The University of New Mexico (UNM) is taking a significant step towards a sustainable future with the creation of a new, dedicated Sustainability Department. This initiative aligns with UNM's commitment to creating a more eco-friendly and environmentally responsible campus in alignment with the UNM 2040 Strategic Planning Framework.

The Sustainability Department's mission is to champion the reduction of UNM's environmental impact, focusing on five core university activities:

  • Material Management
  • Energy
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Food and Dining Services
  • Transportation

As the new department launches, a comprehensive UNM Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) is in the works to identify and mitigate the university's environmental footprint. This plan will outline specific targets and projects to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, with projects prioritized based on feasibility and importance.

Leadership and Oversight

To lead this mission, UNM is currently conducting a search for a Director of Sustainability, who will report directly to the Assistant Vice President of Campus Environments & Facilities for Institutional Support Services. The Director who steps into the roll will be tasked with assembling a Sustainability Steering Committee, comprising representatives from various university sectors, including Facilities Management, Utility Services, Planning, Design & Construction, UNM Food, Sustainability Studies, Student Groups, Purchasing, and other key stakeholders.

Lisa Marbury, assistant vice president of Campus Environments & Facilities, said "This initiative marks a significant step in our journey toward a more sustainable future. By creating a dedicated Sustainability Department and enlisting a Director of Sustainability, we are better poised to reduce our environmental impact and align our efforts with the UNM 2040 strategic vision."

The Director of Sustainability will work closely with this committee to establish an SSP and ensure ongoing updates on project progress. The university's ambitious 2040 GHG Emissions Target will be a top priority, with key tasks that include streamlining GHG inventory processes and creating tactics teams for each of the five GHG activities.

The UNM Sustainability Vision

The UNM Sustainability Department will strive to develop short- and long-term goals aligned with the university's broader sustainability objectives. It will work to ensure that sustainability standards and requirements are met, not only in campus operations but also across areas like education, research, creative works, and administration.

The new department will play a pivotal role in aligning UNM with the vision and goals outlined in the UNM 2040: Opportunity Defined strategic planning process. The transition plan for the Sustainability Department, which will include the creation of a dedicated departmental website, will be developed over the coming weeks and months.

“By establishing a dedicated Sustainability department, The University of New Mexico is taking a giant leap towards a greener, more sustainable future, solidifying its commitment to making impactful change not just on campus, but for our community,” says Marbury. “Join us in celebrating this monumental step towards a cleaner, healthier planet and a more sustainable future for all.”