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 committed Mason 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.
  • 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 2009 the first Climate Action Plan. Commitment to the ACUPCC requires reporting updates every other year for both reports.

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.
  • 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 goals and metrics to achieve climate neutrality and integrating sustainability into both its academic and extracurricular programs offerings.
  • 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 BestColleges.com
  • 2015: President Merten, along with 300 other signatories, signed the American Campuses Act on Climate to reduce our waste impact, and committed Mason to recycling 50% of our waste by 2018.