George Mason University endorses the urgent need for the United States to adopt a net-zero trajectory and urges the federal government to “pursue a just and ambitious approach to climate policy and economic renewal” through its participation in the “America Is All In” statement from the We Are Still In coalition.
With President Biden recommitting the United States to the Paris Climate Accord on his first day in office, there is a renewed focus on sustainability and climate change.
Mason President Gregory Washington joins more than 1,500 colleges, universities, businesses and municipalities in support of the America Is All In statement issued by the We Are Still In coalition. President Washington’s signature sustains Mason’s continued commitment to the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, which it affirmed in 2018 as a signatory of the ‘We Are Still In’ declaration.
Mason will continue to center climate in its institutional operations while exploring novel opportunities for partnerships between federal and non-federal actors.
A healthy planet is one of the four grand challenges President Washington has set forth for the university—along with health people, a health economy and healthy society—and Mason’s commitment to research and action in the climate space is long-reaching.
In 2007, then-President Alan Merten was a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which committed Mason to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Office of Sustainability was formed to help realize Mason’s carbon neutral commitment. In 2010, Mason joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) as a Charter Participant. And in 2014, Mason become the first university in Virginia to earn a “Gold” rating.
In 2019, Mason launched the Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE), a multidisciplinary, faculty-driven research institute that addresses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. ISE boasts more than 550 faculty members representing diverse academic departments. In addition, Mason is actively engaged in research for resilient and sustainable societies with an established goal of investing $80 million by 2024.
Mason faculty are globally recognized for their expertise in and contributions to climate dynamics, environmental science, global affairs, and conflict analysis and resolution, among many others. Campus centers like the Center for Climate Change Communications (4C) are recognized for influential projects such as the “Climate Change and the American Mind” survey and “Global Warming’s Six Americas,” both done in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
The Green Leaf program provides students with more than 125 classes and more than 25 degree programs that are sustainability-focused or sustainability-related.
Mason launched the Mason Sustainability Council (MSC) in November 2020 to bring together diverse expertise and perspectives from across Mason to chart a sustainable future for the institution, which includes the creation of a Strategic Plan for Sustainability and updating the current Climate Action Plan.
Since 2010, Mason has been featured in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges 11 consecutive times. In addition, Mason has earned a spot in the Sierra Club’s annual ‘Cool Schools’ ranking nine times and placed in the top 20% in 2020.
Mason’s commitment to “America Is All In” is another example of the institution’s long-term commitment and leadership to act and advocate for the changes necessary to create a sustainable future for people and the planet.
Listen to Mason voices on climate change.