The University of New Mexico is one of the 332 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company known for its test prep programs and college rankings, ratings, and guidebooks profiles UNM in the sixth annual edition of its free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges."
The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools' commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The institutional survey included questions on the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.
Published April 17, a few days before the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, the 216-page guide is the only free comprehensive resource of its kind: it can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.
The Princeton Review created its "Guide to 332 Green Colleges" in partnership with the Center for Green Schools (www.usgbc.org) at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The 322 school profiles in the guide feature essential information for applicants – facts and stats on school demographics, admission, financial aid – plus write-ups on the schools' sustainability initiatives. A "Green Facts" sidebar reports on a wide range of topics from the school's use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.
In the guide's profile on UNM, The Princeton Review highlights the school's commitment to sustainability as a core value. “UNM has incorporated sustainability into all aspects of campus life through use of renewable energy, academic programs, innovative research, campus community gardens, support of alternative transportation, recycling, green purchasing, and energy and water conservation."
When asked why UNM should be included in the list of green schools, Hans Barsun, Utilities Engineer, said “The University of New Mexico continues to be a leader in implementing affordable, efficient, and renewable energy technologies," said Hans Barsun, Utilities engineer. "UNM uses cogeneration facilities to use heat from power generation to heat and cool the campus so that the energy from burning fuel is used twice instead of once. UNM is continuing its efforts to renovate buildings to improve efficiency which has allowed the overall energy use to stay flat and even decrease as the campus has grown. UNM is also steadily increasing the amount of solar power installations on campus and is actively participating in cutting-edge research in technologies for improved overall energy efficiencies.
"All this along with our Sustainability Studies minor and groundbreaking research in renewable energy and energy conservation makes UNM a university that sets the standard for a ‘green school’.”
Said Rob Franek, Senior VP/Publisher, The Princeton Review, "We are pleased to recommend the University of New Mexico to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices."
Franek noted his Company's recent survey findings indicating significant interest among college applicants in attending "green" colleges. "Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' 61 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he said.
Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, commented "In collaborating with The Princeton Review on this annual guide, we have seen that sustainability on campuses continues to be an important deciding factor for today’s four-year college bound students. We are excited to once again provide prospective students and their parents with a resource to help them navigate this often daunting decision-making process.”
How schools were chosen for the book
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey the Company conducted in 2013. The survey asked administrators at hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and Canada about their institution's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Using survey data that covered more than 25 fields, The Princeton Review tallied its "Green Ratings" (scores from 60 to 99) for 832 schools and reported them in the school profiles on the Company's website and in its college guides in summer 2013. The 332 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools 1 to 332, nor does it report their Green Rating scores in this book.) Information about the Company's Green Rating and its "Green Honor Roll" list of 22 schools that received the highest possible score, 99, is at Green Honor Roll.
“Love Red, Live Green.” Sustainability is a core value at the University of New Mexico. UNM celebrates Earth Day each year with a Sustainability Expo. The Sustainability Studies Program (SSP) was one of the first of its kind in the country and SSP students were instrumental in writing UNM’s Climate Action Plan (with a goal to reduce carbon usage 80 percent by 2030) and developing community gardens on campus. SSP students launched the “Knowledge is Power” campaign, designed to reduce the electrical usage on campus by 10 percent.
The Research Service Learning Program (RSLP) offers UNM students courses related to sustainability, food security, and social development. RSLP students wrote a “Guide to Green Living at UNM” an developed an Eco-Rep program for the residence halls to provide peer-to-peer guidance in recycling, energy conservation, alternative transportation, and purchasing locally grown organic foods. In an effort to conserve energy, the administration has moved swiftly, retrofitting 90 percent of the campus’ existing buildings over the past several years.
UNM is an institution that prides itself on innovative research, and the National Science Foundation established a new Engineering Research Center whose goal is to replace the common light bulb with next-generation lighting devices that are smarter, greener, and technologically advanced. Electrical and computer engineering students have designed a solar-powered car in a photovoltaics course. Classes with topics related to sustainability are also offered in diverse disciplines ranging from American studies to Journalism.