Plastics Free Mason (PFM) is a new student-led initiative that engages the Mason community and supports wider institutional efforts to reduce single-use plastics and polystyrene on Mason’s campuses and in its operations and events.
This initiative starts a new era of engagement with the Mason community aimed at amplifying the student voice in decision-making/planning and expanding opportunities for community participation toward developing a lasting ‘plastics free’ culture at Mason.
Since developing a ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’ strategy in 2021, the Mason Sustainability Council’s (MSC) Circular Economy & Zero Waste (CEZW) Task Force – co-chaired by University Sustainability and Operations & Business Services – has worked with Mason purchasers, student RSO’s, vendors, Virginia peer institutions, and internal/external partners to pivot away from single-use plastics toward sustainable reusables, compostables, and endlessly-recyclable aluminum alternatives. The PFM initiative builds on that work by partnering with the same internal and external stakeholders to develop a plastics free culture at Mason through insightful research, civic action, and community awareness building.
Meet the PFM Fellows
Mason’s PFM Civic Fellows, Lakshita Dey and Katherine Romero-Ayala, support operational change through research and lead efforts to build awareness, encourage action, and cultivate new opportunities for the Mason community to support single-use plastics and polystyrene elimination on campus. They are part of the inaugural class of Civic Fellows from the Office of Community Engagement and Civic Learning’s (CECiL) for on campus civic fellows, and directly report to CECiL as part of their fellowship.
The PFM Fellows’ work is aligned with the university’s sustainability goals, especially concerning plastics elimination and the pivot to purchasing and use of better alternatives with Mason’s ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’ strategy. Fiscal and environmental resource responsibility is promoted through the purchase and use of reusables, aluminum cans, third-party certified compostable items, and more.