Dominion Foundation Supports Mason Sustainability Programs

Posted: February 3, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: February 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm

By Corey Jenkins Schaut

From left, Lenna Storm, Mason sustainability manager; Ernst Volgenau, rector of Mason's Board of Visitors; and Mark McGettrick, Dominion's chief financial officer and member of the Board of Visitors with a "check" presented to support Mason sustainability initiatives. Photo by Corey Schaut

The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources Inc., presented George Mason University with $35,000 in support of the Mason Sustainability Institute at the Jan. 26 Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting.

The Mason Sustainability Institute works to foster education and leadership in the field of sustainability for the Northern Virginia region. The institute’s efforts include working with city and county leadership on ways to reduce the region’s environmental footprint, providing increased exposure and networking for local green businesses and offering networking opportunities for students focused on green career options.

Mark McGettrick, BS ’80, Dominion’s chief financial officer and a member of the Board of Visitors, made the presentation to Ernst Volgenau, BOV rector, and Lenna Storm, university sustainability manager.

McGettrick described Mason’s sustainability efforts as a strong collaboration between the university, its students, and the public and private sectors. He noted that the scope of Mason’s program across these sectors is what attracted the foundation’s support.

“Outreach programs such as this are fundamental to what the foundation is about,” McGettrick said.

Storm said the grant funds will help establish six workshops that will cover topics related to home efficiency, such as energy efficiency, waste minimization and water conservation, as well as topics related to sustainable food, such as at-home gardening, composting and rain barrel construction.

Students in the Sustainability in Action capstone course will assist with planning and teaching the workshops, while local green businesses will provide speakers for the courses. The sessions will be held in spaces provided through the City of Fairfax, as well as some local nonprofit agencies that are partnering with the institute.

Additionally, Storm said that the funds will also support efforts to explore partnerships among existing Mason courses and programs, as well as additional regional community partnerships, including those at other academic institutions in the region.

“We thank Dominion Foundation for providing the solid foundation for us to start accelerating the building of this institute,” Storm said.

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