The Patriot Green Fund (PGF) strives to foster an environment where Mason can flourish academically in part through practicing environmental, social, and economic stewardship. This fund seeks to finance projects that have a high value in all three of these areas of sustainability. The fund will also work to raise awareness of and support for building a culture of sustainability on campus and in our communities. The PGF will empower students by providing them with an unprecedented opportunity to lead and direct projects that will create positive change.
To strengthen the Mason community, all Mason students, faculty, and staff may propose and/or participate in a PGF-supported project. Infrastructure projects may only occur on Mason's campuses, but research projects may help solve problems in any of Mason's surrounding communities or the Metro D.C. region in general.
The Patriot Green Fund operates with three distinct goals:
Enable students to conduct research and implement scholarship-related projects that demonstrate environmental leadership and benefit the Mason community and surrounding region.
Reduce Mason's environmental impact by making tangible improvements to habits, facilities and operations.
Improve understanding and awareness of, and support for, sustainability issues for the entire Mason community, leading to a strong community network and stewardship.
The fund is managed by a Committee of five students, two faculty and two facilities staff. The Committee is responsible for processing and approving applications, marketing the PGF, and giving individual attention to each project to support its success.
The PGF will award funding to projects in two distinct categories:
Infrastructure improvements: $80,000 of the fund is earmarked for facilities upgrades and other tangible environmental projects on campus. Some possible examples include solar and other on-campus renewable electricity generation, energy efficiency measures, alternative transportation infrastructure, increased composting and/or recycling, and building a biodiesel production facility. The Office of Sustainability and the Patriot Green Fund Committee (especially the project Liaison) will work with applicant to involve staff from Facilities and other administrative departments to ensure the greatest probability of success.
Student research: The scholarship portion of the fund, up to $20,000 per year, will fund research-oriented projects proposed by Mason students under the supervision of a Mason faculty member. These funds may cover the cost of supplies, lab equipment, and the student's time to develop the project. If material for the project is significantly expensive (valued over $100.00), students may be required to return the equipment at the end of their project's completion date to the PGF Committee if there is no academic unit willing to store or use the equipment. Applicants will be notified by the PGF Committee during the application process if material must be returned. *
Illustrative projects will answer research questions, such as:
How could the ecological footprint of a certain campus building or activity be reduced?
Can competitions between residence halls result in sizable and lasting changes in energy conservation behavior among residents?
Is conversion of a [university] vehicle to vegetable oil-power or all-electric power a feasible "Do it Yourself" endeavor?
* Funding for student wages or travel (you must choose one or the other) may not exceed $500.00 per project, though the likelihood of receiving this funding is not guaranteed. To receive funding for wages, recipients must submit a time sheet, and they will be paid at the completion of the project.
These projects benefit students by providing opportunities for unique, creative research and for developing skills and expertise through real-world research experience.