Along with Princeton Review, Mason receives accolades according to other environmental metrics
BY HASEUNG JOUNG, STAFF WRITER
Mason received a top rating from the Princeton Review making it into its list of 413 Green Colleges by scoring 94 out of 99 possible points.
The list is included in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Schools and consists of environmentally responsible schools based on a review of nearly 700 colleges in the U.S.
Schools were chosen based on Green Rating scores the company tallied for 688 colleges this summer, reflecting data from its institutional survey of administrators and students attending the colleges.
The Green Rating, on a scale of 60-99, was cultivated through multiple aspects of a school’s performance regarding sustainability practices, such as a healthy and sustainable campus quality of life, preparing students for employment in a clean-energy economy and environmentally responsible school policies.
On top of the Princeton Review score, Mason has also earned a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, or AASHE STARS, in 2017.
Mason also earned a silver rating as a bicycle-friendly university from the League of American Bicyclists. Mason also ranked third nationally for the past two years for its zero-waste entry into RecycleMania’s GameDay Basketball Competition, and was featured as one of the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” for 2019.
“We really believe this showcases Mason’s commitment to addressing sustainability and environmental issues, which many believe to be the biggest issue of our time,” said Ben Auger, the sustainability program manager of education and outreach for the Office of Sustainability (OoS).
The Princeton Review’s annual “Hopes & Worries Survey Report” based on responses of 9,282 students applying for college and 2,618 parents of applicants, shows that 64 percent of respondents said information about a college’s commitment to environmental issues would contribute to their decisions, with 23 percent indicating it would contribute “strongly.”
In Mason’s effort to further its environmentally friendly practices, the Office of Sustainability (OoS) has been focusing on continuing strong partnerships with several on-campus stakeholders.
“Sustainability work is intersectional, so this endeavor requires commitment across campus, whether it’s senior leadership co-chairing the new Sustainability Council, Research Centers like ISE or 4C, or offices like Transportation, Mason Dining, Human Resources, Facilities, Athletics, or Housing and Residence Life committing to programs aimed at carbon neutrality and zero waste goals,” Auger added.
OoS has been working with Housing and Residence Life to provide opportunities for residents to engage in sustainability practices such as the Green Residence Program and the Environment and Sustainability Living Learning Community.
They have also collaborated with the Office of Transportation and Mason Recreation to start a bike checkout program, and with Mason Dining by composting in all three dining halls.
OoS also hosts weekly student and community volunteer session in the Presidents Park Greenhouse, Potomac Heights Garden and the Innovation Food Forest. These sites provide opportunities for volunteers and visitors to engage in hands-on learning in sustainable food production.
The Patriot Green Fund, a $100,000 fund provided by Mason Facilities, also offers a platform for the campus to engage in diverse research projects and raise awareness to build a culture of sustainability throughout the Mason community.