Sustainability at Mason

Mosaic tile
Mosaic tile
Mosaic tile
Mason Campuses

George Mason University plays a leading role in addressing critical sustainability challenges through its research, academic mission, and physical footprint. We celebrate Earth Month all year long through our dedication to solving big problems in collaboration with the local, regional, and international community to foster healthy people, a healthy planet, a healthy economy, and a healthy society. 

Mason's Campuses are a Living Lab

From the canopies of the trees in our accredited arboretum to the stormwater running into Mason Pond, Mason experts are conducting research locally that can and will have an impact globally. Learn more.

" "

Follow Mason

Mason gold banner

Sustainability is one of Mason's core values. 

We educate leaders, conduct interdisciplinary research, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and promote and support socially conscious entrepreneurship. Join us in solving the complex challenges of today to create a better world tomorrow.

Rescuing our future to ensure a healthy planet, healthy people, healthy economies, and healthy societies will be the central organizing cause of the rest of our lives. It is our job to conduct research to find solutions to our overlapping grand challenges – and to educate students to solve them.”

Dr. Gregory Washington

Mosaic tile

George Mason University puts research and scholarship into action to support a just, prosperous, and sustainable world. Mason launched its Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) to lead this applied research. The ISE supports interdisciplinary research by connecting experts in various fields with each other and to policymakers, businesses, civic organizations, and communities. 

In addition to the ISE and the university-wide Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities, nine of our schools and colleges have affiliated research centers that focus on an aspect of sustainability. Mason is one of the top research universities in the nation, holding an R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Learn More

Center for Climate Change Communication

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Potomac Science Center


Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC)

  • PEREC focuses on Potomac River restoration and local sustainability practices, so that the local ecosystem will be healthy for years to come. We translate our research into award winning and engaging field programs for K-12 students and the larger community.
  • PEREC faculty and students have researched a large number of watersheds within the northern Virginia area including many in Fairfax County, Prince William County, and Clarke County.

Mason Research Centers

two men covered in full protection from bees hold a bee hive
Honey Bee Initiative

READ: Mason researchers and Honey Bee Initiative tackle environmental health, economic progress, and food insecurity issues. Learn more.

WATCH: George Mason University's Honey Bee Initiative Video (WebsEdge Science)

Tagging Monarch Butterflies

READ: Conservation students tag monarch butterflies to help save the endangered species. Learn more.

WATCH: Monarch Butterfly Tagging

close up of cherry blossoms
Cherry Blossom Monitoring

READ: Budding scientist monitors Mason's iconic cherry blossoms. Learn more.

Mosaic tile

Mason has a variety of degree programs, minors, and classes in the field, such as Environmental ScienceConservation Biology, and Food Systems. Many are designated Green Leaf Programs and Courses focusing on sustainability. Mason provides students interested in sustainability with an immersive experience that will allow them to craft a career in any field.

Mosaic tile
Sustainability Studies at Mason
students on a river's beach collecting samples for conservation class
Field class
Environmental Sciences
conservation student collection water samples
Fisheries ecology field class
Mosaic tile
Mason Campuses


Our practices include: constructing LEED buildings; managing stormwater runoff; growing food in our greenhouse; planting bee pollinator gardens and teaching apiary management; making carbon-neutral/green purchases; being energy efficient; composting; and reducing waste.

Fuse at Mason Square will be a LEED Platinum, smart, net-zero-ready building with Fitwell 2-star and RELi resiliency. It will feature a green roof for energy-efficient heating and cooling, an agile floor design to enable responsive team or project growth, and specialized labs for robotics, virtual reality, simulation, security and data visualization.

Potomac Science Center is a destination for environmental science research along the Chesapeake Bay watershed and meets LEED Silver certification standards.

building site
Fuse at Mason Square

Food Sustainability

Our food system produces approximately 2,000 pounds of fresh produce every year, which supplies our dining halls and raises $20,000 to pay for supplies, staff, and utilities. 

Mason's Hydroponic Greenhouse

Aquaponics at Mason

The aquaponics system includes a 200-gallon fish tank and three grow beds for the plants – producing harvestable, donation-ready items, including vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs. To learn more about this new system, check out our aquaponics video below! 

The Presidents Park Greenhouse (PPG) is an on-campus site for year-round food production that grows approximately 1,000 lbs. of fresh produce annually. Read more

Mason gold banner