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 Sustainable Princeton Rebrands S.T.A.R. Neighborhood Progam


Elana Berk Communications & Outreach Manager

Sustainable Princeton

(609) 454-4757

Sustainable Princeton Rebrands S.T.A.R. Neighborhood Program

The new program prioritizes community collaboration over competition

[Princeton, NJ]: Launched in 2019, the S.T.A.R. Neighborhood program gives Princeton residents the opportunity to actively participate in building a more sustainable, together, and resilient community. S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods are part of a community of sustainably-minded and engaged neighbors with access to special resources and educational opportunities.

How do S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods take action? S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods each choose from a list of suggested actions and work together to complete tasks such as hosting neighborhood home energy audits, building leaf corals, and more, all to strengthen community connections and reduce their carbon footprint. Tasks were worth points in the past, which counted towards a ranking system. The neighborhoods were certified gold, silver, or bronze and recognized at a special ceremony at the end of each year.

While the program has been a success with over 14 neighborhoods participating across Princeton, with many in the silver and gold category, Sustainable Princeton is excited to share changes to the S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods, emphasizing community over competition. As of January 2024, the program encourages collaboration and partnership in place of a points/rank-based system.

“We surveyed our current S.T.A.R. Neighborhood residents and hosted focus groups in 2023 to learn what activities and events would be most interesting and motivating. In response, we piloted a Swap Party and a native plant and tree distribution. We also heard that collaboration and information sharing amongst participants was more appealing than competition. So we made these changes to make it easier to start a neighborhood and participate in activities,” said Lisa Nicolaison, the S.T.A.R. Neighborhood Program manager at Sustainable Princeton.

In addition to the program updates, the S.T.A.R. Neighborhood Program is also rebranding with a new logo to better reflect the diversity of neighborhoods. 

One aspect of the program that isn’t changing is that all participating S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods will still have the opportunity to apply for mini-grants of $25 to $500 to support a neighborhood’s sustainable initiatives that either help protect the local ecosystem, reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase a neighborhood’s resiliency against climate change. For example, funds can be used to host a rain barrel workshop, create home emergency kits, or fund home energy audits. 

“The program encourages neighbors to get to know each other and build community,” said Lisa Nicolaison. “In times of need, a close-knit community can be lifesaving, and as extreme weather events become more frequent with climate change, local support networks are more crucial than ever before.”

For more information about the S.T.A.R. Neighborhood program, visit our website or email

About Sustainable Princeton

Founded in 2012, Sustainable Princeton is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire the community to develop and implement solutions that positively impact the environment. We envision Princeton as a model town that examines every action through the lens of sustainability, ensuring a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all community members now and in the future. Our office is located at 1 Monument Drive, Princeton, New Jersey. For more information, visit