Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.78
Liaison Amber Saxton
Submission Date Sept. 1, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

George Mason University
EN-11: Inter-Campus Collaboration

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Margaret Lo
University Sustainability Director
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution an active member of a national or international sustainability network?:

The name of the national or international sustainability network(s):

George Mason University (Mason) participates in numerous national and international sustainability networks. Some of the international and national networks include the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; UN Global Compact to promote sustainable development globally; UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative; EPA Green Power Partnership; and American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

Is the institution an active member of a regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network?:

The name of the regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network(s):

Mason has continued to be an active member of regional, state, and local sustainability networks including the Virginia Sustainability in Higher Education Consortium, Metro DC Sustainability Group, Sustainable Food Consortium, NoVA Outside, and Alliance of Environmental Educators.

Has the institution presented at a sustainability conference during the previous year? :

A list or brief description of the conference(s) and presentation(s):

George Mason University faculty has participated in multiple conferences in 2016, most notably the 2016 UN Biodiversity Conference. Environmental Science and Policy associate professor Dr. Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers moderated and participated in two side discussions during the conference located in Cancun, Mexico. Her discussions highlighted the rethinking of biodiversity governance in relation to the Paris Climate Agreement. She also spoke on the need to shift thinking of a post-2020 strategy for biodiversity to processes rather than targets.

Additionally in 2016, George Mason’s Greenhouse Coordinator, Doni Nolan, presented at the AASHE 2016: Beyond the Campus conference. She presented GMU’s President’s Park Greenhouse (PPG) as an example of a successful interdepartmental collaboration around sustainable food production on a college campus. The presentation also went over the integration of PPG as a living laboratory at GMU by allowing students to get hands-on learning experience through internships and experiential learning in classes.

Has the institution submitted a case study during the previous year to a sustainability awards program that is inclusive of multiple campuses? :

A list or brief description of the awards program(s) and submission(s):

Has the institution had staff, students or faculty serving on a board or committee of a sustainability network or conference during the previous three years? :

A list or brief description of the board or committee appointment(s):

Professor Andrew Wingfield serves on the committee for the Sustainable Food Consortium, a consortium of large, public Virginia universities such as University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and George Mason University. The consortium includes faculty and staff from these universities as well as staff from the primary food provider on each campus. The participants work to increase awareness of sustainable food issues and the availability of locally grown food on each campus.

Does the institution have an ongoing mentoring relationship with another institution through which it assists the institution with its sustainability reporting and/or the development of its sustainability program?:

A brief description of the mentoring relationship and activities:

George Mason has faculty members on the Climate, Energy and Environmental Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which have advised over 20 local governments on greenhouse gas reduction programs. George Mason University also has a close relationship with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), which has extended to the community college’s recent sustainability efforts. NVCC is currently planning for a produce garden on their Manassas campus, and will be implemented in 2017. This produce garden, like Mason’s multiple on campus gardens, will be used as a living laboratory and integrate some biology, botany, and environmental science courses.

Has the institution had staff, faculty, or students serving as peer reviewers of another institution’s sustainability data (e.g. GHG emissions or course inventory) and/or STARS submission during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the peer review activities:

Has the institution participated in other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year, e.g. joint planning or resource sharing with other institutions? :

A brief description of other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year:

George Mason University is a member of 4-VA, a collaborative partnership among five Virginia universities: George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. The 4-VA program combines the talent and resources from all the universities to further the Commonwealth’s higher education initiatives. In 2016, 4-VA awarded a grant to George Mason University, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion, to work on a collaborative study of wetland resilience to nitrogen pollutant loading. The three schools are working together by sharing information and resources that will increase the scientific understanding on the impact of created or restored wetlands on nitrogen pollutant loading.

The 4-VA also enables participating universities to share courses that would otherwise not be available at other universities. In 2016, the George Mason course EVPP 490 Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy: STEM Outreach and Community Engagement was team taught at George Mason and James Madison University. Course sharing between Virginia universities helps leverage resources, increase student impact, and exposes students from multiple university to unique ideas.

Finally, Mason is a member of the Virginia chapter of APPA (VAPPA), which is a gathering place for staff members engaged in educational facilities management. In 2017, Mason hosted the VAPPA conference, which included presentations on how to reduce energy use and other sustainable practices. VAPPA is a way for educational institutions of all levels to come together and share best practices currently in facilities management.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data is for FY17.

Additional information can be found at:
URL for Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education: http://www.aashe.org/membership/

URL for UN Global Compact: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/system/commitment_letters/16829/original/George_Mason_University_President_Cabrera_to_UNSG_re-UN_Global_Compact.pdf?1334712096

URL for UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdinaction/hesi

URL for EPA Green Power Partnership: https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-partner-list

URL for American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment: http://secondnature.org

URL for Virginia Sustainability in Higher Education Consortium: https://sites.google.com/site/vasheconsortium/

URL for NoVA Outside: https://novaoutside.org

URL for 4VA: http://4-va.org

URL for VAPPA: http://vappa.appa.org

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.