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Vision and Strategy


Our commitments and reporting processes help the university get a great picture of where we are today and how much progress we have made since the start of our sustainability journey in 2007.  Our vision for Mason is a broad and ambitious one, elaborating on where “there” is. Here are the goals we have set for ourselves but everyone at Mason can contribute to this Vision – what are your ideas?

  • Mason is carbon-neutral by 2050, reducing as much of our footprint as possible, employing all possible renewable energy sources before offsetting the remaining emissions

  • Has an active and robust Sustainability Fund to fund improvements to Mason's campuses and fund research that will help tackle pressing global problems

  • All new buildings are constructed with low-impact development standards and innovative practices using whole-systems thinking, with the goal of net-zero buildings

  • All old buildings are reused and renovated to the highest standards of efficiency and livability in mind

  • Open space has been preserved and diversified into various types of uses, to accommodate the varied needs of an active campus community

  • Affordable and healthy temporary and permanent housing is made available for faculty and staff who wish to reduce their commute time to work

  • All students are required to participate in a minimum number of service learning hours to promote sustainability on campus in order to graduate; all students are exposed to sustainability principles in their coursework where applicable

  • Fleet vehicles are all run on biofuels or electricity

  • Mason's campuses are walkable and bikable not only on campus but getting to and from campus; electric shuttles are provided for on-campus transportation where possible

  • Organic, local, and alternative food options are available to all on-campus diners

  • Mason recycles a majority of our total waste by weight

  • Sustainable purchasing policies inform and enforce low-impact options for all major items purchased on campus

  • Third party certified products (such as organic, Fair Trade, FSC, EnergySTAR, etc) are the standard practice when providing goods and services to the campus community

  • The campus is a functional self-sustaining city in its own right, making it an enjoyable place to live, work, and relax by employing smart design practices for sustainable communities

  • All employees of the university are treated with respect and paid a living wage appropriate for the surrounding area

  • All faculty and staff are encouraged to lead one community-based service activity that includes their students every year and integrates real-world learning opportunities


How will we meet all of our public commitments and move toward sustainability? In other words, how do we get from “here” to “there”? The Office of Sustainability leverages a variety of public commitments and reporting mechanisms (Carbon Commitment, STARS, Mason's Strategic Plan) to develop annual and long-term strategies for meeting our climate and sustainability goals.

Our major objectives for the next few years are to focus on climate emission reduction projects as well as empowering the Mason community to make personal and organizational changes that move our culture toward one of stewardship.