New Ranking Puts Mason in Top 20 of U.S. ‘Green’ Colleges

The Office of Sustainability and Sodexo have partnered to provide produce grown at the President's Park Hydroponic Greenhouse to Mason Dining facilities.  Photo by Alexis Glenn.

The Office of Sustainability and Sodexo have partnered to provide produce grown at the President’s Park Hydroponic Greenhouse to Mason Dining facilities.
Photo by Alexis Glenn.

By Buzz McClain

George Mason University is in the Top 20 of the nation’s “greenest” universities, according to a new national ranking.

George Mason is No. 18 in BestColleges.com’s “Greenest Universities” ranking, an achievement recognizing Mason’s efforts to enhance sustainability, reduce the school’s carbon footprint, and teach and research environmentally beneficial best-practices.

“Being listed as one of the greenest universities in BestColleges.com rankings as well as becoming the first university in Virginia to achieve a STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education indicates to us that we are on the right path to being the best university for the world,” said Margaret Lo, Mason’s director of sustainability.

“I am proud that Mason strives to graduate responsible stewards of the planet and engage in research that tackles some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.”

Sort and score! Volunteers demonstrate recycling at the 2014 Green Game. Photo by Craig Bisacre.

Sort and score! Volunteers demonstrate recycling at the 2014 Green Game. Photo by Craig Bisacre.

The ranking considers more than campus-wide efforts to reduce energy consumption and waste. Mason was cited for having “nine undergraduate degrees with a focus on sustainability, and more than 70 courses that span the disciplines.”

“The campus is equipped with 10 green research centers, each committed to the development and maintenance of energy and water conservation, ecosystem preservation and the advocacy of sustainable infrastructures,” the website noted.

“Undergraduate and graduate students alike have the opportunity to conduct original research, and the research on climate change at George Mason has been impressive over the last decade.”

In addition, Mason offers research funding to students to support greening efforts. The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation offers conservation biology courses that include working with endangered animals.

The BestColleges.com ranking also considered Mason’s Sustainable Living Learning Community, which is a residential community of students “united by their vision for a cleaner, healthier and more equitable future for our planet.”