Around Mason: Week of Sept. 13, 2022


Faculty/Staff Announcements

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Campus Updates

Rock the Block on Sept. 23 

Get ready for a great evening of entertainment at Rock the Block! George Mason University and the City of Fairfax come together for this annual tradition to celebrate the start of another academic year. Mark your calendar for Friday, Sept. 23, from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. at Old Town Square in the City of Fairfax (10415 North Street). 

Mason activities begin at 5:45 p.m., and the music begins at 6:30 p.m. There will be welcome remarks from the mayor, President Washington, and the student government president, as well as the annual corn hole game between city and student leadership prior to the concert. Look for Mason giveaway tables and a visit from the Patriot while enjoying music from the U.S. Army Band Downrange. 

Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. This event is free and open to the public. 

Winter Wellness Flu Shot Clinics

Register today to receive your flu shot at a Winter Wellness Flu Shot Clinic on campus. Clinics will be hosted on the Fairfax Campus, SciTech Campus, and Mason Square. Clinic tips:  

  • On the day of your appointment, wear a mask and short sleeves. 
  • Complete and bring the consent form (coming soon) to ensure a faster process. Bring your health insurance card and a valid form of ID. 
  • Plan to spend 10–15 minutes at the clinic after your shot to ensure there is no adverse reaction. 

Note: Flu shots are free to employees with COVA Care or Kaiser Permanente insurance. View the FAQ flyer for more details.

Questions? Contact the Faculty and Staff Engagement Team at

shopMason Presents: AMPLIFY!

Join shopMason for a festive new celebration this fall: AMPLIFY! This exciting outdoor event will be hosted on the Merten Lawn on Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

AMPLIFY will feature food trucks, games, giveaways, music, bike rides, and more. Engage with shopMason units including the Mason Bookstore, Dining, Card Office, Parking and Transportation, Student Centers, Wells Fargo, and several off-campus Mason Merchants and Patriot Perks members. We can't wait to see you there. RSVP for a chance to win a bonus prize.

Peace Week: Sept. 19–23 

Join the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution for Peace Week, a week-long series of seminars and events from Sept. 19–23. This year’s theme is "Rethinking Peace: 2022 and Beyond."  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, mass migration, refugee crises, persistent violence and discrimination against minorities, and violations of civil rights and liberties undermine the stability of global society and require rethinking of the concept of peace.  

During Peace Week, we will connect research to action to shed light on the participatory processes, social change actions, and institutional frameworks that are required for fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. Learn more and view the schedule of events. 

Tiny Stage on the Plaza at Mason Square

Hear music by local acoustic talent at Tiny Stage, a performance series on the plaza at Mason Square every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. Bring your lunch or purchase from the food truck parked on Fairfax Drive. 

Did you know that free community events happen every weekday on the plaza at Mason Square? Check out the full schedule.

Organic Land Care Beta Testing

Mason Facilities is excited to announce the launch of a new pilot program centering around organic land care in a seven-acre area around Merten and Petersen halls on the Fairfax Campus.  

Within the testing site, 100 percent natural fertilizers and environmentally sensitive gardening products will be used to measure the environmental and financial impacts and feasibility to the Mason community. Learn more about this pilot program. Contact Ariel Sierra with questions.

13th Annual Happy Heart Walk

It's time for our annual Happy Heart Walk on Wednesday, Sept. 28! This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Happy Heart Walk. Join your fellow employees and students in promoting heart health.

No need to register. Simply join the walk in-person at one of the starting locations on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at noon. Share your Happy Heart Walk photos on Twitter or Instagram with #HappyHeartWalk.

Can't make it on Sept. 28? Visit the American Heart Association's website to search for a heart walk near you. 

Training and Professional Development

Dreams Come True with You

Mason faculty and staff are invited to participate as mentors in the 22nd year of the Mason Dream Catchers program, a university-wide partnership with the Fairfax County and Prince William County public school systems.  

Volunteer mentors in the Mason community attend monthly events held on campus to support capable alternative high school students in achieving their dreams to attend college. Read more about the Mason Dream Catchers and the planned events.  

If you are interested in participating in this program or would like additional information, contact Julie Shedd. 

Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference

The Mason community is invited to the Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference on Sept. 30. Join us for a day of workshops, panels, teaching-focused presentations, and networking with colleagues.   

This conference will include a variety of in-person activities, a diverse menu of livestreaming options, and on-demand content. Visit the ITL website for more information and registration details.  

Keynote speaker Claire Howell Major, author of Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty, will share her principles of teaching students to advance learning and develop classroom engagement in higher education.

Terms of Engagement: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement

Student engagement is important for learning across levels and disciplines. Recent research on motivation makes it clear that for students to be successful, they must value the task, expect to succeed, and be active participants in their own learning.  

This hands-on, collaborative workshop will examine a model of student engagement and share specific teaching techniques that can motivate students to participate in the learning process.  

Terms of Engagement: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement 
Hosted by the Stearns Center  
Facilitator: Claire Howell Major, keynote speaker for the Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference  
Thursday, Sept. 29, 3–4:30 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Research Hall, Room 163, or virtual participation  

Resources for You

Faculty/Staff Meal Plans Available for Purchase

Faculty and staff can purchase meal plans, too! Get a BYTE Plan for fixed meal swipes, accepted in all dining halls. Choose the plan that works best for you: 

  • 50 meal swipes: $395 ($7.90/meal) 
  • 25 meal swipes: $215 ($8.60/meal) 
  • 10 meal swipes: $95 ($9.50/meal) 

For comparison, door prices are $9.50 for breakfast, $11 for lunch, and $12 for dinner. 

You may purchase a BYTE Plan online or in person at the Mason Card Office (located in SUB I, Room 1203). Bring your Mason ID.  

Byte Plan balances carry over from fall 2022 to spring 2023. The remaining swipes expire May 17, 2023. All balances will be zeroed out and are not refundable.

Reminder: Abandoned Bike Sale

Parking and Transportation’s “As Is” Abandoned Bike Sale will be held on Friday, Sept. 16, from 2–4 p.m. in the visitor section of the Shenandoah Parking Deck. We have about 75 bikes to sell this year. One bike per customer. Mason students, faculty, and staff only.

Details are available at on the website. Questions? Contact Parking and Transportation at 703-993-2828 or

Mindful Mason Moments

Participate in Mindful Mason Moments this fall. These 20-minute sessions are open to students, staff, and faculty and provide an opportunity to participate in a variety of mindfulness practices.  

Sessions are held on Zoom on Monday/Wednesday at 4 p.m., and on Friday at 12:30 p.m. In-person sessions are held on Tuesday/Thursday in SUB I, Room 3B. Sessions are happening now through Nov. 18. Learn more on the website.

Try Going Car-Free 

It’s always a great idea to have more than one way to get to Mason. Car Free Day on Sept. 22 is an opportunity to try a new way to commute.  

Take the Car Free pledge and receive a Nift Gift with your confirmation email. You will also be entered into a raffle for some great prizes.  

If you are a full-time Mason employee, remember that public transportation costs are subsidized up to the IRS limit of $280/month. Read more details on the Commuter Choice Program.

Purchase Patriot Tech via Payroll Deduction

Did you know you can purchase computers, iPads, and accessories from Patriot Tech via payroll deduction? All full-time faculty and staff who have been employed at least six months and are in good standing with the university are eligible to participate.  

A 10 percent down payment is required, and the remainder is financed (between $500 and $3,000) and taken out in equal payments through payroll deduction over one year. Email Patriot Tech for details, or stop by Patriot Tech in the Johnson Center to start the process.

Mason Administrative Professionals Group

Mason Administrative Professionals (MAP) is a community of practice that provides opportunities to network, engage, and build relationships through knowledge management. MAP welcomes anyone working at Mason who considers themselves to be in an administrative role.  

Join the group at an upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at noon. The session will be hosted on Zoom. 

During this meeting, MAP will discuss next steps to move back to a successful community of practice. We need your help to steer this conversation. For questions, contact Heather Aleknavage.

Change Your Commute: Vanpool

Looking for a new way to get to work? Consider vanpooling. Travel with the same group of Mason colleagues and reduce the time you spend driving. Plus, for full-time faculty/staff, the cost of your commute can be subsidized by Mason up to $280/month.  

Seats are currently available from the Fredericksburg area (work hours 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Or, start your own vanpool with four coworkers. For details, visit the Parking and Transportation website or contact

Upcoming Performances at Mason

Fall 2022 Comedy Headliner: Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah 
Friday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. 
Center for the Arts, Concert Hall 
Mason’s Fall 2022 Comedy Headliner is Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah! Student tickets are $10 for upper tier and $20 for lower tier. Faculty/staff/alumni tickets are $25 for upper tier and $35 for lower tier. Fees apply for online sales. Student tickets are also available at the Student Involvement office in The Hub, Room 2300, or at the Center for the Arts (CFA) ticket office. Non-student tickets can be purchased online or in person at the CFA ticket office. 

Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel: American Pianistic Treasures  
Sunday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.   
Center for the Arts 
Welcome back Jeffrey Siegel, a masterful “pianist who literally overflows with music” (Berlin Die Welt), to our stage for his popular series that tells the stories behind the music. In this “concert with commentary,” Siegel introduces the signature sounds of American piano music with beloved works ranging from Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag to George Gershwin’s solo piano transcription of his landmark Rhapsody in Blue. An interactive question-and-answer session will conclude this program. 

An Evening with Norm Lewis 
Sunday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. 
Hylton Performing Arts Center 
Welcome trailblazing Broadway legend Norm Lewis for an unforgettable evening of songs that highlight his career on stage. Lewis made history as the first African American actor to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and earned Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his performance in the Gershwins Porgy and Bess. Don’t miss Norm Lewis perform the hits he helped make famous on Broadway on the Merchant Hall stage. This performance is appropriate for all ages.  

Kristin Chenoweth in Concert: For The Girls 
Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8:30 p.m.  
Center for the Arts 

Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth’s career spans film, television, voiceover, and stage. She has received a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Pushing Daisies; a Tony Award for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; and a Tony nomination for her original role of Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked. In this concert, Chenoweth will sing music from her album For The Girls, a heartfelt tribute to the great female singers throughout history.  

Mike Super: Magic and Illusion 
Sunday, Sept. 25, at 4 p.m. 
Hylton Performing Arts Center 
Mike Super brings his mind-blowing illusions and combined hilarity to the Hylton Center to entertain the whole family. Mike has turned the traditional magic show on its side and dumped it right into the audience—as you become his onstage assistant! Whether he is performing for stage, screen, or in-person, Mike Super transcends the “trick” and connects with his audiences, making this a Hylton Family Series event sure to leave you spellbound. Recommended for ages three and up.