Lawrence University is one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review.

The national education services company selected Lawrence for its new resource for college applicants, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is a comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.

The guide profiles the nation’s most environmentally-responsible campuses and highlights each institution’s ecological commitment based on several criteria, including the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program, use of renewable energy resources, formal sustainability committees and recycling and conservation programs.

Lawrence was cited in the guide for its Green Roots program, a two-year-long environmental initiative launched in 2008 designed to establish a framework to develop institutional policies and procedures to promote environmental awareness on the campus.

Other factors in Lawrence’s inclusion in the Green Guide included the Warch Campus Center’s LEED Gold certification, the student-run sustainable garden that provides fresh produce to the dining hall, the composting of all food prep waste and the college’s vibrant environmental studies program that draws faculty from 11 different departments and focuses on research projects that lead to solutions for real world environmental problems.

More recently, Lawrence installed its first solar panel and placed ninth nationally among 346 colleges in the 2010 Recyclemania competition’s per capita recycling category.

“Over the past two years, Lawrence has made great strides in its efforts to improve our sustainability and instill environmentally sound practices, from reducing our water and natural gas consumption to dramatically cutting our paper usage” said Jeff Clark, associate professor of geology and faculty associate to the president for the Green Roots initiative. “It’s gratifying to have those efforts recognized.”

The 286 schools included in the guide were selected on the basis of their 2009 “Green Rating” scores in The Princeton Review’s annual college guidebook. The “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60–99 based on several data points developed in conjunction with the USGBC. Lawrence’s green rating was 83.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Princeton Review, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents indicated information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it.

“Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”