George Mason University plays a leading role in addressing critical sustainability challenges through its research, academic mission, and physical footprint. We celebrate Earth Month all year long through our dedication to solving big problems in collaboration with the local, regional, and international community to foster healthy people, a healthy planet, a healthy economy, and a healthy society.
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.
Rescuing our future to ensure a healthy planet, healthy people, healthy economies, and healthy societies will be the central organizing cause of the rest of our lives. It is our job to conduct research to find solutions to our overlapping grand challenges – and to educate students to solve them.”
Dr. Gregory Washington
- May 12, 2023
- May 10, 2023
- April 4, 2023
- March 28, 2023
- October 6, 2022
George Mason University puts research and scholarship into action to support a just, prosperous, and sustainable world. Mason launched its Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) to lead this applied research. The ISE supports interdisciplinary research by connecting experts in various fields with each other and to policymakers, businesses, civic organizations, and communities.
In addition to the ISE 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.
Institute for Sustainable Earth
Center for Climate Change Communication
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Potomac Science Center
Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC)
- PEREC focuses on Potomac River restoration and local sustainability practices, so that the local ecosystem will be healthy for years to come. We translate our research into award winning and engaging field programs for K-12 students and the larger community.
- PEREC faculty and students have researched a large number of watersheds within the northern Virginia area including many in Fairfax County, Prince William County, and Clarke County.
Mason Research Centers
READ: Mason researchers and Honey Bee Initiative tackle environmental health, economic progress, and food insecurity issues. Learn more.
WATCH: George Mason University's Honey Bee Initiative Video (WebsEdge Science)
READ: Conservation students tag monarch butterflies to help save the endangered species. Learn more.
WATCH: Monarch Butterfly Tagging
Mason has a variety of degree programs, minors, and classes in the field, such as Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, and Food Systems. Many are designated Green Leaf Programs and Courses focusing on sustainability. Mason provides students interested in sustainability with an immersive experience that will allow them to craft a career in any field.
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.
Fuse at Mason Square will be a LEED Platinum, smart, net-zero-ready building with Fitwell 2-star and RELi resiliency. It will feature a green roof for energy-efficient heating and cooling, an agile floor design to enable responsive team or project growth, and specialized labs for robotics, virtual reality, simulation, security and data visualization.
Potomac Science Center is a destination for environmental science research along the Chesapeake Bay watershed and meets LEED Silver certification standards.
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.
Aquaponics at Mason
The aquaponics system includes a 200-gallon fish tank and three grow beds for the plants – producing harvestable, donation-ready items, including vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs. To learn more about this new system, check out our aquaponics video below!
The Presidents Park Greenhouse (PPG) is an on-campus site for year-round food production that grows approximately 1,000 lbs. of fresh produce annually. Read more.