Social and Cultural History

Environmental History

  • Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.

    Description: Born in 1948, Wayne R. Ferren, Jr. grew up in Camden, New Jersey. He went to the Rutgers Camden College of Arts and Sciences from 1966 to 1970 and majored in geology. He worked in the herbarium and was influenced by faculty member Ralph E. Good. In the interview, he discusses the anti-war movement, draft lottery, national student strike and campus shutdown in 1970. He helped to organize the first Earth Day at Rutgers-Camden. Ferren traces his experiences in applying for conscientious objector (CO) status and the process of consulting with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, being denied by the draft board, and ultimately receiving CO status during an appeal. During his two years of alternative service, he worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He received his master's degree in biology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. He spent twenty-six years at the University of California-Santa Barbara, first as the curator of the herbarium and then as the Executive Director of the Museum of Systematics and Ecology (MSE) and Director of Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve and Assistant Director of the UCSB Natural Reserve System. Since 2004, he has worked as an environmental consultant. He has been active in environmental justice and conscientious objector organizations. Ferren is the author of Conscientious Objector: A Journey of Peace, Justice, Culture, and Environment. His website can be found at
  • Michael R. Greenberg

    Michael R. Greenberg, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. Born in the Bronx in 1943, he grew up in the Bronx and Yonkers and attended public schools. He attended Hunter College, where he played baseball and earned his B.A. For graduate school, he studied at Columbia, where he received his M.A. in urban geography and Ph.D. in environmental and medical geography. In the interview, he recalls being a graduate student at Columbia during the turbulent years of the late 1960s. After beginning his career at Columbia, he joined the faculty at Livingston College in 1971. He discusses the early years of Livingston and the development of the urban planning department. Over the course of his career, he has specialized in environmental health, environmental planning and management and risk analysis and has written more than thirty books and over three hundred articles. He has been a member of numerous National Research Council Committees, including those focusing on the disposal of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, chemical waste management, and the degradation of the U.S. physical infrastructure. He has served on advisory boards for several governmental departments and agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research. He served as the editor-in-chief of Risk Analysis and as associate editor for environmental health for the American Journal of Public Health. He served as the Associate Dean of the Bloustein School from 2000 to 2017 and as Interim Dean in 2017-'18. Dr. Greenberg is the 2019 recipient of the Gorenstein Memorial Award. In the oral history, he examines changes at Rutgers over the course of the pandemic, as well as public policy issues concerning COVID-19 and resulting health disparities.
  • Sue Kozel

    Description: Sue Kozel was born in Somerville, New Jersey in 1958. Growing up in Dunellen, she went to public schools. During high school, she played tennis on the boys' tennis team, as there was no team for young women. She also developed interests in music and journalism.Kozel began attending Douglass College in 1976 and then transferred to Livingston College, graduating in 1981 with a B.A. in labor studies and political science. She wrote for The Caellian at Douglass, in particular a column called the "Feminist Perspective," and for The Medium at Livingston. She served as a University Senator and student representative to the Board of Trustees. In the interviews, she discusses the atmosphere at Livingston College and influential professors, including Gerald Pomper, John Leggett, Dee Garrison, Sherry Gorelick, Wells Keddie, Charley Flint, Tony Vega and Norman Markowitz. She reflects about being a first-generation college student going to college on the Educational Opportunity Fund. As an undergraduate and a graduate student, Kozel was a part of the movement against apartheid in South Africa, pushing for the divestiture of University funds from corporations doing business with South Africa. She was a part of the Coalition in Solidarity with South African Liberation (CISSAL) as an undergrad. As an alum in 1985, she chaired the University Senate Investment Advisory Committee, partook in the occupation of the Student Center, and spoke at the decisive Board of Governors meeting about the imperative of Rutgers' divestment. In 1979-1980, Kozel became involved with the Alliance for Rutgers Federation to oppose academic reorganization, which ultimately occurred with the formation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1981. She also was active in the Committee to Organize Student Workers (COSW) and in the movement against tuition increases. At her Livingston College graduation in 1981, Kozel gave a commencement address. She began her career working as a labor organizer in Pennsylvania and then at the Public Leadership Education Network at the Center for the American Women and Politics. In 1985, she received an M.A. in Labor Studies from the Rutgers Institute of Management and Labor Relations. In 1987, she received an M.A. in American History from New York University. In 1988, Kozel became active in efforts of the Friends of the Rutgers Ecological Preserve (FREP) to halt University efforts to develop the Rutgers Ecological Preserve. In the interview, she discusses the coalition-building efforts of FREP, the interplay of the issues of preservation and affordable housing, and the strategies employed by FREP to ensure the protection of the ecological preserve. Kozel and her husband Chris Berzinski, LC '80, also a student activist involved in multiple movements, amassed a collection of textual records and other artifacts related to activism at Rutgers, which they donated to Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. The "Guide to the Rutgers Grass Roots-Progressive Activists Files" can be found at Over the course of her career, Kozel has worked in public relations, including running her own firm SK Visions, and has been involved in local and national initiatives. She has taught as an adjunct history professor at multiple institutions including Kean and William Paterson Universities. In 2021, Kozel served as a one-month fellow with the International Center for Jefferson Studies, affiliated with Monticello, one of Thomas Jefferson's slave plantations. As a recipient of the 2020-2022 Public Scholar designation by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Kozel is researching "Why Wench Betty’s Story Matters: The Murder of a Slave in 1784." She is the co-editor of Quakers and Their Allies in the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808 (Routledge, 2017).
  • Mark S. Morrison

    Description: Mark Morrison was born in Manhattan in New York City in 1942 to Jewish parents.  He attended Rutgers College from 1960-1964 and received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration.  Morrison was drafted into military service in 1967 but failed his physical.  After college, he worked as an accountant.
  • Richard L. Scott, Jr.

    Description: Born in Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Scott was raised in Caldwell, NJ, and graduated from the Newark Academy in 1943. He served in the US Army during World War II as a machine-gunner in the Fifth Infantry Division, Third Army, including service in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned his officer's commission after V-E Day.  From 1946 to 1950, he studied agriculture at the Rutgers College of Agriculture on the GI Bill. After graduating, he managed a farm in Red Hook, NY, for five years. He then earned a master's in science education from NYU in 1958, and pursued a doctorate in environmental science there as well. For thirty years, he taught chemistry in Neptune Senior High School. Mr. Scott engaged in numerous civic and volunteer activities in Monmouth County, many pertaining to his interest in nature and environmental protection. He also served two enlistments in the NJ National Guard with the 50th Armored Division.
  • David Sive

    Description: Mr. Sive served as an infantryman in the ETO during World War II. He earned his law degree at Columbia on the GI Bill and later worked on landmark environmental cases, including Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission 354 F.2d 608 (2d Cir. 1965), which led to federal environmental protection acts. He founded the Sive, Paget, and Riesel law firm and became known as "the Founding Father of Environmental Law." Working with local and national environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club, Mr. Sive also helped shape legislation that preserved the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York State.
  • Irwin Spetgang

    Description: Irwin Spetgang was born in New Jersey and attended Rutgers, later serving in the US Army in the 1950s.  After his service, Spetgang became an engineer at RCA in Camden.  Spetgang, along with his wife, Tilly, became involved in the environmental movement, especially with solar power.
  • Tilly Spetgang

    Description: Tilly Spetgang was born in New York City and became a reporter for various newspapers over her long career in the industry.  She was involved heavily in the environmental movement, especially with disseminating information to non-experts about how solar power worked.  She was a major figure in the grassroots water conservation movement that led to reduced water usage in toilet mechanisms in the plumbing industry.
  • Elmer E. Wagner

    Description: Mr. Wagner served as a P-51 tactical reconnaissance pilot in England and Northern Europe during World War II. He later spent his career in New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.