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This fall, George Mason University will launch a pilot project to study utilization of space on our campuses. Building on the work of the Master Plan and in alignment with Mason’s 2023 Strategic Direction, the space utilization project will gather anonymous information about on-campus activity to help the university make informed decisions about how to orient our space around actual utilization.
“This study will help leadership make data-driven decisions on how to best serve the needs of the Mason community—our students, faculty, and staff,” said Provost Mark Ginsberg. “This information will allow us to make changes to support today’s campus, as well as to plan for the long-term needs of a growing, dynamic university.”
Led by the Office of Capital Strategy and Planning in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and Information Technology Services, the pilot will start with parts of eight buildings—Exploratory Hall, Horizon Hall, Fenwick Library, Engineering Building, Research Hall, Johnson Center, Van Metre Hall, and Discovery Hall—before moving through other spaces over the next three years. The project will use existing Wi-Fi access points and anonymous data to identify how often spaces are used and by how many people.
Mason’s project partner, Lambent, provides innovative technology that distinguishes between multiple people and an individual using numerous devices, without gathering any personal identifying information or details of their usage. Mason has selected Lambent due to their track record of privacy, as demonstrated in their recent work with William & Mary. Only aggregate and anonymous information regarding occupancy will be stored and made available for analysis and planning, making it impossible to link this anonymized data to an individual device.
Data gathered from the project will ultimately help inform Mason decision making to improve current and long-term resource planning and space utilization. Potential applications include matching student support resources with actual student activity, improved classroom and lab scheduling, and optimizing building systems and services, among other assignments of university resources.
“Mason has always been a tremendous steward of its resources,” said Deb Dickenson, executive vice president for finance and administration. “At a time when commonwealth capital investments are constrained, this effort will help Mason make the best use of every resource, which will help us serve our community better, as well as meeting our long-term operational, financial, and sustainability goals.”
For more information about the space utilization project, please visit Capital Strategy and Planning.