Commitments and Accomplishments

Mason’s commitment to sustainability is real and is supported by public commitments and action. Our public commitments began in 2007 as one of the signatories of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), when Mason committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050. Since that pledge, Mason has made progress incorporating sustainability at the highest levels of the university.

2002 – 2010

  • 2002: In the University Master Plan, Mason aims to strategically preserve woodlands, wetlands, and waterways to maintain the campus image and provided for ecological diversity. It also establishes ‘ecological corridors’ following drainage ways, streams, and topography, that buffer development, preserve essential natural features and provide for a connective network of walking trails and bikeways.
  • 2005: Mason pursues an energy reduction program by investing in energy savings performance contracts. 
  • 2007: President Merten signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to address global climate change and commit Mason to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Mason committed to become climate neutral by 2050.
  • 2007: Mason’s Board of Visitors pledged to design all new construction and major renovations to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard or its equivalent.
  • 2008: The Office of Sustainability facilitated the publication of Mason’s first Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and in 2010 the first Climate Action Plan. Commitment to the ACUPCC requires regular reporting updates.

2011 – Present

  • 2011: Mason’s Transportation Master Plan elaborates on how it will continue to be a pedestrian-  and bicycle- friendly campus.
  • 2011: Mason started reporting on its sustainability progress using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and earned a Silver rating at first. Since then, Mason has received Gold ratings.
  • 2011: Provost Stearns approved a vision for incorporating sustainability into Mason’s academic endeavors.
  • 2012: Mason joined the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.
  • 2012: President Cabrera committed Mason to support the UN Global Compact to promote environment, labor, human rights and combat corruption as means to promote sustainable development globally. Since that time, Mason has published its first report, and has scheduled the first university-wide symposium on honoring our commitment to the UNGC.
  • 2012: Mason was recognized by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN) with a Most Sustainable Community Program award.
  • 2013: Mason incorporated Environmental Standards into its Design Information Manual. This document provides guidance on Mason’s environmental goals, priorities, and minimum requirements for teams building or renovating on Mason’s campuses.
  • 2014: Mason’s 2014 – 2024 Strategic Plan includes its value to manage the economic and natural resources entrusted to us responsibly and sustainably.
  • 2014: Mason becomes the first university in Virginia to achieve a Gold rating in STARS.
  • 2015: Mason was ranked the 18th Greenest University out of 240 schools by
  • 2015: President Cabrera signed the American Campuses Act on Climate.
  • 2017: Mason receives a Gold rating in STARS for the second time since 2014.