The purpose is to bring together our college and university communities to act on the scale we need to realize a more just, sustainable future for New Jersey. We engage in three primary activities:
Focusing on five key areas:
Curriculum, academic programs and research
Operations of the physical plant and grounds
Campus activities and student experience
Partnerships and cooperation between the academic community and corporations, advocacy groups, non-profit agencies, and civic and community associations
Professional development for practitioners
The New Jersey Council of College Presidents founded NJHEPS in 1999, to serve as a “catalyst, organizer, and resource” to expand the role of higher education in promoting sustainability. At that time, the idea of sustainability was just beginning to reach public consciousness. The colleges and universities of NJHEPS worked to contribute to the state, region, and world’s emerging understanding of sustainability, through teaching, research, outreach, operations, and community life.
In the years since, sustainability has gained traction and become a common household term. Today NJHEPS is building on this progress by improving the practice and teaching of sustainability through collective action around student engagement, knowledge sharing, and workforce development.
Who we are
Meet the dedicated executive board and staff behind NJHEPS. We are a group of passionate individuals committed to making a positive impact in our community. Together, we work towards creating a sustainable future for all.
Senior Director of Climate Action and Sustainability, Chief Climate Officer, Rutgers University
Angela Oberg is the Senior Director of Climate Action and Sustainability & Chief Climate Officer for Rutgers Office of Climate Action. She is an urban environmental planner whose work aims to make cities more livable and sustainable. Previously, she was an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Before coming to academia, Oberg practiced professionally as an environmental planner in California, Texas, and Pennsylvania on projects in the United States, Italy, United Arab Emirates, and Sudan. She holds a Ph.D. in planning and public policy from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.
Director, PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, Montclair State University
Amy Tuininga, PhD, is the Director of Montclair State University’s PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies (PSEG ISS). She grows partnerships among faculty, students, administrators, government agencies, private corporations, and community groups to solve sustainability problems. Projects involve aspects of the environment, energy, water, food, natural resources, and economies that collectively function to build sustainable communities. She is developing the PSEG ISS as a source for innovation in sustainability and environmental management, a model of academic-corporate-community partnerships that advance sustainability science and build resilient communities that utilize informed, data-driven decision making.
Chair and Professor, Department of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, Kean University
Dr. Daniela Shebitz holds a Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science from the University of Washington, Seattle (2006) and BS and MS from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is an ethnobotanist, plant ecologist and restoration ecologist. Her research has focused on evaluating the effects of land management on plant diversity in areas ranging in location from the New Jersey Pine Barrens to the tropical lowland rainforests of Costa Rica and temperate forests of Washington State. Daniela also studies the uses of plants as medicine, food, and textiles and works with indigenous cultures to reintroduce traditional land management and anthropogenic fire regimes that historically maintained the presence of these culturally important species. She is currently the Chair of Kean University's Department of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences where she teaches courses in ecology, conservation biology, field biology, medicinal botany, and environmental science.
Assistant Director of Sustainability, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Shrestha joined NJIT as the Assistant Director of Sustainability in February 2022. Dr. Shrestha is leading NJIT's effort to be carbon neutral while also ensuring that sustainability is a norm at the university. He is responsible for the development, coordination, and implementation of sustainability programs and policies at NJIT. In his free time, Dr. Shrestha enjoys spending time with his family exploring NJ and the tri-state area. He is an avid pickleball player.
Associate Professor, Department of Management and Leadership, Monmouth University
Dr. Jeffrey joined Monmouth University in September of 2009 and is teaching courses in business ethics. Prior to coming to Monmouth University, he taught organizational behavior and behavioral decision making at the University of Waterloo in southern Ontario, Canada. His current research interests revolve around the use of incentives in organizations, both for employees and for customers. In particular, he is interested in tangible incentives; high-end merchandise and travel. His most current project is leading up a research team exploring the motivational events industry. Dr. Jeffrey was recently named one of the 25 most influential people in the incentive industry.
President, IFVP Institute
Adjunct Faculty, School of Communication and Media, Montclair State University
Philip Bakelaar is the president of the IFVP Institute, which is an arm of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at Montclair State University. He is an experienced graphic facilitator and visual practitioner. His professional interests and specialties include communication theory, public relations theory, conflict management, strategic planning, and board development.
Program Coordinator, Office of Climate Action, Rutgers University
Katie Parrish is a program coordinator for the Rutgers Office of Climate Action. Previously, she supported the Rutgers Earth System Science & Policy Lab, and the Megapolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH). Before working at Rutgers, she managed logistics and communications for virtual events and programs for the Global Council for Science and the Environment in Washington D.C. With the Energy Foundation, she helped coordinate a coalition of 30+ environmental, social justice, and business organizations advocating for clean energy and transportation policies in New Jersey. She also served as chair of the Byram Township Environmental Commission.
Learn more about the policies of NJHEPS