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 Month – talk 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.