Archie Nesbitt, Grounds Shop Supervisor in Facilities Management, shares his stormwater management projects at the Facilities website.
Southside is not just another student dining facility on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. It’s the perfect example of ecofriendliness. Since opening its doors in 2008, Southside has exceeded green standards in an effort to be as environmentally conscious as possible.
Patrons will immediately notice the absence of trays, which reduces waste while saving water and energy. By eliminating trays, Southside has reduced the amount of wasted food by more than 30 percent and saved approximately 3,000 gallons of water per day when compared with similar dining halls around the country.
Nearly all the leftover food and napkins that are thrown away are compressed and processed into compost. Even the frying oil is recycled and converted into biodiesel fuel. All total, Southside boasts 95 percent sustainable operations.
Visit Southside Website
As part of a developing stewardship approach to maintaining the grounds on campus, we have eliminated some troublesome areas from the turf and mowing program by converting them into areas that attract native insects and birds: butterfly gardens and bumblebee havens.
Some of the areas on the Fairfax Campus are near the Finley Building, Fenwick Library, the Lecture Hall, the Sandy Creek Parking Deck, the handicap ramp from Presidents Park, and some sites by student housing.
Flowers such as zinnias, white and purple coneflowers, liatris, marigolds, hydrangeas, lupines, coreopsis, orange butterfly weed, and gaillardia have been planted. They attract butterflies and moths, bumblebees, and birds, such as gold finches and hummingbirds, which have been observed feeding on the flowers or the insects that are attracted to the blooms at the sites.
Over time, as manpower and budgets allow, the Mason Grounds Shop will add a more diverse blend of perennials to the sites.
Submitted by Archie Nesbitt, grounds shop supervisor and “ecosystem artist”
When the George W. Johnson Center on Mason’s Fairfax Campus opened in 1996, it was on the cutting edge of university architectural design and innovative thinking about learning spaces.
Back then, the Washington Post called it a “mall of knowledge.” With its fountain, tall lamp posts, hanging banners, large ornamental staircases, and food court, it does look a bit like a mall. But it also has a library, plenty of computer labs and study areas, and offices for university programs and services. Fulfilling its goal as the center of campus, physically and metaphorically, “the JC” has become the place to meet, eat, and study.