Secretary's Column

Secretary’s July 2017 Column

In Praise of Peace and Prosperity

By Rochelle Hendricks
Secretary of Higher Education

Judging by the many excellent submissions we received for our special International Theme blog, New Jersey colleges and universities clearly understand the critical importance of preparing our students to serve and compete in an increasingly global society.

I am delighted that New Jersey institutions are offering opportunities for study in West Africa, Cuba, the Alps and Venice, to name but a few of the international locations described in stories elsewhere in our blog today. These educational opportunities cultivate knowledge, skill, awareness and leadership in a highly interconnected and interdependent world.

By learning about the world, students are better prepared to help find ways to improve it, to play active role in creating a just, peaceful, inclusive and sustainable future. Students entering the marketplace today are finding that making a living does not have to conflict with being a good global citizen. In fact, that is why our office recently gave our first Global Impact Award to Michele Bongiovanni.

Michele, a recent Rutgers graduate, is the passionate CEO and Founder of HealRWorld LLC, a social impact firm that uses data and financial strategies to support sustainable investments around the world. Investors can make money, she believes, while supporting companies, both domestically and globally, that foster positive change.

As we have looked to grow our global commitment, I have sent New Jersey delegations to the United Nations to support the U.N.’s sustainable development goals, including strengthening connections between education and corporations and the role of mini, small and middle businesses in global economies.

I am pleased that in our first year of participating in the federal Green Ribbon Program, Raritan Valley Community College was one of only 11 higher education institutions in the nation selected to be a Green Ribbon School. The Green Ribbon program recognizes commitment to sustainable practices in facilities, health, and environmental education, and it encourages institutions to promote the health and well-being of their employees, faculty and students. We look forward to continuing with the federal program and adding more winners in the future.

We all live on this one planet. To survive and prosper, we will need to work together and respect our rich, diverse cultures and experiences. I congratulate the institutions that are providing international experiences for our students to expand and enrich their potential. They are our hope for a future where peace and prosperity can co-exist.

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