Around Mason: Week of April 16, 2024


Faculty/Staff Announcements 

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Campus Updates

Staff Appreciation Events 

The Mason Staff Senate will host Spring Staff Appreciation Events for classified and non-student wage employees, featuring refreshments from Rita’s Ice and giveaways from the Staff Senate. RSVP for the event on your campus:  

  • SciTech Campus: Tuesday, May 14, from 1–2 p.m., Katherine Johnson Patio 
  • Fairfax Campus: Wednesday, May 15, from 1–2:30 p.m., Wilkins Plaza  
  • Mason Square: Thursday, May 16, from 1–2 p.m., Plaza 

Reminder: Participate in the Faculty and Staff Experience Survey 

The Faculty and Staff Experience Survey is here. Employees received a unique link to the survey from Gallup via email. Participation in this survey is vital to the Mason community and the results are actionable; the data will be used to inform decision-making and strategic planning. Learn more.  

Outstanding Achievement Awards

Mason's 2024 Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 16, from 10–11:30 a.m. on the Fairfax Campus in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall. The ceremony will also be livestreamed by GMU-TV. The link to watch the ceremony will be posted on the Outstanding Achievement Awards website before the event. Check out the list of award recipients.

Mason Day 

Mason Day is the longest running tradition at George Mason University. Join the festivities for a wide array of carnival activities, rides, and goodies. Mason Day will feature a performance by Neon Trees. 

Mason Day
Friday, April 26, from 3–10 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Parking Lots A and L (near EagleBank Arena) 

Take Your Junior Patriot to Work 

Share the magic of Mason with the youth in your life on April 25, Take Your Junior Patriot to Work Day. Across the Mason Square, Fairfax, and SciTech campuses, Junior Patriots can enjoy tie-dye, storytelling, outdoor games, and more.  

Check the list of activities and events on the Take Your Junior Patriot to Work website. Complete the Take Your Junior Patriot to Work Day Consent Form by Friday, April 19, to participate. All participants must have a form on file prior to attending with their Junior Patriots. Those with a consent form on file will be sent a sign up link.      

As a reminder: Parents/Guardians are responsible for maintaining care, custody, and control of their child(ren) and for supervising them at all times of the day. For questions, contact  

INOVA Blood Drive on Campus: Monday, April 29

The Staff Senate and Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority will host an INOVA blood drive on Monday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot near The Hub on the Fairfax Campus. Book an appointment in advance. Learn more.

Earth Month at Mason  

April is Earth Month. Check out University Sustainability's Earth Month calendar for events and activities from campus partners throughout the month. Highlights include:    

  • Food of Our Future Farmers’ Market: Explore foods that will sustain our future on Tuesday, April 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside Southside Dining Hall and at The Spot on the Fairfax Campus. Free samples will be available at The Spot. Wilkins Plaza will feature local artisans and vendors, community partners, engaging activities, and a live cooking demonstration.  
  • Wellness Walks: Steps to Plant Trees—Gather to walk, connect with others, and plant trees during Spring into Well-Being. All walks start at 12:30 p.m. and meet at Northern Neck Starbucks on the Fairfax Campus, unless otherwise noted: 
    • Monday, April 22: Walk with Mason Facilities 
    • Tuesday, April 23: Walk with Mason Recreation  
    • Wednesday, April 24: Walk with Mason Dining 
    • Thursday, April 25: Walk with the Greenhouse and Gardens Program (meet at Foragers Forest behind SUB I) 
    • Friday, April 26: Meet at the Johnson Center at 9:30 a.m., or at Presidents Park at noon for a tree-planting activity with Mason Dining and Facilities.

Bike to Mason Days

Spring is here! Join Parking and Transportation at Bike to Mason Days:    

  • SciTech: Tuesday, April 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Colgan Hall Patio    
  • Mason Korea: Tuesday, April 23, 8:30–10:30 a.m., George Mason statue   
  • Fairfax: Wednesday, April 24, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Merten Lawn    
  • Mason Square: Thursday, April 25, 3–7 p.m., Plaza    

There will be food, biking resources, and fun giveaways. RSVP. Contact with questions.  

Mason Square Market  

Visit the Mason Square Market on Wednesday, April 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Discover a variety of handmade items, sweet treats, art, and more on the plaza. The spring market happens on the third Wednesday of the month, March through June.   

Spring into Well-Being: April 22–26  

Mason’s annual well-being celebration, Spring into Well-Being, will take place from Monday, April 22, through Friday, April 26. Each day will feature events that focus on a different well-being theme:  

  • Monday: Physical Health  
  • Tuesday: Resilience and Strengths   
  • Wednesday: Mental Health   
  • Thursday: Kindness (Mason Chooses Kindness)  
  • Friday: Thriving Together/Mason Day  

View the list of events. Contact the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being with questions.  

Summer Mason Shuttles Schedules Available 

The summer schedules for Mason Shuttles and a service summary are posted at Summer service begins on Monday, May 13, and is Monday–Friday only. Spring service ends for all routes on Friday, May 10 (except On-Demand, which ends on Sunday, May 5). 

There will be no Mason Shuttles service on Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day), Wednesday, June 19 (Juneteenth), or Thursday, July 4 (Independence Day). Contact 703-993-2828 or with questions. 

Donate, Don't Dump! Patriot Packout Returns

Patriot Packout, Mason's annual sustainable move-out initiative, is happening through May 10. As students move out of their residence halls, donations of like-new and gently used items are collected at the Fairfax Campus, SciTech Campus, and the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.   

This year, donated items will support Mason programs including the Patriot Pantry, Trans Clothing Closet, Art Supply Sharing Closet, First Gen+ Center, and Parking and Transportation's bike programs. Community organizations, such as Food for Others, will also receive donated items.   

Visit the webpage for a list of accepted items, campus donation locations, and volunteer opportunities. Mason students who live off-campus and Mason employees are invited to bring any of the accepted items to the 24/7 outdoor drop-off locations.  

'Just Baked' Vending Machines 

Introducing Just Baked, a revolution in vending convenience. Located on the Fairfax Campus in Fenwick Library, Nguyen Engineering Building, and Peterson Hall, these machines serve up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts in just one minute. Grab a bacon, egg, and gouda sandwich or a classic cinnamon roll on the go. Or, try something like spicy kung pao chicken potstickers—satisfy your cravings with the diverse menu. Visit one of these vending stations today for a deliciously quick meal. Contact Mason Dining with questions.  

Training and Professional Development 

Term Faculty Committee to Host Spring Community Conversation  

The Term Faculty Committee will host a community conversation to discuss its progress since last year’s update, answer questions about the work of the committee, and discuss issues. The conversation will be held on Monday, April 22, from 2–3:15 p.m. via Zoom. Visit the term faculty information page for more details.   

Resources for You   

Tuesday Treks  

Embark on a journey of social connection, informal conversation, and enhanced well-being with Human Resources’ Tuesday Treks walking series. Meet at the Wellness Circle in front of Merten Hall in Fairfax every Tuesday at noon. Treks last 30 minutes and will continue through Tuesday, May 28. All abilities are welcome. Learn more

Mason Night with the Washington Mystics 

Join Mason fans for a night with the Washington Mystics on June 6. Attend a pregame reception in the Terrace Deluxe area inside the Entertainment and Sports Arena before watching the game as the Mystics take on the Chicago Sky. Special ticket pricing options are available. Pricing includes game ticket and a Mason and Mystics co-branded baseball hat. 

Money Smart Day: Building Financial Literacy  

Mason's fourth annual Money Smart Day, hosted by the Student Support and Advocacy Center, will take place on Wednesday, April 17. This event is free and open to all members of the Mason community.   

April is Financial Literacy Month, and Money Smart Day includes empowering sessions on anti-scam protection, home buying tips, health insurance essentials, salary negotiation tactics, and more. Learn more about the sessions and presenters on the Financial Well-Being webpage.   

Faculty and Staff Book Scholarship: Call for Applications   

Mason faculty and staff are invited to apply for the 2024 Faculty and Staff Book Scholarship, a $250 scholarship dedicated to paying for textbooks and supplies needed for Mason degree or certificate courses.    

Apply by Friday, May 24. For further information, visit the webpage. Email with questions.   

AI Smackdown: Generative AI Champions in Higher Education 

Prepare for an academic spectacle where real intellect meets artificial intelligence. This event features faculty from the College of Education and Human Development, who will tackle the new and emerging challenges presented by generative AI in higher education.  

Monday, April 29, 1 p.m. 
Hosted on Zoom 

Armed with AI tools and practices, these academic titans will use their intellectual powers and experience to tame AI so that it works for us. Get a ringside view—or enter the ring yourself to share a generative AI tool/practice—for this exciting event filled with real intellectual wrestling, engagement, and inspiration.  

Food for Thought Fundraiser for the Center for Community Mental Health 

Mason's Center for Community Mental Health provides low-cost, accessible, and high-quality mental health services to more than 400 children, adolescents, adults, and veterans in the region. The center also trains the next generation of ethical, competent, and culturally sensitive mental health providers.  

The Food for Thought fundraiser supports accessible and affordable mental health services to those most in need in our community. The event will take place on Thursday, May 2, from 6–9 p.m. at the Country Club of Fairfax. Guests will hear from people who were served by the Center for Community Mental Health and how it has changed their lives. Guests will also enjoy culinary delights and sip on signature drinks and cocktails. Silent and live auction items will be on display. Learn more and purchase tickets

Vanpool Survey  

Are you a full-time faculty/staff member who is interested in another way to get to work at Mason? Would you like to have your commute costs reimbursed up to $315/month tax-free, not have to do all the driving, park for free at Mason, and reduce carbon emissions? If so, consider vanpooling. Parking and Transportation is continuing its vanpool outreach and has developed a short vanpool match survey. Contact 703-993-2828 or

Reminder: Charter Buses on Campus   

If your department is hosting an event involving any number of charter buses on campus, please coordinate their visit with Parking Services. Even one charter bus needs to be accommodated for drop off, pickup, and parking. Charter buses should not be advised to pick up or drop off riders at Rappahannock River Lane or the Sandy Creek Transit Center. Both locations are transit hubs, and there is not sufficient space to allow charter bus access.   

Parking Services is happy to help select a location and make arrangements—include them in your event planning process. Contact or 703-993-2065. 

Nutrition Tips from Mason Dietitians 

Mason Dining’s dietitians are sharing health and nutrition tips to enhance employee wellness. This month’s tip: 

Eating the whole vegetable is not only a sustainable practice, but it also maximizes the nutritional benefits of these foods. Did you know that these parts of vegetables are edible? Here are some ways to use them: 

  • Carrot leaves: add to salad, soup or pesto. 
  • Broccoli, kale, and swiss chard stems: use in juice or smoothies. 
  • Celery tops: add to tuna salad or pesto. 
  • Radish greens: sauté or add to a salad. 
  • Cauliflower stems and leaves: roast or add to various dishes. 
  • Onion skins, pea pods, asparagus tips, broccoli stems, and mushroom stems: make a broth. 

For more employee wellness information, contact Stay tuned for more tips from Mason’s dietitians, Brooke Tresch and Sandy Ma.   

High School Courses for College Credit at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation  

Do you have a high school student interested in science, conservation, the environment, illustration, or just earning Mason undergraduate credits over the summer? Register for exciting Summer High School Programs at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.  

Participants will spend a week at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia; join online for a four-week, all-level illustration course; or both!  

Visit the website for more information. Contact with questions. 

Faculty/Staff Bike Commuter Choice 

Do you live within a few miles of campus and think biking to work could be good for your well-being? All faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the Bike Commuter Choice Program. The program has four tiers of support. The more you ride, the greater the financial incentive. The introductory tier is just five rides per quarter. For details, visit and select the Faculty/Staff Bike Commuter Choice Program. Need help finding a route? Check in with our bike volunteers. Contact Mason Transportation with questions.  

Upcoming Performances at Mason     

Mason Opera Presents a Comedic Double Bill   
Dewberry School of Music  
April 19–21, multiple performances   
Fairfax Campus, Harris Theatre
Don’t miss this rare operatic comedy double bill. First up, Mozart’s witty The Impresario, a battle of divas and egos set to sublime music. Then, dive into the whimsical world of The Classical Style: An Opera (Of Sorts), where Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven embark on a hilarious quest to save classical music and to reclaim its glory. With rich orchestral scores and unforgettable characters, this double bill promises an evening of laughter and enchantment.    

Mason Artist-in-Residence: Small Island Big Song   
Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m.   
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  
Join Small Island Big Song for an experience combining music, spoken word, and stunning projections to showcase oceanic grooves and island ballads, while shining a light on the devastating effects of global warming. More than 100 Indigenous artists are represented to highlight a shared seafaring ancestry with interconnected musical traditions.    

Family Series: The Okee Dokee Brothers  
Sunday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.   
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts   

Grammy- and five-time Parents’ Choice Award-winning duo The Okee Dokee Brothers infuse bluegrass music and playful lyrics with an interest in the great outdoors, hoping to spark a desire in children to explore their surroundings and imaginations. Recommended for ages 3–8.   

Mason Film Festival    
April 22–24 and April 27   
Fairfax Campus, Johnson Center
The Mason Film Festival is an annual event showcasing the diverse work of Film and Video Studies students, including that of beginning video students, intermediate directing students, and graduating seniors. This year, the festival will take place over four days: April 22–24 and April 27. The event is free and open to the public, but advanced registration is required.  

Matinee Idylls: Bridging the Gap 
Wednesday, April 24, at 1:30 p.m.  
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Gregory Family Theater  

String duo Bridging the Gap features the talents of violinist and American Festival Pops Orchestra Artistic Director Peter Wilson and double bassist Aaron Clay. Celebrating 25 years of performances, this unlikely pair offers a unique voice to musical genres from classical to jazz, folk to film music, funk to popular song, and even Big Band.   

Mason Wind Symphony Concert: The Blue Marble  
Dewberry School of Music 
Thursday, April 25, at 8 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  

In collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Mason Wind Symphony presents The Blue Marble: An Earth Concertvation Experience, a concert curated to bring awareness to humanity's collective responsibility in conservation. A pre-concert talk will highlight how artists can advocate for environmental awareness.   

Spring: Dance Innovations 
Mason School of Dance 
Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, at 2 and 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Harris Theatre  

Spring: Dance Innovations offers two distinct programs of new works created and performed by the Mason Dance Company. 

Mason Symphony Orchestra Concert  
Dewberry School of Music   
Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  

This performance will feature both the Mason Concert Orchestra and Mason Symphony Orchestra performing a vast array of musical styles, from Puccini to pop and everything in between. This performance will also celebrate the winners of the 2024 Dewberry School of Music Concerto Competition: Jamilah Barnes (soprano), Ya Chi Tang (piano), Andrew Bell (bassoon), and Michael Abernathy (marimba). The evening will conclude with music from Bernstein’s beloved West Side Story

A Concert Presentation of: Once Upon a Mattress 
Mason School of Theater 
April 26–28, multiple performances   
Fairfax Campus, de Laski Performing Arts Building, TheaterSpace 

Many moons ago in a far-off place, Queen Aggravain decreed no couples could marry until her son, Prince Dauntless, found a bride. Princesses came from far and wide to win the hand of the prince, but none could pass the impossible tests given to them by the queen. That is, until the “shy” swamp princess, Winnifred the Woebegone, showed up.   

Mason Symphony Orchestra: Concerto Competition Winners 
Dewberry School of Music 
Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  

Join the Dewberry School of Music for their spring finale concert featuring the Mason Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Soo Han. 

Hylton Performing Arts Center: 14th Anniversary Gala 
Saturday, April 27, from 6–11 p.m. 
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center 

Celebrate 14 years of artistic excellence at the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Anniversary Gala. Join fellow arts enthusiasts and community changemakers to provide critical funding for the Hylton Center’s many performances, programs, initiatives, and endowment. The evening includes a lively reception, an elegant dinner and tribute to gala honorees in Merchant Hall, and an exciting live auction and “Raise Your Paddle” fundraiser. Don’t miss the community’s premier celebration of the arts. 

Bamberg Symphony 
Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

The Bamberg Symphony explores Richard Wagner’s complicated legacy and his artistic influence as part of the concert series, “The World After Wagner.” Maestro Jakub Hrůša leads a program featuring Wagner’s “Prelude to Act I” from Lohengrin, “Overture” to Tannhäuser, and more. Virtuoso pianist Hélène Grimaud joins the orchestra for Schumann’s piano concerto.