NJDOT, TransOptions recognize Drew’s leadership in green living with two accolades.

Christina Notas, Drew’s campus sustainability coordinator, has been named the 2012 TransOptions College Champion.

Drew University’s efforts to go green have gone platinum. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), along with its nonprofit partner TransOptions, is set to award the school its highest honor—a platinum rating—for eco-friendly practices and policies related to travel and commuting. The architect of Drew’s green initiatives, Tina Notas, campus sustainability coordinator, will also be honored as this year’s New Jersey College Champion—a distinction that recognizes her leadership in the university’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

“These latest accolades from the State of New Jersey and TransOptions reflect the Drew community’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” says Drew’s President for the Interim Term Vivian A. Bull. “It is a collective effort shared by students, faculty and staff, whose continued teamwork will help us retain our national leadership in campus sustainability.”

Notas says the NJDOT’s platinum rating refers to Drew’s standing in its Smart Workplaces program, which evaluates all professional organizations in the state, and assesses their use of public and alternative transportation options.

“Drew is doing a lot to encourage students, faculty and staff to commute to campus in ways that lessen our overall environmental impact,” says Notas. “We give them the tools they need to arrange car pools, use mass transit or bike to campus.”

The university also helped to launch the Madison Avenue Direct, its newest green transportation option, in September.

“The Madison Avenue Direct, or MAD, is a shared, low-cost shuttle service that runs in a continuous loop between Drew, downtown Madison, the College of St. Elizabeth and Fairleigh Dickinson University,” says Notas. “It relieves a lot of the pressure felt by students to have a car of their own and it also creates a physical link between Drew and its higher education neighbors down the road.”

In addition to the array of eco-friendly lifestyle and operations practices at Drew, the university also offers a popular undergraduate major in environmental studies and sustainability. This course of study prepares students to lead scientific research and policy initiatives that benefit the global eco-system.

Notas, who will receive the TransOptions College Champion Award, says she’s gratified to have her work recognized, but wants to redefine the title of her accolade.

“I don’t consider myself a champion in the sense of being a winner,” she says. “I’d much rather be thought of as the champion of a very worthy cause.”—Michael Bressman