PGF Recipients

Mechanical Engineering Capstone Projects 2018 “Thunder Rat” from GMU-TV on Vimeo.


PGF Recipients

Since its inception in 2011, the PGF has sponsored over 70 projects spanning sustainability research topics and innovative campus infrastructure projects.

PGF projects include community gardens, water bottle refill stations, campus composting sites, and much more!

Project Title Funding YearProject Leader(s)Award Amount Project PlaceStatus
Greenhouse Automation2021/2022A. Silvas$1,000 Infrastructure: Continuing work to create a system of autonomous control of Mason's hydroponic greenhouse.

Students in the greenhouse working with electronics.
Fairfax CampusIn progress
Reusable Container Kiosk2021/2022A. Penaflor$2,000 Infrastructure: Prototype of reusable container return kiosk for Mason dining.

Reusable container kiosk with display screen and open door to show bin on the inside.
Fairfax CampusIn progress
Soil Organic Matter and Carbon Research2021/2022C. Ahn$3,500 Research: Study analyzed the effects of fertilization and plant diversity on the soil color of wetland mesocosms.

Students and faculty working in a forested area.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Bigbelly Compost Unit2021/2022C. Cuevo, C. Regan, A. Saxton$6,000 Infrastructure: Adding "Bigbelly" compost bin for pilot units near the Starbucks in the Northern Neck building.Fairfax CampusCompleted
Locker Room Renovation2021/2022O. Weiss$10,000 Infrastructure: The Men’s Soccer Team locker room was renovated for the first time in 35 years featuring sustainable upgrades including new lockers made from recycled content and responsibly sourced materials, a dimmer switch with mercury-free and energy-efficient LED lights and new flooring constructed from bio-based materials.

Men's locker room with wooden lockers, LED lights, and new flooring.
Photo by: Shelby Burgess/Strategic Communications/George Mason University
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Bee Hotels2021/2022J. Espinoza$250 Infrastructure: Mason bee habitats in the Innovation Food Forest.

Bee hotel on a fence posted with informative signage.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Sustainable Print Studio2021/2022C. Kardambinkis$20,000 Infrastructure: Risograph and papermaking supplies for the School of Art's Print and Book Arts studio.

Risograph machine
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Sustainable Fridge2021/2022C. Flores$1,000 Infrastructure: Fridge that reduces food waste by keeping produce fresh for longer done in partnership with Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.

Open fridge displaying four inner coolers. One of them is open with leafy greens inside.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Filterra Sign2021/2022Z. Zulfugarov$200 Infrastructure: Signage for Mason's "Filterra" stormwater management feature.

Sign next to Filterra system in a Mason parking lot.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Sediment Coring2021/2022M. Badia$3,000 Research: Study to further understand the historical inputs of several anthropogenic pollutants through sediment core sampling.

Potomac Science CenterCompleted
3-D Filament Recycling 2021/2022T. Nielsen$1,000 Infrastructure: Recycling of 3-D printing filament located in the MIX through Terracycle.

Tall rectangular box labeled for 3D filament recycling next to 3D printers in the MIX.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Green Studio Garden Expansion2021/2022D. Nolan$1,000 Infrastructure: Expansion of the Green Studio garden at the School of Art.

Student volunteers posing next to finished garden planting along the front of the School of Art.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Max-R Unit2021/2022A. Saxton and C.Regan$5,000 Infrastructure: Indoor waste unit for compost pilot at Northern Neck StarbucksFairfax CampusCompleted
Waste Diversion Measurements for Campus Vert-I-Pack Compactors2020/2021A. Mieses$5,000Research: To continue work of creating a sensor package capable of transmitting waste data from campus containers to Facilities Management. *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.

A team of students standing next to their completed prototype
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Repair and Enhancement of Solar Work Station2020/2021M. Reichley$5,000Infrastructure: To assess the condition, diagnose, and repair the electrical and structural inefficiencies to enhance the solar work station outside of Panda Express.
*Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.

Team of students inspecting the solar powered work station
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Storm Drain Robot2020/2021N. Ilachinski$5,000Infrastructure: To improve upon the design and creation of a storm drain robot to monitor Mason's storm water systems *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.
A team of Mechanical Engineering students test the robot with Mason Facilities
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Rappahannock Reforestation2020/2021S. Chapin$1,000Infrastructure: To continue the Rappahannock parking deck reforestation initiative by planting three Flowering Dogwood Trees and 5 Inkberry shrubs to enrich biodiversity outside of the Rappahannock Parking Deck. Three volunteers are posed around a Flowering Dogwood treeFairfax CampusCompleted
Potomac Science Center: Purple Martin House2020/2021C. Smith$1,000Infrastructure: Installation of a Purple Martin bird house at the Potomac Science Center.
A bird house mounted on a pole with Belmont Bay in the background.
Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Compost Pile Renovation - Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden2020/2021J. Batchelor, E. Konchan, and D. Nolan$1,000Infrastructure: A new structure to hold the compost piles at the Potomac Heights Vegetable garden. Fairfax Campus In progress
Honey Bee Pollinator Garden2020/2021C. Merrick, D. Nolan$2,000Infrastructure: A new bee hive pollinator garden near Robert's Rd on the Fairfax campus.A long rectangular garden located along a fence line next to a series of bee hivesFairfax CampusCompleted
Bigbelly Solar Compactors2020/2021C. Cuevo, C. Regan, A. Saxton$12,000Infrastructure: Pilot of a solar-powered, 2-bin "Bigbelly" waste and recycling compacting unit near the Starbucks in the Northern Neck building.Fairfax CampusIn progress
Rappahannock Reforestation2020/2021E. Hagerty, D. Sklarew$1,000Infrastructure: To restore the Rappahannock parking deck by planting four new trees and one shrub to enrich biodiversity outside of the Rappahannock Parking Deck.

Five students pose around the holly tree that they planted
Fairfax CampusCompleted
ELEMENTS: Arcadia2020/2021Y. Salem, D. Russell$3,000Infrastructure: Arcadia creates a stream of ever-changing music and light by capturing the natural biorhythms of Virginia native plants and converting them through a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) into sound and light signals.

Student setting up Arcadia installation by attaching electronics to a plant on a shelf in the greenhouse.
Fairfax CampusCompleted - Streaming Now!
Storm Drain Robot2019/2020N. Kathir$7,500Research: To improve upon the design and creation of a storm drain robot to monitor Mason's storm water systems *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.A student working on the storm water inspection robotFairfax CampusCompleted
Waste Diversion Measurements for Campus Verti Pack Compactors2019/2020N. Kathir$7,500Research: Sensor package capable of transmitting waste data from campus containers to Facilities Management. *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.Student preparing wood to be cut on a table sawFairfax CampusCompleted
Greenhouse Automation2019/2020D. Nolan$7,500Infrastructure: A system of autonomous control of Mason's hydroponic greenhouse.Fairfax CampusIn progress
Mason Pond Bathymetry
2019/2020F. Zhang$7,000Infrastructure: An unmanned surface vehicle for inspection of Mason's storm water structures.
Two Students carrying the unmanned surface vehicle which is an electronic box on top of a surfboard
Farifax CampusCompleted
Piedmont Rain Garden Storm Water Runoff 2019/2020J. Salerno$1,000Research: Study of microbial communities as bio-indicators of soil erosion in storm water.Farifax CampusCompleted
Compost Tumblers2019/2020D. Nolan$300Infrastructure: Improve visibility and capacity for campus composting at the Innovation Food Forest.Fairfax CampusCompleted
Pollinator Turf2019/2020J. van der Ham$1,000Research: Study of changing composition of turf grass lawns for native bee habitats. Fairfax CampusCompleted
Arboretum Signage2019/2020A. Weeks$2,000Infrastructure: Creating 106 new tree signs that connect to a virtual map to document trees on Mason's campuses to establish an Arboretum.

Two people posing with an installed tree sign on a stake.
Fairfax Campus, Potomac Science Center, Sci Tech, and Point of ViewCompleted
TerraCycle Waste Boxes2019/2020D. Sklarew$350Infrastructure: Pilot to increase the recycling of 3-D printing filament (located in the MIX), beauty product containers (located in Piedmont Lobby), and snack/chip wrappers (located in the Student Involvement Office in the Hub).
A close-up of the cardboard Terracycle box for beauty products
Fairfax CampusIn progress
Masonvale Geogrid Installation2019/2020B. Claudio$400Infrastructure: To prevent the clogging of the impervious pavement in the Masonvale community through the installation of a Geo Ground Grid.
Two people installing the plastic geogrid into a trash can enclosure at Masonvale.
Fairfax CampusCompleted
Beverage Capsule Recycling2019/2020D. Sklarew$150Infrastructure: Pilot to increase the recycling of pre-packaged, single-use beverage products such as discs, packs, capsules, k-cups, or pods.Fairfax CampusIn progress
Bike Fix-It Station 2019/2020J. Walker$500Infrastructure: To provide bike tools and a portable bike stand for the MIX for bike repair workshops and accessibility Fairfax CampusIn progress
Mason Sun Tracker2018/2019L. Huang$2,000Infrastructure: Design and build a construct that sustains a self-sufficient device charging station that will contain a solar panel that can autonomously position itself to orthogonally face the sun. Fairfax CampusCompleted
Smoking Urns2018/2019D. Sklarew$2,168Infrastructure: Signage for smoking urns at the Johnson CenterFairfax CampusCompleted
Microorganisms as Biological Indicators2018/2019J. Salerno, B. Van Aken$4,250Research: Evaluation of the use of aquatic communities as bioindicators of aquatic habitat quality in the Potomac River.Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Ecological Impacts of Microplastics 2018/2019G. Foster$5,468Research: Study of microplastics as micropollutants in the Potomac watershed. Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Assessment of Building Envelope2018/2019R. Gallo$7,500Research: Project continued with progress from previous year. Development of software that interprets thermal images to determine the energy loss of various building materials. *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.Fairfax CampusCompleted
Waste Diversion Measurements2018/2019R. Gallo$7,500Research: Sensor package capable of transmitting waste data from campus containers to Facilities Management. *Mechanical Engineering senior capstone project.Fairfax CampusCompleted
Rain Barrel Repair2018/2019D. Sklarew$185Infrastructure: Restoration of existing rain barrel at the Potomac Heights vegetable garden. Fairfax CampusIn progress: needs new student support, contact to help.
Crushed Glass Filtration2018/2019 A. Close$300Research: Examine how a crushed glass filter compares to a traditional sand filter that is used in wastewater treatment. Fairfax CampusCompleted
Campus Turf Improvements/Testing 2018/2019A. Wingfield, D. Nolan$350Research: Determine a mixture of turf grass varieties/cultivators that can be grown organically and maintain the same level of growth and appearance of current campus turf. Fairfax CampusCompleted
Bike Rental Pilot2017/2018J. Walker, A. Saxton $1,000Infrastructure: Rehabilitate the former Patriot Bikeshare bikes to initiate a free bikeshare program in partnership with Mason Recreation.
Fairfax CampusCompleted. Bicycles can be rented at the RAC.
Bioretention Swales (Vegetation) Improvement on Science and Tech Campus 2017/2018Dr. J. Xu, B. Claudio Cruz, A. Izquierdo$1,400Infrastructure: Educate and improve function of Bioretention swale facilities and the aesthetic view of the campus. Science and Technology CampusCompleted
Repurposing Abandoned Bikes at Mason2017/2018J. Walker, A. Saxton $2,250Infrastructure: Rehabilitate abandoned bikes at Mason and, once refurbished and branded, use them to pilot a semester-long bike rental program. Fairfax CampusCompleted
Sustaining Wildlife at Potomac Science Center 2017/2018Dr. C. Smith, A. Palmer $4,744Infrastructure: Raise awareness of native wildlife species to create citizen science data collection opportunities and to demonstrate how positive human actions impact wildlife on Mason campuses.Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Assessment of Building Envelope2017/2018R. Gallo$7,500Infrastructure: Sensor package and delivery system for assessing thermal loss in buildingsFairfax and Science and Technology campusCompleted
Storm Drain Non-Destruction Inspection2017/2018R. Gallo$7,500Infrastructure: Sensor package and delivery system for storm drainsFairfax CampusCompleted. See articles about Thunder Rats project.
SDI VibeCore-Mini Sediment Corer 2017/2018E. Lang, Dr. G. Foster $8,315Research: Collect and analyze tidal Potomac River marsh sediments for the presence, concentrations and depth profiles of various pesticides that have both urban and agricultural uses, ranging from recent to historical applications over the past nine decades.Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Food-Web Impacts of Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Products PEREC2017/2018Dr. G. Foster, Dr. T. Huff$9,000Research: Identifying and collecting representative organisms in three areas of the Potomac River.Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Water Bottle Refill Stations2017/2018M. Lo, L. Buraczynski $10,674Infrastructure: Increase the availability of water bottle refill stations while decreasing the amount of waste generated by plastic water bottles on Mason's Fairfax and Arlington campuses.Arlington and Fairfax campusesCompleted
Micro hydroturbines2017/2018J. Sklarew, C. Reagle, N. Moravitz$15,700Infrastructure: renewable power generation from stormwater runoffFairfax CampusIn progress
Nguyen Recycling Centers 2017/2018M. Lo, M. Liang$29,000Infrastructure: Increase recycling infrastructure in the Engineering building Fairfax CampusCompleted
Piedmont Rain Garden Restoration 2017/2018E. Watkins, A.Wingfield, D. Nolan$998Infrastructure: Add plants to improve stormwater benefits at the Piedmont Rain Garden. Fairfax CampusCompleted
3D Filament 2016/2017A. Roberts and J. Recktenwald$2,100Infrastructure: Create a machine that takes plastic water bottles and recycles them into 3D printing filamentFairfax Campus Completed
River Ecotoxicology2016/2017A. Fowler, K. de Mutsert$12,000Research: Analysis of Potomac River Potomac Science CenterCompleted
Applications of Drones to Conduct Stream and Marsh Physical Assessments2016/2017C.Ferreira and S. Zahirieh$500Research: Use drones as a method for conducting physical assessments of bodies of water with more efficiency than current methods. Fairfax Campus Completed
The Child Development Center (CDC) Garden Revitalization2016/2017S. Kulok$960Infrastructure: Revitalize the garden in order to educate children and utilize nature as a learning platform. Fairfax Campus Completed
Organic Turf Pilot2015/2016J. Storvick$5,000Infrastructure: Pilot organic turf managementFairfax Campus Completed
Smoking Urn Pilot2015/2016J. Walker and B. Ericson$6,500Infrastructure: Smoking urns and 25' signageFairfax Campus Completed
Green Roof Research2015/2016P. Houser$20,000Research: Green roof elementsFairfax Campus Completed
Fairfax-Area Household Canvassing as a Climate Change Communication Strategy2015/2016C. Clarke$500ResearchFairfax Campus Completed
Climate Control Analytics2015/2016A. O'Connor$832Research: HVAC toolFairfax Campus Completed
Water bottle refill stations2014/2015E. Wichers and others$6,000 Infrastructure: Retro-fit and new water fountains for reusable bottlesFairfax Campus Continues today. Most buildings have at least 1 water bottle refill station.
Instruments in the Attic 2014/2015M. Geske$10,000Infrastructure: Re-use of musical instrumentsFairfax Campus Completed
Methane Bio-digester2014/2015C. Reagle, J. Bynum$12,000Research: Food waste to energyFairfax Campus Discontinued due to technical issues
Wetland Restoration at Huntley Meadows Park2013/2014C. Ahn$1,000ResearchCompleted
Identifying Chyrtridiomycosis in Amphibian Populations2013/2014K. Curtain$1,000ResearchCompleted
Campus Community Garden2013/2014C. Campbell$3,000Infrastructure: create a campus gardenPrince William CampusCompleted
Campus Community Garden2013/2014E. Dupuis$15,000Infrastructure: Create a fee-based community gardenFairfax CampusCompleted: Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden
Eco-mow2013/2014J. Force$17,000Research: biomass powered lawn mowerFairfax CampusCompleted: doing business as Iron Goat Tech
BioFilter Installation2013/2014S. Hess, B. Gladfelter$20,000Infrastructure: Installation of biofilter for stormwater management in parking areaFairfax CampusDiscontinued due to regulatory environment but a separate project installed one by Shenandoah Parking Deck in 2017
Patriots Initiating Kinetic Energy2013/2014M. Ahmed$20,000Infrastructure: Kinetic energy bikes in gymFairfax CampusDiscontinued due to equipment challenges
Green Patriots Reforestation2013/2014C. Harris$21,000Infrastructure: Reforestation of impacted spaceFairfax CampusContinues today in front of Rappahannock Parking Deck
Solar Concentrator2012/2013P. Pachowicz$1,000Research: concentrated solarFairfax CampusCompleted
Aquaponics Solar Garden 2012/2013A. Cadien$1,100Research: aquaponics tankFairfax CampusCompleted
eWaste collection2012/2013K. Hopper$4,500Infrastructure: electronic waste collection binsFairfax CampusCompleted: Located in Johnson Center
Solar Charging Station2012/2013G. Manno$12,000Infrastructure: Purchase a solar charging stationFairfax CampusCompleted: Located in front of Manhattan Pizza at Merten Hall
Solar Charging Station2012/2013S. Stein$12,000Infrastructure: Engineering students build a solar charging stationFairfax CampusCompleted: Located in front of Panda Express at Merten Hall
Innovation Food Forest2012/2013E. Torrens$27,000 Infrastructure: create edible, permaculture gardenFairfax CampusCompleted: Next to Innovation Hall
Increasing Local Food on Mason's Campus2011/2012C. Boules$1,600ResearchFairfax CampusCompleted
Educational Rain Garden2011/2012S. Remer, L. Roe$3,000Infrastructure: Student design and installation of rain gardenFairfax CampusCompleted: Located in front of Piedmont and Tidewater residence halls
Mini Trash Bins2011/2012M. Aziz$4,500Research: Mini-trash bins and recycling pilot in University HallFairfax CampusDiscontinued after pilot
Mason Apiary2011/2012K. Curtis$5,000Infrastructure: Beehives on campusFairfax CampusIn progress: Needs new student support to continue, contact to help. (Initial project completed).
Community Garden2011/2012C. Shotwell$6,000Infrastructure: Campus garden at Prince William campusFairfax CampusCompleted
Climate Messaging in Residence Halls2011/2012S. Keltner$6,000Research: Climate messaging in various residence hallsFairfax CampusCompleted
Recycling Centers2011/2012D Wyman, J. Biedel$17,750Infrastructure: Multi-stream recycling centersFairfax CampusCompleted: Located in several locations such as Johnson Center, Student centers, Merten Hall, Founders Hall
External Recycling Bins for Residence Halls2011/2012D. Waxman$25,000Infrastructure: Exterior Recycling Collection BinsFairfax CampusCompleted
Patriot Bike Share2011/2012T. Orton$36,000Infrastructure: bike share programFairfax CampusDiscontinued due to vendor challenges

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