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Report Card 2011

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George Mason University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Courtesy of Nicolas Tan

School details:

Endowment: $42 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Fairfax, Virginia


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


An application was submitted by Lenna Storm to have this school evaluated in the College Sustainability Report Card 2011 . A contribution was made to cover the cost of inclusion.  Learn more about how a school can apply for inclusion.  


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
B -
George Mason University is committed to sustainability through a formal policy, which emphasizes the protection of campus woodlands, wetlands, and waterways, as well as the expansion of sustainability in GMU's academic curriculum. The Executive Steering Committee for Sustainability has worked to address the campus carbon footprint, and the Sustainability Studies Advisory Council facilitates inter-departmental communication on sustainability curriculum. Nine staff members work either full or part time to coordinate sustainability initiatives. A revolving loan fund has been established to finance sustainability projects.
GMU has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. The university has implemented energy conservation measures, such as temperature setbacks, and has installed energy management systems, LED lighting, lighting sensors, electric metering, T5 and T8 lighting, temperature control timers, and vending machine sensors. As a result, the university has realized annual utility cost savings of more than $2.1 million.
Dining services purchases local produce, milk, and baked goods. The university also purchases organic produce, meat, poultry, seafood, and beverages, and serves exclusively cage-free eggs and sustainably harvested seafood. Fifty percent of the beef and chicken purchased is free range, and 85 percent of milk is hormone and antibiotic free. In order to reduce waste, 95 percent of meals are trayless, and all landscaping waste is composted or mulched.
All new buildings are required to meet LEED Silver standards, and the campus currently includes 13 buildings that meet LEED criteria. All buildings are individually metered for water use, and the majority of showerheads and faucets on campus are low-flow models.
GMU employs 3 paid interns and 15 volunteers to work on sustainability initiatives. A student group regularly works on the campus garden, which includes both an educational component and off-campus community involvement. Student orientation incorporates sustainability through presentations and hands-on activities.
The university provides free bike repair services twice a year in conjunction with several local bike shops and has added bike lanes to all roads on campus. The university provides free shuttle service on and around campus, as well as local public transportation subsidies for faculty and staff. Carpoolers have access to a ride-share board and receive preferred parking spaces.
The university makes a list of all holdings available upon request to trustees and senior administrators, while a list of asset allocation and external managers is available upon request to the general public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns and does not invest the endowment in on-campus sustainability projects, renewable energy funds, or community development loan funds.
The university has chosen to abstain from proxy voting.
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