Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.78
Liaison Greg Farley
Submission Date Sept. 9, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Mason University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Margaret Lo
University Sustainability Director
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

George Mason University (Mason) has a green fund called the Patriot Green Fund (PGF) which provides funding for student sustainability research and projects that green Mason's campuses. Many of these projects are generated in sustainability classes and use the campus as a living laboratory. Students apply the knowledge learned in their classes and gain professional skills through these experiences. For example, ten electricial and civil engineering students designed, built, and installed a solar-powered outdoor collaboration space which includes, lighting, chargers for laptops and cellphones, a wifi booster and display with HDMI input does not produce greenhouse gas emissions and is off of Mason's grid.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Mason students in collaboration with The Office of Sustainability piloted smart power strips in housing buildings on campus. For this pilot a housing building was chosen on campus and had smart power strips installed with energy monitors to record the energy savings or gain. This information was then compared to the building level energy usage to estimate annual savings or gains from the power strips. This data was then used to make a decision on if the building should recieve power strips for every room.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

At George Mason University, several groups on campus such as the Office of Sustainability, Mason Dining, Mason's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and student groups, are collaborating to grow produce to be served in the campus dining hall. Students are learning about innovative growing processes and systems and retrofitting an existing greenhouse to accommodate for new systems.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

As a final project in a capstone engineering class and with the support of the PGF, ten electrical and civil undergraduate engineering students designed, built, and installed a solar powered outdoor learning space with an adaptive power management system. For more information, http://newsdesk.gmu.edu/2014/06/engineering-students-team-build-outdoor-workstation/


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Mason students are very interested in sustainable landscaping and edible landscapes on campus. For example, the School of Art maintains the SoA Green Studio which offers students a living studio in which to creatively explore the interdependence of biological and cultural systems. The Eco Art class explores current discourse on art, ecology, and environmentalism, while challenging students to conceptualize and make engaging, creative, and ecologically informed responses to their world(s).


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Through the Patriot Green Fund which provides funding for student sustainability research and projects that green Mason's campuses. Many of these projects are generated in sustainability classes and use the campus as a living laboratory. Students apply the knowledge learned in their classes and gain professional skills through these experiences, such as budget writing and management. In several of these projects, students learn about and work within Mason's state purchasing processes to purchase items for their projects. The Sustainability Living Learning Community as well as the Green Patriots student group have had the most involvement with purchasing.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Mason has been using campus as a living laboratory for transportation through faculty, students, and Facilities collaborating on gathering vehicle count data at each entrance to campus. This data will be used to help Facilities make informed transportation demand management decisions and campus entrance enhancement decisions.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Many of Mason's students are interested in helping Mason recycle and reduce its waste. With support from the Patriot Green Fund, students have installed bins for student electronic waste; placed in-room recycling bins into each suite in Mason's residential halls; tested recycling bins with visual displays; and researched impacts of reversing recycling and waste collection processes. As part of these projects students are taught how to perform waste audits and are responsible for measuring their project's performance.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Several of Mason's faculty members and students are doing research on water quality and stormwater management. For example, faculty members and students have set up several weather and water monitoring stations on campus to measure environmental conditions, water quantity, and water quality at Mason. In addition to scholarly work, this data will help Facilities forecast and manage its stormwater program.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

As a project for Mason's course Sustainability in Action, students explored Mason's existing recycling policy and discovered it was outdated. Through coordination with student groups and different offices on campus they lobbied to have the recycling policy updated and were successful. The policy update is currently underway.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

With the aim to help their fellow students, Mason Meals was formed to take action towards helping Mason's homeless student population with food scarcity. Mason Meals organizes students who use their left over meal plan swipes to purchase sandwiches and then donate them to homeless students as well as homeless community members.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 9, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

As part of Mason's strategic goals, the university will strive to be a model well-being university. Mason has a Mindfulness Living Learning Community within its residence hall where students apply theories learned in its well-being classes into their lives. Students learn mindful practices to reduce stress and build resilience. In post-assessment surveys, students had increased their grade point average after practicing mindfulness.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

One example of Mason using the campus as a living laboratory for public engagement is through its Innovation Food Forest. Mason's Office of Continuing Professional Education offers a Permaculture Design Certification Course. During the class and afterwards, community members apply the theories about permanent agriculture and holistic landscape management on Mason's campus.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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