A Sustainable Future:

Fall 2020: Update

In the fall of 2020, Dr. Dann Skalrew is partnering with the Office of Sustainability’s University Sustainability Director, Greg Farley, to host EVPP 490-002 & EVPP 505-003 Energy & Climate Action Planning. Students will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with the Office of Sustainability to create a draft of Mason’s Climate Action Plan. Mason’s first Climate Action Plan was published in 2010, so this is a historic opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to get involved. Dr. Dann and Greg welcome all members to participate as frequently as desired and have an “open-door” class policy which means you can stop by anytime! Interested in registering? Here’s a guide to help you navigate course registration at Mason.

 

Spring 2020: Update

In the spring of 2020, Dr. Dann Skalrew’s EVPP 490-008 & EVPP 692-004 Sustainability Planning for Communities course formally partnered with the Office of Sustainability. Students in the course, with the full support of the Office of Sustainability team, developed and delivered a draft copy of George Mason University’s Strategic Plan for Sustainability as well as supplemental materials for the use of the Mason Sustainability Council. The partnership was so outstanding that all students enrolled in the cross-listed course, Dr. Dann, and the entire Office of Sustainability team were recognized with the Outstanding Partner Award during Social Action and Integrative Learning’s (SAIL) annual Seeds of Change event.

 

A Statement from Mason’s Sustainability Council 

In 2007, George Mason University’s then-President Alan Merten signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This committed Mason to carbon neutrality by 2050 and resulted in the creation of the Office of Sustainability (OoS). Since 2007, much has been done. Mason is regularly featured in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, in Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” ranking, and even earned a Silver certification (the Arlington campus is Bronze) from the League of American Bicyclists. In 2010, Mason released its first Climate Action Plan (CAP) designed in collaboration between students, faculty, and staff that charted a green course for the university. And, in 2014, Mason became the first university in the state of Virginia to earn a coveted “Gold” rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). In 2019, the OoS released its CAP Progress Report demonstrating the University’s commitment to sustainability while highlighting the progress that’s been made such as the 30% decrease in energy use from non-renewable electricity and natural gas per building square foot from 2006-2016. Although such amazing progress has been made, still more remains to be done. 

At the October 18th, 2019 Fridays for Future Climate Rally organized by numerous student organizations Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Carol Kissal, with the full support of Interim President Anne Holton, made another historic commitment: Mason’s Sustainability Council will lead the development of Mason’s first-ever Strategic Plan for Sustainability and will update the Climate Action Plan originally completed in 2010. The Strategic Plan for Sustainability will map out a vision for Mason’s sustainable future including goals, objectives, and key performance indicators. The Climate Action Plan will translate the Strategic Plan for Sustainability into action by providing students, faculty, and staff with opportunities and resources to make a difference. We know that your voice matters. And that’s why both plans will be collaboratively developed with significant input from the campus community. To exemplify our commitment to campus involvement, Dr. Dann Sklarew is leading a design workshop in the spring of 2020 titled “Sustainability Planning for Communities” (EVPP 490-008 & EVPP 692-004) that will inform the planning process and both plans. Although, the planning process hasn’t started yet, we’ll be sure to let you know when and how to participate. If you’d like to get involved with sustainability at Mason before the planning process begins, there are plenty of options: enroll in a Green Leaf course or program; complete research with world-class faculty; submit a Patriot Green Fund proposal; live in the Environment and Sustainability LLCvolunteer at Mason’s Greenhouse; join a “green” student group; check-out the Sustainable Mason Mapsubscribe to the Sustainable Scoop newsletter; and much more!