George Mason University

News at Mason

GEICO Sponsors Mason Sustainability Program

March 30, 2011

Mar. 30, 2011

Media Contact: Catherine Probst, 703-993-8813

FAIRFAX, Va., (March 30, 2011)—George Mason University has partnered with GEICO in sponsorship of Go Green with Gunston, an environmental education program aimed at elementary school students and their families. As a sponsor, GEICO will contribute $15,000 annually over the next three years to the program that teaches students throughout Fairfax County about sustainability and renewable energy sources.

The Go Green with Gunston program uses Mason’s former athletics mascot, Gunston, as a sustainability community ambassador. Gunston and a non-costumed educator visit Fairfax County kindergarten to grade three students who participate in the School Age Child Care (SACC) program. The two ambassadors guide interactive lessons to spark children’s interest in the world of science and the environment.

“We feel very fortunate and excited to have GEICO as the program’s sponsor,” says Traci Claar, director of community relations at Mason. “This partnership will help us solidify a foundation of sustainability education throughout the region and allow us to continue expanding the program to reach an even wider audience.”

To get students involved, the program includes multiple hands-on activities and take-home materials so that students can share with their families the lessons they learned. It also features an interactive website geared toward children and their families, directing their attention to the multiple sustainability initiatives.

“GEICO is pleased to be a part of George Mason’s ‘Go Green with Gunston’ environmental educational program,” says Joe Thomas, GEICO regional vice president. “Mason’s award-winning program featuring Gunston is the perfect community ambassador to get the message across to school children and their families about the importance of energy efficiency and sustainable practices.”

The Go Green with Gunston program was developed in partnership with the National Energy Education Development Project. In its first two years, the program has taught more than 1,500 children and has been recognized with several awards. Most recently, it received the 2010 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo), in partnership with the Fairfax County Office for Children. It also won a 2010 CASE III (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) Award of Excellence in the category of Institutional Relations Programs; and a 2010 Spotlight Award from the Virginia Recycling Association for the program’s logo.

Go Green with Gunston is part of Mason’s commitment to local and global stewardship. Mason President Alan Merten signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and the university is developing strategies to become climate-neutral by 2050.

More information about Go Green with Gunston can be found on the program’s website:

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.


GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the third-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States. The company is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. GEICO handles auto insurance coverage for 10 million private passenger auto policies and insures more than 16 million vehicles. In addition to auto insurance, GEICO offers customers insurance products for their motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and mobile homes.  Coverage for life, boats, homes and apartments is available through the GEICO Insurance Agency.  Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.  As a member of the Berkshire Hathaway group of companies, GEICO is rated A++ for financial strength by A.M. Best Company and ranks at the top of several national customer satisfaction surveys.