A Buzzing New Partnership- MVLE and George Mason University School of Business join together for new Honey Bee Initiative
MVLE is excited to announce our newest partnership with George Mason University and the School of Business. Through this partnership, individuals at MVLE will be budding entrepreneurs as they make candles from beeswax collected through the Honey Bee Initiative on George Mason University’s campus. The partnership was recently awarded a grant from the University’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE). The mission of ISE is to connect members of the Mason community with others across the Mason community–and with other communities, policy-makers, businesses and organizations–so that, together, we can more effectively address the world’s pressing sustainability and resilience challenges.
To address the bee crisis, George Mason University launched the Honey Bee Initiative in 2013 with four hives and the purpose of educating the campus community about the benefits of sustainable hive management in an urban setting. Soon thereafter, HBI expanded to 16 hives with funds from a successful crowdfunding campaign. Today, with nearly 600 hives (domestically and internationally), an established teaching and research program, thriving international programs, and dynamic public-private partnerships Mason continues to grow the impact of this program.
A collaboration between the School of Business and the College of Science, the Honey Bee Initiative supports honey bee sustainability by providing an innovative education, conducting collaborative research, and establishing community partnerships in our local Northern Virginia region and abroad. HBI is part of the School of Business’ new center called Business for a Better World, which aims to spark student passions and transform student aspirations into meaningful and lasting impact. “Because of MVLE’s shared commitment to preparing young adults for positive social change, MVLE was a natural partner for us. Through Center programs and partnerships such as the HBI—MVLE collaboration, the Center endeavors to become the region’s premier hub for business for the public good.” says Lisa Gring-Pemble, co-founder of HBI and associate professor in the School of Business.
“As a business leader, I am impressed and intrigued by the mission of Mason and their willingness to partner with MVLE to support our vision of creating a world in which all individuals are valued and empowered to achieve their greatest potential. I am confident our continued collaboration, including the latest Honey Bee Initiative, will serve as a strategic example for other businesses to engage with Mason and other community partners for the betterment of our community,” shared April Pinch-Keeler, President & CEO of MVLE.
Currently, HBI produces a limited quantity of honey and candles as a mechanism for thanking donors to the bee program. Students in marketing, management, and communication classes at Mason proposed a sustainable business model that included the sale of honey, candles, and other bee-related products as a revenue stream. When HBI set a goal to expand the candle production, it turned to new partner MVLE to help. Individuals supported by MVLE’s programs will manufacture and sell the candles. Ultimately, the goal is to provide MVLE clients with meaningful employment through making and selling tea light and taper candles and becoming budding entrepreneurs!
So “bee” on the lookout for candles to be available this fall at University and MVLE events. If you would like to pre-order candles for your holiday events or gifts please contact Sarah Caldwell, Sr. Director of Community Relations, at 703-569-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operating since 1971, Virginia-based MVLE, Inc. provides employment training and job placement, contributing to enhanced quality of life for people with intellectual and physical disability. MVLE is an internationally accredited agency that partners with more than 125 commercial businesses in addition to government and other not-for-profit agencies. MVLE supports over 450 individuals with disabilities and other barriers each year, with a commitment to creating futures, one person at a time. Learn more about MVLE at www.mvle.org.
About the Honey Bee Initiative:
The Honey Bee Initiative is a collaboration between George Mason University’s School of Business and the College of Science, the Honey Bee Initiative supports honey bee sustainability by providing an innovative education, conducting collaborative research, and establishing community partnerships in our local Northern Virginia region and abroad.
The initiative includes nearly 100 hives in Northern Virginia that help the team research and combat colony collapse disorder and educate students and the local community on sustainable beekeeping practices.
The Fairfax Campus Apiaries were established in 2012 with a Patriot Green Fund grant from Mason’s Office of Sustainability. Learn more at https://bees.gmu.edu/about/.