Around Mason: Week of Nov. 14, 2023


Faculty/Staff Announcements  

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Campus Updates

Commuting and Transportation Survey

Help University Sustainability measure Mason’s greenhouse gas levels by answering a short survey about your commute. The survey will help Mason understand how students, faculty, and staff get to and from campus. 

Those who complete the survey by Friday, Nov. 17, may enter an optional raffle for a chance to win a prize. 

Volunteers Needed for Winter Graduation  

Don't miss your opportunity to celebrate Winter Graduation with our graduates, their families, and friends! Faculty and staff volunteers are needed to assist at the ceremonies. Commencement and Degree Celebrations are happening on Thursday, Dec. 14. Sign up for a specific ceremony and time frame on the Winter Graduation volunteer sign up.  

This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with our newest alumni in an upbeat, positive setting full of Mason spirit. Contact University Events with questions.  

Swipe4Change: Help Eliminate Food Insecurity on Campus 

The Swipe4Change event on Tuesday, Nov. 14, is an opportunity to help address food insecurity on Mason’s campuses by collecting and allocating donated guest dining swipes back to students in need.  

Donation stations will be set up throughout campus in dining locations like the Johnson Center, Southside, and Ike’s, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Meal plan holders can donate a guest swipe. Those who do not have meal plans can contribute any dollar amount through Coins4Change at retail locations. 

This event is a collaborative effort between Mason Dining and the Student Support and Advocacy Center, with support from University Sustainability, the Student Public Interest Research Group, and Student Government.  

December Staff Senate Meeting with Rector Blackman 

The December Staff Senate meeting will feature Rector Horace Blackman as guest speaker. Rector Blackman leads the George Mason University Board of Visitors. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, with the general meeting from 10–11 a.m. and the guest speaker from 11 a.m. to noon. 

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. Use the online form to submit a comment or question by Friday, Nov. 17. Live questions will also be accepted, time permitting. 

Parking and Transportation Holiday Donation Drive 

Would you like to help someone in need? Parking Services is hosting its annual holiday donation drive to benefit the Patriot Pantry. Reduce the cost of an outstanding parking citation by donating items at any Parking Services office to benefit the Patriot Pantry by Wednesday, Dec. 13. For important details, visit

Foragers' Forest Groundbreaking Celebration

The Foragers’ Forest is a brand-new site on the Fairfax Campus, launched by a graduate student and faculty in the Environmental Science and Policy Department, with funding from an Amazon grant. It is located near the Aquia Building, along the stream between Aquia Creek Lane and Patriot’s Circle.

Join the groundbreaking celebration on Friday, Nov. 17, at 10:30 a.m. The event will feature a welcome message from Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, dean of the College of Science, a foraging walk looking for wild foods, a wild foods and native seedling giveaway, and light refreshments. Learn more.

Vonage Phone System Implementation Update 

Information Technology Services (ITS) is actively implementing Mason’s new telecommunications system, Vonage, Inc., on the Fairfax Campus. As ITS moves through buildings, impacted users will be notified of how to prepare and what to expect during the change. For more details, including the implementation schedule, visit the Telecom System Replacement Roadmap

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on the SciTech Campus 

The Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center will host the Prince William Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 23. This annual event is the largest turkey trot in Prince William County.  

The Turkey Trot 5k and one-mile Mashed Potato Run/Walk is a fun, family-friendly event in celebration of Thanksgiving Day. The 5k starts at 8:30 a.m., and the one-mile race starts at 9:30 a.m. The races will be on and around the SciTech Campus. 

Wear your best Thanksgiving-themed gear. A DJ will play music at the start/finish line throughout the event. All runners will receive a custom race medal, T-shirt, and bib. A portion of the race proceeds will be donated to the Hero’s Bridge charitable organization. Learn more

Mason Shuttle Changes for Thanksgiving Break

The Thanksgiving holiday will bring changes to the Mason Shuttle schedules. Details are posted on the Mason Shuttles website.

Fan Survey: You Could Win a $100 Gift Card

The university would love to know more about Mason fans and their shopping habits. Your feedback will help influence the presence of Mason merchandise in the marketplace. Complete the survey.  

Survey results will be used for research purposes only. Any answers you provide are completely confidential. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Once you complete the survey, you will automatically be entered to win one of four $100 gift cards to the George Mason University Bookstore. The survey closes Dec. 15.  

Contact David Atkins, executive director, brand development and licensing, with questions.

Gunston, 'Friend of the Libraries,' Is Back! 

Something green is lurking in the George Mason University Libraries . . .   

From 1994 to 2009, the mascot for Mason’s athletic teams was none other than Gunston, a 7-foot-tall, furry green individual in a Mason basketball uniform and a tri-corner hat. He was most often seen at Men’s and Women’s Basketball games. In 2014, Gunston came to live in the University Libraries Special Collections Research Center, where he has lived out a quiet, well-deserved retirement—until now

Training and Professional Development

UndocuAlly Training

The First-Gen+ Center collaborates with UndocuMason, a student organization that creates an inclusive environment for undocumented students through education and advocacy, to provide UndocuAlly Training to the Mason community.   

This training teaches about the history of undocumented communities, past and present legislation, and the lived realities and barriers facing undocumented communities. The UndocuAlly Training team aims to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for undocumented immigrants.   

Upcoming training will be hosted in-person on Friday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Fairfax Campus in Merten Hall, Room 1201. Register

ASPIRE: Inclusive Excellence Professional Development Opportunities

Understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion is crucial for creating an inclusive workplace for faculty and staff. By embracing diverse perspectives and ensuring access to opportunities, faculty and staff promote a sense of belonging within an inclusive learning environment that empowers learners to navigate cultural complexities, cultivate empathy, and develop the necessary skills to thrive in a diverse and interconnected global economy.  

In support of Mason’s broader strategic goals and academic units’ Inclusive Excellence Plans, the ASPIRE learning and development opportunity offers multiple pathways for individuals and teams. Learn more. To schedule professional development for yourself or your team, contact Inclusive Excellence at

Resources for You

Tuesday Treks: Fairfax Campus Connection 

Faculty and staff are invited to embark on a journey of social connection, informal conversation, and enhanced well-being with the Tuesday Treks series! Meet on the Fairfax Campus at the Fenwick Library main entrance on Tuesdays at noon.  

This is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues, share meaningful conversations, and elevate your work-life balance. All abilities are welcome. The Tuesday Treks series is designed to accommodate everyone, so you can move at your own pace and comfort level. Visit the Human Resources website for more information. 

Host Your End of Semester or Holiday Party at the Corner Pocket  

With the end of the fall semester and the holiday season approaching, it is the perfect time to organize a party for your department or organization. Choose the Corner Pocket Game Room, Corner Pocket Patio, or Side Pocket multipurpose space for your next event! 

The Corner Pocket Game Room reservations include unlimited play on all games ranging from billiards, table tennis, arcade games, and more. Add-ons like karaoke or unlimited popcorn are available for your unique event. For more information on how to reserve and for rates, visit Contact Kelly Meehan with questions. 

Handmade Marketplace at The MIX

Stop by The MIX’s Handmade Marketplace in the lower-level atrium of Horizon Hall on the Fairfax Campus on Thursday, Nov. 16, from noon to 5 p.m. 

Browse handmade items made by Mason students, faculty, and staff who are makers, designers, and crafters. Items include unique artwork, knitted and textile creations, custom jewelry, and more. Perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

Upcoming Performances at Mason  

A Chanticleer Christmas  
Saturday, Nov. 25, at 8 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  

A Chanticleer Christmas showcases an inspired and far-ranging repertoire full of new a cappella arrangements of well-known tunes—from Renaissance music to Gospel hymns, Christmas carols to songs from the “Great American Songbook.”  

Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Festive French Fare  
Sunday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.  
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts  

Enjoy a feast of French music in Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Festive French Fare, featuring Debussy’s beloved "Clair de Lune," Ravel’s enchanting Sonatine, Saint-Saëns’ devilish Danse macabre, and two tuneful Novelettes by Poulenc. An interactive question-and-answer session will conclude this program.

A Canadian Brass Christmas  
Sunday, Nov. 26, at 4 p.m.  
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall  

Canadian Brass returns to usher in the holiday season with their winning combination of exuberant sound, good-natured humor, and engaging showmanship. Clad in their iconic white running shoes, the brass quintet performs a repertoire that includes original arrangements and signature takes on classical standards, pop favorites, and traditional holiday music.  

Mason Symphonic Band Concert 
Dewberry School of Music 
Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

The Mason Symphonic Band is an ensemble comprised of music majors and non-music majors from across a myriad of disciplines at Mason. This ensemble performs historical and contemporary works from diverse composers spanning multiple genres and styles. 

Mason Wind Symphony Concert: Enigma 
Dewberry School of Music 
Thursday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

The Mason Wind Symphony concludes the fall portion of the 2023-24 season with Edward Elgar’s beautiful yet mysterious composition, Enigma Variations, transcribed for wind band. The Mason Wind Symphony will complement this work with a premiere of Hilary Purrington’s latest composition, and Florence Price’s Adoration, transcribed for wind band by Sheldon Williams. 

Staged Reading: La Belle Indifference 
Mason School of Theater 
Friday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Johnson Center, Bistro 

A play by April E. Brassard, directed by Nathan Tilley. Free and open to the public. 

Fall: Dance Innovations 
Mason School of Dance 
Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Harris Theatre 

A program of new works created and performed by the Mason Dance Company.  

Mason Opera: An Evening of Gilbert & Sullivan 
Dewberry School of Music 
Friday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. 

SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Gregory Family Theater 
Mason Opera presents An Evening of Gilbert & Sullivan, featuring Trial by Jury and favorite Gilbert and Sullivan scenes from: H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Iolanthe. Enjoy an evening with Mason’s talented vocal students in collaboration with an instrumental chamber ensemble. 

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy: A Celtic Family Christmas 
Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy return to the Center for the Arts for a Celtic experience like no other. In A Celtic Family Christmas, the charming duo invites you and your family into their holiday traditions on Cape Breton Island with charming stories of family, food, and plenty of music.  

Artist-in-Residence: The Legendary Ingramettes 
Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. 
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall 

Celebrate the holidays with one of Virginia’s premier gospel ensembles, The Legendary Ingramettes, as they sing their family favorites. Richmond’s “first family of gospel” was formed six decades ago by “Mama” Maggie Ingram, who found inspiration in Black gospel male quartets of the 1940s and 50s. With her harmonizing singers, Ingram broke new ground with her female-driven quartet.

Mason Symphony and Choirs Holiday Concert 
Dewberry School of Music 
Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

Showcasing Mason’s Symphony Orchestra and Choirs, this evening will feature holiday favorites and festive new works performed by extraordinary student artists. 

December Studio Series 
Mason School of Dance 
Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6 and 8 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

A showcase of new dances created and performed by the Mason Dance Company. 

American Festival Pops Orchestra – Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season 
Friday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (SciTech Campus) 
Saturday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. at the Center for the Arts (Fairfax Campus) 

Gather ‘round for this annual concert that is sure to warm hearts and spread cheer. Now in his second season, Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Wilson welcomes old and new friends to the stage for a festive program of musical favorites, including an uplifting audience singalong of beloved carols.  

Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna 
Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. 
SciTech Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall 

Made up of boy sopranos and altos from ages 8–14, the Vienna Boys Choir transports you to the snowy Alps, where the air smells sweet and twinkling lights brighten the night sky. Their program, Christmas in Vienna, balances a mix of Baroque classics, contemporary popular hits, sacred songs, Austrian folk tunes, polkas, waltzes, and traditional holiday favorites.  

Mariachi Herencia de México: A Mariachi Christmas 
Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. 
Fairfax Campus, Center for the Arts 

Representing a new generation of mariachi artists, Latin GRAMMY-nominated Mariachi Herencia de México is propelling the art and traditions of mariachi music to new heights. For the holidays, the ensemble brings the Latin American tradition of Las Posadas to the Center with songs of the season.