Around Mason: Week of Jan. 30, 2024


Faculty/Staff Announcements

Have something to share? Review announcement guidelines and submit an announcement from your unit through the online form.

Campus Updates

First Fridays: Faculty and Staff Feast for $5 

Visit any Mason dining hall and show your faculty/staff Mason ID for a $5 meal the first Friday of the month. The next opportunity is Friday, Feb. 2. Visit to view the daily menu and learn more about each dining hall.

February Staff Senate Meeting 

The February Staff Senate meeting will feature guest speaker Missy Cummings, director of Mason's Autonomy and Robotics Center, to discuss her work in artificial intelligence.  

Wednesday, Feb. 7  
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Guest Speaker  
11 a.m. to noon – General Meeting  

Constituents are invited to attend in person on the Fairfax Campus in Merten Hall, Room 1201, or join the meeting via Zoom. The Staff Senate will collect questions in advance for consideration. Submit a comment or question by Wednesday, Jan. 31.   

Mason Lobbies

Mason faculty and staff are invited to join Student Government for the 11th annual Mason Lobbies event on Thursday, Feb. 15. Sponsored by Student Government, this trip to meet with state legislators in Richmond is an opportunity to advocate for Mason and issues that impact the university.

DocuSign Service for Faculty and Staff Expanded  

Information Technology Services (ITS) recently expanded the DocuSign service for business and administrative needs at Mason. Previously, Mason had a limited number of envelopes (i.e., digital signature requests) for sending. With this expansion, the service now includes unlimited envelopes for sending and is available to all faculty and staff. Read more information about DocuSign on the ITS website. Contact the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or with questions. 

Mason Basketball Watch Parties

Grab some colleagues and head across the street from the Fairfax Campus to Banditos Tacos and Tequila on Wednesday, Jan. 31, for shopMason's first basketball watch party of the season. Enjoy 10% off with your Mason ID and get a chance to win prizes when you RSVP. Check out the full watch party schedule.   

Mason Men’s Basketball at Saint Joseph's  
Wednesday, Jan. 31  
6:30 p.m. – Watch party opens  
7:00 p.m. – Tipoff  
Location: Banditos Tacos & Tequila (10621 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia)  

Study Abroad Fair

The Global Education Office will host the spring Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Feb. 8, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the Fairfax Campus in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall. Students, faculty, and staff can learn more about global education, talk to faculty and partners, and enjoy some light refreshments. Get more information and register.

Crave: A Late-Night Dining Spot  

Crave is for anyone with the human instinct to grab a late-night bite. Mason Dining’s newest location is located on the Fairfax Campus in the Hub, serving fried favorites and satisfying snacks that will crumble your cravings. Stop by between 5–11 p.m. for a juicy burger, warm pretzel, crispy cheese sticks, and more. Cash, credit/debit, Bonus Funds, Freedom Funds, and Mason Money are accepted at this location.

Training and Professional Development

Volunteers Needed for ARIE Conference

The ARIE planning committee is seeking volunteers to help at the second annual ARIE National Conference from March 18–19 on the Fairfax Campus in the Johnson Center.

Volunteers make this event possible. Join in person or online for a day and a half of interactive workshops, panels, networking, research presentations, and a poster reception. This hybrid conference format will include livestreaming options.

Volunteers are needed to host sessions, help with registration, setup, cleanup, and more. Sign up to volunteer by Feb. 16. Contact with questions.

Resources for You

Professional Clothing Swap at Mason Square

Looking to spice up your professional wardrobe? Do you have professional clothes you would like to donate? Swap or donate your new or gently used professional clothes and accessories to the Professional Clothing Swap at Mason Square on Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 2–6 p.m., in Van Metre Hall, Room 222. This event is open to students, staff, and faculty.

University Life Mason Square is accepting clothing donations through Jan. 31. All pieces must be considered new or used with minimal wear-and-tear. If you drop off items prior to the event, you will receive a "ticket" based on how many items you donate. Bring your ticket to the swap event, and you can take as many pieces as you brought.

Any leftover clothing will be donated to Mason’s LGBTQ+ Center Trans Closet or Goodwill of Greater Washington. Contact University Life Mason Square at with questions.

Explore Discounts with Patriot Perks

Unlock exclusive savings with your Mason ID through Patriot Perks. Dive into a world of discounts at local businesses—all you need is your Mason ID for a shopping spree filled with savings. Check out the list of participating merchants at

Guaranteed Ride Home 

If you're a faculty or staff member who bikes, carpools, vanpools, uses mass transit (e.g., bus, Metro), or walks to work at least two times per week, you always have a backup ride with Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH).   

Sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, it’s free to sign up and free to use. Once you register, you can use GRH up to six times per year. If a qualifying emergency arises, call Commuter Connections, and they will arrange transportation for you (e.g., taxi, car rental, transit).   

It’s a good idea to sign up before you need it. Conditions apply. For details and to register, visit the Mason Parking and Transportation website (scroll to Guaranteed Ride Home Program). Contact or 703-993-2828 with questions. 

Support Group for Working Mothers at Mason

The Support Group for Working Mothers at Mason is one way faculty, staff, and students can come together, discuss the issues confronting working mothers, and perhaps motivate changes on campus. If you are interested in sharing stories and being part of an informal organization of working mothers, visit the website for meeting dates and more information. Contact Heather Aleknavage with questions.

Love to Bike? Winter Bike to Mason Day Is Friday, Feb. 9  

Winter Bike to Work Day is the Friday before Valentine’s Day. Join Mason Parking and Transportation on Friday, Feb. 9, for a little bike love. Stop by the Merten Hall Lawn on the Fairfax Campus between 7:30–9:30 a.m. with your bike for a beverage and some biking-related giveaways.

Koru Mindfulness Online Sessions

Mason students, staff, and faculty may participate in online Koru mindfulness sessions to strengthen well-being. This evidence-based curriculum teaches mindfulness, meditation, and stress management in ways you can integrate into your busy life. Studies suggest that Koru training leads to significant well-being benefits, such as better sleep, less perceived stress, and more self-compassion.   

Register now for upcoming spring semester sessions. Contact the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being with questions. 

Mason Community Arts Academy: Summer Arts at Mason

Registration is now open for exciting summer camps and workshops at Mason Community Arts Academy (MCAA) in music, acting, visual art, film and video, and professional development for students ages four through adult.   

This summer, MCAA welcomes the second annual Mason Summer Band Camp, the re-imagined Mason String Camp, a new Children's Choir Camp, Acting for Young People, and more.   

A variety of full-day and half-day programs connect participants with Mason faculty, professional teaching artists, and experienced arts educators. Learn, create, and perform with other like-minded artists and make it a summer to remember.

Veterans and the Arts Initiative: Upcoming Workshops

The Veterans and the Arts Initiative at the Hylton Performing Arts Center serves as an arts and community hub for military-connected people. The program offers free, hands-on workshops, art exhibitions featuring veterans’ artwork, and concerts for local veterans, servicemembers, and military family members.        

Have you always wanted to try the guitar or refresh your skills? Musicians of all skill levels are invited to participate in a 10-week series of virtual lessons with Glen McCarthy, guitar instructor for the Veterans and the Arts Initiative. Workshops are offered at Level I and Level II. The workshops are open and free to veterans, servicemembers, military family members, and military caregivers.

Upcoming Performances at Mason 

Just The Two of Us Film Screening with Filmmaker Jada Salter   
Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.   
Fairfax Campus, Johnson Center, Cinema   

Join College of Visual and Performing Arts alum Jada Salter, BA Film and Video Studies ’20, for a premiere screening of her full-length documentary film, Just The Two of Us. Experience the captivating documentary that dives into the extraordinary life of William "Bill" Salter, the renowned songwriter, composer, and musician, who has earned multiple Grammy awards. Through the lens of Jada Salter, Bill Salter's eldest granddaughter, embark on a heartfelt journey as she captures the essence of her grandfather's influential legacy. Prepare to be inspired by the remarkable story of Bill Salter and his unforgettable contributions to the world of music.

Virginia Opera: Sanctuary Road   
Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m.   
Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m.   
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts   

Based on the writings of William Still, an African American leader on the Underground Railroad, Virginia Opera is thrilled to introduce the contemporary opera Sanctuary Road by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell. In a pledge to nurture the next generation of artists, Moravec and Campbell transformed these daring stories of courage, perseverance, and sacrifice into an enthralling historical oratorio. Sung in English with English surtitles.

Cirque Mechanics: Zephyr—A Whirlwind of Circus   
Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m.   
Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m.   
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall   

Modern acrobats and aerialists Cirque Mechanics draw inspiration from the machinery that powers our world to tell ingenious stories that are eye-widening and heart-stopping. In Zephyr—A Whirlwind of Circus, Cirque Mechanics dramatizes humanity’s relationship to wind. In this exhilarating circus performance featuring a giant 20-foot-tall rotating windmill, performers embrace the energy of air to fly, balance, float, and more. 

Artists in Conversation: Cotton 
Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. 
Off-campus: Old Town Hall (3999 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030) 

This event features a performance of composer Damien Geter’s moving song cycle inspired by the haunting “Cotton” photography of acclaimed artist John Dowell, whose works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other galleries. Each song in the cycle features the poetry of Nikki Giovanni, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and other Black American poets, and explores the Black American journey through the lens of the cotton industry. Geter will participate in a talk back following the performance. This event is part of Virginia Opera’s second annual Pride in Black Voices program. 

Visual Voices with Taekyeom Lee 
Mason Exhibitions and Mason School of Art 
Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4:45 p.m. 

Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts, and via Zoom 
Taekyeom Lee is an educator, maker, and designer whose research explores unconventional materials and digital methods to create 3D type, graphics, and even designed objects. This research began with two questions: Where does typography belong in the post-digital age? How do we bridge digital and physical experiences?  

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens: Dancing Beethoven 
Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

Québec’s first professional ballet company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, debuts at the Center for the Arts with a tribute to the awe-inspiring and monumental works of Beethoven with Dancing Beethoven. The program opens with the incredible Symphony No. 5 and concludes with Beethoven’s stirring Symphony No. 7, featuring choreography by the late Uwe Scholz and showcasing the ensemble’s precision, energy, and artistry.

Drum Tao
Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. 
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall 

Taiko sensation Drum Tao returns with its intensely energetic, highly visual, and pulse-pounding take on the ancient art of Japanese drumming. Merging a Samurai ethos with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, Drum Tao presents an unforgettable show that is a feast for the senses. Athleticism and contemporary costumes blend with pulsating rhythms, captivating choreography, and vibrant sets.