Sustainability at Mason
Sustainability is one of Mason's core values. We educate leaders, conduct interdisciplinary research, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and promote and support socially conscious entrepreneurship. Join us in solving the complex challenges of today to create a better world tomorrow.
The ISE supports interdisciplinary research by connecting experts in various fields with each other and to policymakers, businesses, civic organizations, and communities. The power of this collaboration leads to discoveries and innovation that might otherwise take years to reach. We're making an impact now.
At SMSC, learn from Smithsonian scientists in a program that is unique in the nation. Safeguard vanishing species through hands-on, interdisciplinary conservation programs for undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, and high schoolers.
Our practices include: constructing LEED buildings; managing stormwater runoff; growing food in our greenhouse; planting bee pollinator gardens and teaching apiary management; making carbon-neutral/green purchases; being energy efficient; composting; and reducing waste.
This 50,000-square-foot facility, a destination for environmental science research along the Chesapeake Bay watershed, hosts collaborations with government agencies and private industry. It’s home to the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center and the Center for Geospatial Intelligence.
Sustainability Research at Mason
Much of the research conducted at Mason is connected in some way with sustainability.
Our researchers in different disciplines collaborate to find solutions to global problems.
In addition to the Institute for a Sustainable Earth and the university-wide Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities, nine of our schools and colleges have affiliated research centers that focus on an aspect of sustainability. Mason is one of the top research universities in the nation, holding an R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Study: Prepare to Make a Difference in the World
Mason provides students interested in sustainability an immersive experience that will allow you to craft a career in any field.
- Explore our Green Leaf sustainability-focused programs and courses, and build a career protecting the planet, enhancing lives, and preserving species.
- Study conservation biology at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, which offers three semester-long residential programs on the grounds of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, based in Front Royal, Virginia. This is the only program of its kind in the nation.
- Conduct research, both as an undergraduate and graduate. Apply for funding through the Patriot Green Fund and the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR).
- Travel the world in programs that take you to such places as a wildlife preserve in Kenya or the rainforests of Peru. Mason’s Global Education Office also offers scholarships.
Work: Craft a Career that Will Let You Make Your Mark
You don't have to wait for a degree to start your career in sustainability. Mason offers students, faculty and staff, and members of the community opportunities to work and build a business now.
- Explore “green” careers with guidance from Mason Career Services, which has specialized knowledge in the field.
- Find an on-campus or international internship, wage or salary position, or graduate assistantship in a sustainable field.
- Start a venture, intern, or get hands-on experience at one of the School of Business’ centers or initiatives focused on sustainability, such as the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, or the Business for a Better World Center.
- Become an entrepreneur with help from The Mason Innovation Exchange (The MIX). The Fairfax Campus is home to two of these maker spaces. The MIX hosts workshops, competitions, and accelerator programs. Business coaching and mentorship is available.
Live: Incorporate Your Values into Your Life
Your personal time can also be productive — and fun.
- Join our Environment and Sustainability Living Learning Community, where members work to conserve energy and water, recycle and compost, and follow sustainable practices.
- Volunteer at Mason's hydroponic greenhouse on campus. Our food system produces approximately 2,000 pounds of fresh produce every year, which supplies our dining halls and raises $20,000 to pay for supplies, staff, and utilities.
- Take advantage of campus biking support resources, such as dedicated racks, shelters, and fix-it stations, as well as our new Bike Checkout Program.
- Enjoy the countryside with Mason Rec's Outdoor Adventures off-campus trips. You'll get nature awareness training that lets you leave no trace behind.
- Join a green student group, a sustainability-focused organization, such as Green Patriots and the GMU Organic Garden Association (GOGA).
- Go on an alternative break, a service-learning experience in which you’ll work with organizations focused on an area of social justice, such as ecosystem restoration or indigenous rights.
We know we’re a sustainable university. Others know it, too.
- Mason is the first university in Virginia to earn an AASHE STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability (AASHE). We are actively working to go platinum by reducing environmental impact through strategic infrastructure improvements, efficiency upgrades, operational commitments, and by growing smartly and sustainably.
- We just celebrated our tenth feature in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges.
- We’re on the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools listing for 2019.
- We’ve been recognized as a Bicycle-Friendly University (PDF) by the League of American Bicyclists.