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New Sustainability Institute at Mason Offers Series of Public Workshops

April 13, 2011

Apr. 13, 2011

Media Contact: Catherine Probst, 703-993-8813

FAIRFAX, Va., April 13, 2011—George Mason University’s Office of Sustainability announces the creation of a Sustainability Institute (MSI), an entity that will provide the Mason community and surrounding region with a sustainability-oriented education.

MSI’s primary objective is to bring together members of the general public, students, faculty and staff members, local businesses, representatives of non-profit organizations and the local government to help them become sustainabilility stewards for their homes, businesses and the entire Northern Virginia region.

While the Office of Sustainability will oversee MSI, its initiatives will be coordinated by Michele Waterman, a 2008 Mason graduate.

“I am very pleased to be part of Mason’s Sustainability Institute. The institute supports the philosophy that we need to create a cultural shift toward green and sustainable living,” says Waterman. “We aim to achieve this by creating a strong local network of individuals, business and organizations interested in the same. Sustainability is not just an end goal, but also an approach to decision-making that can preserve the social and, in many cases, economic well being of our communities.”

For the remainder of 2011, MSI is offering a series of workshops that are open to the public.   Workshop topics will include basic vegetable gardening, sustainable food choices, energy efficiency at home, waste minimization and water conservation. They will be taught by a number of volunteer experts from the Northern Virginia soil and Water Conservation District, the Virginia Agricultural Extension Service, Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste Disposal and Resource Recovery, various local small and green business owners and students and staff of Mason.

The first workshop, which will cover organic gardening, is set for April 23, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. A second session will take place on May 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Registration fee is $20. Adria Bordas, who earned her master’s degree in plant pathology at University of California at Davis, will be the instructor for this workshop. She works closely with residents and landscape and nursery industry professionals of Fairfax County.

The second workshop, which will cover proper composting for healthy garden soil, is set for April 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A second session is set for April 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Registration fee is $15. Dan Schwartz, soil scientist for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, will be the instructor.

Persons may register for either one or both workshops and learn more about the entire series at

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.