Provost Selects Fellow for Sustainability Curricula

Posted: September 3, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nick Walker

Sharon deMonsabert
Sharon deMonsabert

Efforts to turn Mason “green” took a significant step forward when Provost Peter Stearns selected Sharon deMonsabert, associate professor of civil, environmental and infrastructure engineering (CEIE), as Mason’s first fellow for sustainability curricula.

“Provost Stearns decided we needed someone to coordinate three parts of sustainability: environmental, economical and social,” says deMonsabert, who currently teaches the CEIE 499/690 Sustainable Development course.

“We often see sustainability as just being environmentally friendly, but there’s more to it than that. For example, if we can’t afford to do something, then it isn’t economically sustainable. We also look at social awareness, social justice and equity to build a world we can be proud of. To be sustainable, we have to keep all of this in balance.”

The new position is half time for the current academic year.

“Professor deMonsabert will coordinate closely with the Sustainability Committee, whose members are also interested in curricular issues but whose charge relates more specifically with facilities and transportation operations,” says Stearns.

“We want to put together a sustainability programs committee,” deMonsabert says, “not just for scientists and engineers, but people interested in social science, fine arts and other areas. It will be a way to bring people together on campus. I would love to hear from anybody who has ideas for sustainability degrees or certificate programs.”

The panel is one of several new initiatives deMonsabert hopes to create. She is also working with faculty members from several departments to design undergraduate and graduate sustainability learning opportunities for students with technical and nontechnical backgrounds and interests.

DeMonsabert and some of her students are already working with university sustainability coordinator Lenna Storm. “Some of our research involved relocating the exterior recycling bins, which may increase recycling by up to 57 percent,” deMonsabert notes.

In addition to her work at Mason, deMonsabert owns Applied Engineering Management Corp., located in Chantilly, Va. The company recently held a sustainability retreat in Boulder, Colo., and has several ongoing sustainability projects.

DeMonsabert can be contacted via e-mail at

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