Just in time for Earth Day and UNM's Third Annual Sustainability Expo, the University of New Mexico was listed as one of the United States' most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the newly released "Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition."

The guide is a collaboration between Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council to profile U.S. and Canadian higher education institutions that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in academic programs, infrastructure, activities and career guidance. UNM was chosen after the Princeton Review and USGBC investigated sustainability efforts of more than 700 colleges and universities. UNM is the only New Mexico higher education institution listed.

"We are very proud of our accomplishments in sustainability at UNM and are glad that the Princeton Review has included us in this publication so students can make the decision to choose UNM because we value sustainability," said Mary Clark, sustainability program specialist, Office of Sustainability.

UNM received special recognition in the Green Guide for its Sustainability Council, made up of students, staff and faculty working together with the Office of Sustainability to help oversee UNM's 2008 Sustainability Policy as well as the university's Sustainability Studies program, one of the first in the country.

Students in Sustainability Studies played a large role in helping develop the university's Climate Action Plan, which sets a goal of reducing UNM's carbon usage by 80 percent by 2030. They also started the "Knowledge is Power" campaign in late 2010, with a goal of lowering on-campus electricity usage by 10 percent.

Many of the sustainability efforts of the Research Service Learning Project – including courses focusing on sustainability, food security and social development, creation of the "Eco Rep" program, providing peer-to-peer guidance about energy conservation, recycling, alternative transportation and other areas of sustainability, were mentioned in the book. Students in the Research Service Learning Project were also responsible for writing the "Guide to Green Living at UNM."

"Sustainability is an integral part of many classes in architecture, engineering, management, and Communication and Journalism, to name a few," Clark added. "The Sustainability Studies minor is a perfect opportunity for a student to learn how to be a green architect, green biologist, operate a green business, or be a green community leader."

The Princeton Review created the online resource for college-bound students who are "(I)ncreasingly interested in sustainability issues," according to Robert Franek, senior vice president of publishing at the Princeton Review. "Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school."

Media Contact: Benson Hendrix (505) 277-1816; e-mail: bhendrix@unm.edu