University Invests in Patriot Green Fund
Posted: September 2, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: September 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm
By Dave Andrews
Mason has set aside an initial investment of $100,000 to support the Patriot Green Fund, an initiative designed to help develop student-driven sustainability-related projects and research.
The Patriot Green Fund will be administered by Mason’s Office of Sustainability and directed by a committee of students, faculty and staff, with the majority of the membership being students.
“This represents an unprecedented opportunity for students to make a viable and direct impact on sustainability at Mason,” says Lenna Storm, university sustainability manager.
“It showcases the commitment by the administration to move Mason’s campuses and surrounding communities toward sustainability and climate neutrality. It also encourages students to get more directly involved in the process,” she adds.
Storm notes that the university agreed to establish the Patriot Green Fund as a direct result of recommendations from many environmentally minded students.
The Patriot Green Fund represents yet another milestone in a series of initiatives to help Mason achieve the goal of becoming climate neutral. In 2007, Mason President Alan Merten set the institution on this path by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. That same year, the university established the Office of Sustainability and began incorporating sustainability into its academic curriculum.
Other initiatives include:
- Entering into a Siemens Building Technologies Energy Savings Performance Contract, saving the university a minimum of $2.3 million in annual energy costs
- Establishing several academic majors and minors relating to energy and sustainability
- Partnering with the Smithsonian Institution to provide students with the opportunity to live and study at the zoo’s 3,200-acre conservation and research center in Front Royal, Va.
- Providing members of the campus community with many nonautomobile transportation options
- Building Southside Dining Hall, which is 96 percent waste-free due to composting, tray-free dining and aggressive recycling
- Expanding the number of sustainability-related courses available to students
- Ensuring that all future construction projects will be at least LEED Silver certified
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