‘Green Game’ is our annual zero waste basketball game and a university-wide initiative to grow Mason’s culture of sustainability. It enhances zero waste awareness, showcases the essential work of Mason’s recycling, dining, and housekeeping staff, and highlights composting as an essential part of University Sustainability’s institutional zero waste strategy.
This initiative was first established in 2014, the same season George Mason University joined the Atlantic 10 Conference (2013-14 season). Green Game serves as Mason’s official entry into the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Race to Zero Waste Game Day Basketball competition.
Each Green Game is aimed at achieving a ‘zero waste’ event, which means 90% or more of all the waste produced during the game is diverted from EagleBank Arena’s trash bins through green purchasing, composting, and recycling. University Sustainability partners with Mason Athletics, EagleBank Arena Operations and Events, Mason Dining (Sodexo), V&G CLEANING SVCS, Facilities Recycling and Waste Management, and volunteers to achieve our Zero Waste goal!
Dozens of volunteers support the efforts of our partners at each green game. Volunteers help set up centralized waste disposal locations (i.e., co-located waste, recycling, and composting bins), provide at-the-bin waste sorting guidance, and perform a waste contamination audit at the end of the game. The post-game audit provides the University Sustainability and Facilities teams with key waste diversion and waste contamination data, helping us make operational decisions to improve Mason’s waste diversion rate and campus recycling system.
GREEN GAME IMPACT
Since 2014, Mason’s Green Game initiative has diverted 10,899 pounds of waste away from incineration, supported experiential learning opportunities for over 330 volunteers, engaged over 37,475 basketball game attendees in zero waste practices, and achieved a top ten ranking in Campus Race to Zero Waste’s Game Day Basketball competition 11 times.
- 2014 – Mason achieves #10 ranking in Per Capita Recycling and Per Capita Organics
- 2015 – Mason achieves #2 ranking in Diversion and #6 in Per Capita Organics
- 2016 – Mason achieves #6 ranking in Per Capita Recycling and #5 in Per Capita Organics
- 2017 – Mason achieves #9 ranking in Per Capita Recycling
- 2019 – Mason achieves #2 ranking in Per Capita Recycling and #3 in Waste Diversion
- 2020 – Mason achieves first #1 ranking in Per Capita Recycling and #10 in Waste Diversion
Green Game is a visible example of the zero waste strategies developed by the Mason Sustainability Council’s Circular Economy and Zero Waste Task Force. The effectiveness and impact of Mason’s single-use plastics and polystyrene ban and ongoing phase-out of unsustainable items is on full display at the Green Game.
- Nearly every food service item offered by EagleBank Arena’s concessions are now recyclable or compostable! During Green Game, compost bins are organized around the arena in co-located stations with recycling and trash bins to support the arena’s transition to green purchasing and promote access to this new waste stream.
- Each year, a sustainable giveaway item is offered to the first 1,000 Green Game attendees, typically in partnership with Mason Athletics and University Sustainability. The sustainable giveaway supports the Mason Sustainability Council’s Circular Economy and Zero Waste Task Force’s ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’ strategy, encouraging the purchase of fewer and more sustainable giveaway items.
GREEN GAME 2023 HIGHLIGHTS
The 2023 Green Game was held on January 25th, 2023, during the George Mason Patriots Women’s Basketball team vs. University of Rhode Island game. With the help of 21 volunteers, who completed 66 hours of service learning, Mason successfully achieved an 84.2% waste diversion rate through a post-game waste audit (View/download Green Game 2014-2023 data here).
- Attendees received a one-of-a-kind stainless-steel cup featuring a custom Mason Athletics design to promote reusable alternatives to single-use plastics.
- Engaged 21 student, staff and community volunteers in service-learning opportunities.
- Achieved a successful in-game diversion rate of 68%, which means attendees correctly sorted more than half of all waste items before the post-game audit!
- Diverted hard-to-recycle snack wrappers and chip bags through Mason’s Patriot Green Fund sponsored Terracycle collection box.
- Piloted the first Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recycling effort at Green Game: all volunteer gloves were collected for recycling through Kimberly-Clark Professional’s The RightCycle Program.
- Diverted 5.7 pounds of extra low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bin liners used during the game and waste audit through Mason Facilities Management’s Plastic Film Recycling initiative.
- The Plastics Free Mason Civic Fellows raised awareness about Mason’s ongoing university-wide ban and phase-out of single-use plastics while promoting reuse in partnership with Fill it Forward.
- Tested out several zero waste design best practices to improve campus waste diversion: centralized waste stations, restrictive lids for co-located bins, uniform bin sequencing, color-coded waste streams, eye-level bin signage, and standardized bilingual labelling featuring photo examples.
VOLUNTEER! SUPPORT FUTURE GREEN GAMES AND ZERO WASTE EVENTS
Anyone can volunteer with us! If you don’t already have an account on our Sustainable Sign-Ups Volunteer Portal, you can create a free account and then sign up for shift(s) you would like to volunteer for (by browsing the Events Calendar). We encourage Mason-affiliated folks to create their account with their @gmu.edu email address.