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Employee of the Month Facilities Management News

January 2023 Facilities Employee of the Month – Geoffrey Lopez


Celebrating Geoffrey Lopez as the January 2023 Employee of the Month

Geoffrey Lopez, HVAC Technician, was selected as January’s GMU Facilities Employee of the Month. In addition to his preventative maintenance program responsibilities, Lopez correctly identified and responded to unanticipated computer room air conditioning (CRAC) related issues with notable urgency.

The CRAC units, located within the Aquia Building and Engineering’s Data Center, monitor and maintain temperature, air distribution and humidity. Quick to accommodate clients’ needs, restore CRAC unit functioning, and ensure the safety of the data center’s equipment, Lopez is well-deserving of this honor.

“Geoffrey has consistently demonstrated a positive attitude and approaches every work order with the same urgency. He has a great relationship with his colleagues and helps them out without hesitation or complaints,” said Gordon Lansdowne, Supervisor for Facilities Management.

Interested in submitting a GMU Facilities Employee of the Month nomination?  Check out the new process here!

Categories
All Together Green Facilities Management News Sustainable Innovation

Mason Welcomes New Fleet of Vehicles

Mason Facilities has a new fleet of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) on the Fairfax Campus. Nine new vehicles were added this winter to the Facilities inventory! Both efficient and practical, these new vehicles are required for large, heavy-duty work including hauling, snow plowing, fuel and material deliveries, and much more.

The upgrade aligns well with Mason's sustainability goals, reducing fuel consumption and the university's carbon footprint. As a result of the university's decision to purchase FFVs for the fleet, Mason is able to claim alternative fuel credits with the state, increasing the university's fuel economy by an average of 71%. This saves Mason in fuel costs, significantly. The upgraded vehicles, outfitted with ladder rocks, tool holders, and additional accessories, will allow the Facilities team to perform their job functions better and safer, while promoting a "cleaner and greener" image for Mason. 

Keep an eye out for the new vehicles around campus!

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All Together Green Facilities Management News On-Campus Solutions Sustainability

New LED Lighting at the Rappahannock River Parking Deck

Mason Facilities transitioned to LED lighting at the Fairfax Campus’s Rappahannock River parking deck – replacing over six hundred fluorescent light fixtures. Mason’s new LED lighting offers consistent illumination, glare control, and significant energy savings. “The Lithonia LED light fixture spreads light evenly and further to improve the overall photometrics of the older fluorescent fixtures. This fixture also reduces glare from the light fixture that would make it easier on the motorist navigating through the parking garage. The lighting fixtures are equipped with a motion activation feature – remaining dim until motion is detected, resulting in considerable energy savings,” said Christopher Thorpe, Electrical Supervisor. Mason Facilities, in partnership with Parking Services, worked diligently over the span of five months to successfully complete the installation. The new parking deck lighting greatly enhances both the parking experience and safety for Mason community members.

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Facilities Management News

End of Year Facilities Appreciation Event

What a year! 2022 has flown by and Mason Facilities has achieved great things all thanks to you and the teams within this division. We were able to accomplish so much this year allowing this university to run smoothly and efficiently because of the work you put in. Your investment into Mason continues to elevate our success as a division and is a testament to our culture of thriving together. Thank you for another successful year. We celebrated your dedication and hard work throughout 2022 and at the End of Year Facilities Appreciation Event. Check out some of the highlights below.

We hope you have a wonderful rest of the year, and you are able to recharge and make memories with your family and friends this holiday season. I look forward to seeing all that we will accomplish in 2023!

Happy Holidays!
Frank Strike
Vice President, Facilities
fstrike@gmu.edu

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All Together Green News Stable Partnerships Sustainability

Amber Saxton Co-Hosts Session at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

During the fall semester, Amber Saxton a Program Manager in Facilities’ University Sustainability office co-hosted a session with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) at the 2022 Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education. The conference had over 4,700 attendees from 353 institutions and 23 countries. Amber’s session, “Tackling Single-Use Plastics on Campus,” was one of only 24 discussion sessions.

Leading a session continues a long-standing connection between Mason and The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) who runs the annual conference. Mason was the first university in Virginia to earn an AASHE STARS Gold ranking, which is the second highest rating in what is recognized as the most comprehensive university sustainability ranking system available.

Amber has also been deepening ties with AASHE leadership and NWF through her role on the national board of NWF's Campus Race to Zero Waste (CR2ZW). This year she authored the NWF’s CR2ZW 'Plastics Reduction Partner' certification program, which universities around the country can now use to guide them through campus-wide plastics reduction, and receive AASHE STARS’ Innovation credit for their participation.

During the global conference session, she advised attendees on the importance of prioritizing going plastics free as institutions of higher education, potential solutions, and was able to highlight George Mason University as a case study after our university eliminated over half its single-use plastics within the past year, including plastic water and soda bottles and foodservice containers, and received the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for our commitment, leadership, and progress.

Story credit: AASHE. 

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Facilities Management News

President Washington’s Donut Drop-off!

Before the winter break, President Washington stopped by with donuts as a thank you to our Facilities Management team. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Mason Facilities!

"I enjoyed our visit! Your important work touches the lives of every student, staff member and faculty member at Mason. We greatly appreciate your expertise, caring, and commitment to the university community," said University President Gregory Washington. 

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All Together Green Culture Change Facilities Management News Sustainability

Recycling Through the Years

 

Mason Facilities' waste management and recycling operational processes have undergone significant changes over the last two decades. During this time, Mason Facilities identified several ways to streamline processes and workflows to improve efficiency of Mason’s waste management and recycling efforts.  

Someone who has seen these changes firsthand is Facilities Management Recycling Supervisor of twenty years, Wiredu Adade. He has played an important role in the department’s progress and the identification of growth opportunities.  

Prior to Adade’s employment, the campus “slim jim” waste and recycling containers were not lined – “we would have to pick up all the bins, load them in our trucks, bring them to the yard, sort them, wash them, and bring them back.” To cut down on the manual process, he spearheaded the campaign for the use of liners in campus waste and recycling containers.  

“Mason Waste Management and Recycling (WMR) team has made major improvements to help move the university forward, including but not limited to: our waste diversion rate, composting program, and the addition of smart technology with Mason’s “Big Belly” campus bins,” said Kevin Brim, Facilities Management Waste Recycle Supervisor. “Our work as a department, with the support of the Mason community, is ongoing in efforts to reduce our volume of trash and reach our zero waste goals.” 

Mason’s WMR team, in partnership with University Sustainability, is working toward increasing the campus waste diversion rate to 90% and to eventually become zero waste. Waste reduction, reuse, and donation, as well as diversion strategies like composting and recycling, are needed to support Mason’s sustainability goals. Mason has a robust multi-stream recycling program that is continuously being improved upon. The WMR team sort and collect multiple recyclables to keep cross-contamination low and to maintain clean recyclable material. Mason has also switched to high percent recycled content items (e.g., paper bags or aluminum cans), which are also proven to have high product circularity and recycling rates.  

In October 2022, an interior zero waste station was installed at the Starbucks Northern Neck on Mason’s Fairfax campus. The zero waste station itself, installed by the Zone 6 Team, is made of approximately 1,655 reclaimed milk jugs – key to supporting post-consumer recycled (PCR) purchasing mandates – and offers updated zero waste design features like restrictive openings and better bin messaging. The interior pilot station includes five waste streams: glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans and plastic/aluminum bottles, paper, trash, and compost. Brim oversees collections and operations at the site in partnership with Mason Dining. University Sustainability, Operations & Business Services and its vendors will support planning, coordination, and data tracking/results.  

The progression of Mason waste and recycling exemplifies Mason’s commitment to a sustainable future. Achieving zero waste will take the entire Mason community. According to Adade, there is an opportunity for increased correct disposal methods that can positively impact how the Mason community uses waste and recycling streams. As an example of how waste can accumulate, following move-in week, 44k pounds of cardboard was recycled by Mason’s WMR team! Adade, alongside Facilities Management and University Sustainability, continue to work toward educating students, faculty, and staff on proper waste disposal, recycling, reuse, and donation methods. As George Mason continues to expand, it is taking steps to do so responsibly. Learn more about waste management and recycling here

Facilities Management Recycling Supervisor, Wiredu Adade, who for the past twenty years has overseen Mason’s WMR efforts, will retire in January 2023.

Categories
All Together Green Culture Change News Sustainability

“Earthsgiving” Event

 

On Thursday, November 17, 2022, Mason’s Greenhouse and Garden’s program hosted its first “Earthsgiving” sustainable, cooking event. Students, volunteers, staff and community members learned how to make meals out of local, wild, foraged, and campus-grown ingredients. The Greenhouse and Garden’s program partnered with Mason Dining and the School of Art – hosting the event in the Art and Design Building with the support of Benjamin Ashworth, Sculpture Studio Supervisor for the School of Art.

“The goal of the event was to teach community members how to properly cook and prepare food, using local ingredients. Our team grows food all day – we want to inspire others to eat and live sustainably,” said Donielle Nolan, Greenhouse and Gardens Program Manager.

Starting in 2023, Mason's Greenhouse and Gardens program will focus on food security and student-focused events. Join them as they transition toward food security as the focal point of their efforts!

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Employee of the Month Facilities Management News

November 2022 Facilities Employee of the Month – Rebecca “Becky” Mirenzi

 

During her routine check of a campus building’s mechanical equipment, Rebecca "Becky" Mirenzi, a Facilities Management team member, identified and reported a gas leak at Mason’s Beacon Hall, a graduate on-campus housing facility at the Science and Technology Campus.

Becky quickly engaged Mason’s emergency personnel following her discovery of the gas leak – enabling a timely shutdown of the building and an isolation and repair of what was found to be a significant leak.

“Becky’s quick action ensured the safety of the residents of Beacon Hall,” said Ronnie Wells, Zone 2 Supervisor. Rebecca’s attention to detail and commitment to campus safety is well-deserving of this award. She was a crucial part in ensuring the safety of Mason’s SciTech graduate students.

Interested in submitting a GMU Facilities Employee of the Month nomination?  Check out the new process here!

Categories
All Together Green Facilities Management News Stable Partnerships Sustainability

Mason featured in The Princeton Review’s 2023 ‘Guide to Green Colleges’     

 
On October 25, 2022, The Princeton Review released its 13th annual  Guide to Green Colleges – a resource, published for college applicants, to showcase colleges and universities committed to sustainability-related policies, programs, and practices. The profiles in The Princeton Review’s guide provide information on the institutions’ uses of renewable energy, their recycling and conservation programs, the availability of environmental studies in their academic offerings, and their career guidance for green jobs.   

Since its inception in 2010, Mason has ranked among the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges. “This is our thirteenth consecutive inclusion in the guide. It is a great testament to the hard work of the University Sustainability team and to sustainability work across the entire university, including academics, operations, and a lot of student, faculty, and staff stakeholders,” said Gregory Farley, Director of University Sustainability.  

It’s no wonder Mason continues to gain recognition for its sustainable efforts. Mason’s commitment to sustainability is a focus supported by the Mason community’s efforts and accomplishments. Over the past year, University Sustainability has made several efforts to further their commitment to a more sustainable future at Mason. Below, are just a few ways Mason is working toward its sustainable goals in 2022.   

  • The Starbucks Northern Neck composting pilot was launched in October as a collaboration between Facilities Management, University Sustainability, and the Patriot Green Fund (PGF), Operations & Business Services and its vendors, and offers the first industrial composting resource available for students, faculty, and staff use. 
     
  • Mason Exhibitions with the support of Mason Facilities, the Patriot Green Fund (PGF), University Sustainability, and community volunteers, planted 100 native hardwood tree saplings on the Fairfax Campus. The trees will benefit the Mason Arboretum – a nationally accredited collection of trees and woody plants, which can be spotted on Mason’s campuses with labeled signs that include scannable barcodes to its online catalogue.     
     
  • The installation of hydroponic and aquaponic food production systems was made possible through generous grants from both the Auxiliary Enterprise Management Council, Facilities Administration and the Patriot Green Fund. The staff at the PPG produce approximately 1,000 lbs. of fresh produce annually which raises $10,000 each year that is used to pay for supplies, staff and utilities. Harvests include fresh produce such as herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes.   

The Princeton Review selected 400+ schools for the guide and its ranking list based on 2021-22 data from the company’s surveys of administrators and students attending the colleges.  

The Princeton Review’s timely release of the guide coincides with the 
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)’s annual October event, Campus Sustainability Month. Mason, along with AASHE, participated in a university-wide Sustainability Monthtalk about a great way to close out a month dedicated to sustainable initiatives, programs, and best practices. 

In 2021, AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) awarded Mason a STARS Gold rating, offering recognition for the university’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.   
 
Mason’s feature on The Princeton Review’s guide can be found here.