Our Commitment to Equity and Sustainability

The School of Integrative Studies Equity and Sustainability Committee Charter 

The School of Integrative Studies (SIS) Equity and Sustainability Committee operates with the understanding that social equity and environmental sustainability are central to our school's mission. The Committee’s charge is to ensure that these values characterize SIS and to create a model of equity and sustainability for other departments at George Mason University and other institutions, academic or otherwise.

While equity and sustainability overlap as principles—indeed, equity, environment and economy serve as the foundations of sustainability—we hold them as sufficiently distinct to warrant shared focus. We define equity as fairness in the distribution of rights and resources to populations, especially those who are often disenfranchised. Sustainability is the responsible long-term stewardship of those resources, dimensions of which extend to ecological, political, economical and cultural concerns. We believe that an environment built on principles of non-violent communication is the essential component of equity and sustainability.

The primary purpose of the Committee is to advance the accountability of the School of Integrative Studies to the principles of equity and sustainability in our educational and operational activities. This committee will address questions such as: Is SIS equitable? How can we become a sustainable school? In what ways can our practices and assessments influence the larger body of George Mason--its students, staff and faculty--to make issues of equity and sustainability a priority?

The Equity and Sustainability Committee will facilitate assessments in order to evaluate our current positions and practices in SIS. The initial assessments will focus on both quantitative and qualitative data in order to chart relations and access to and perceptions of equity and sustainability comprehensively. Areas of emphasis could include:

  • Policies of hiring and student recruitment
  • Conventions of energy and resource use in our classrooms, offices and events
  • Consciousness in consumption practices of both food and materials
  • Individual and community empowerment
  • Reduction of our carbon footprint as a community and individually.

These practices should extend beyond our work place and become central to how members of the SIS community live, both during and outside of work hours. As a Committee, we strive to transform SIS into a model of equity and sustainability.

The Committee will consist of SIS faculty at multiple levels, staff, and students. The group will meet monthly and will forge concrete plans for carrying out the mission and objectives as described above.