Technology Center, constructed in 2006, was awarded Silver Certification as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building by the U.S. Green Building Council and was the first green building constructed by Rockland County.
Environmental sustainability is an essential component not only of RCC’s physical plant and facilities operations but also of its administrative plans and academic curricula. RCC President Cliff L. Wood signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, requiring RCC to become carbon neutral by a future date. The College chose 2034, the year of its 75th anniversary. Dr. Wood’s signing of the Climate Commitment was formalized on Earth Day in April 2008. The College’s Board of Trustees has adopted a Sustainability Mission Statement outlining its position on global warming, resource consumption and carbon emissions.
Rockland Community College’s “green” educational programs include degrees in Environmental Science, which prepares students for transfer to a four-year degree program and eventual careers in a range of environment-related fields, and Green Building Maintenance and Management, which prepares students for positions in energy and/or environmental sustainability such as HVAC operations, solar and wind energy, and green building consulting. Through the Clean Energy Technology Training Initiative, RCC offers continuing education classes such as Solar Hot Water System Design, Geothermal Installation, Designing and Building for Smart Energy Use, and How Business Can Be Green. The College is also committed to incorporating interdisciplinary environmental studies into the curriculum, developing new learning experiences that integrate disciplines such as literature, art, math, social science, business and education with environmental concepts.
“We don’t own the planet, we just borrow it from our children,” Hill said, paraphrasing a Native American belief. “We have to redefine ‘need’ and ‘want’ and get back to a simpler life. We need to become ethical servant leaders whose actions are governed by consideration for the well-being of those who follow us.”
For more information, please contact Maralin Roffino at 845-574-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo caption: Isabella Cannizzaro