Around Mason: Week of Nov. 21, 2023


Faculty/Staff Announcements

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

Campus Updates

COVID Vaccine Clinic Available on Dec. 6 for Students, Faculty, and Staff

Student Health Services and Employee Health and Well-Being are partnering with Giant Pharmacy to provide the updated (2023/2024) Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine to Mason faculty, staff, and students. The clinic will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Fairfax Campus in the Hub ballroom. Register for an appointment.

Students, faculty, and staff who have not yet received the 2023/2024 updated COVID vaccine are eligible to receive this booster. For more detailed information on eligibility, refer to information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Insurance Coverage
Vaccines are fully covered for students with Aetna Student Health Insurance and faculty/staff with COVA insurance. Updated COVID vaccines are generally covered through private health insurance when given by an in-network provider. Need to find a covered vaccine provider? Those with Kaiser insurance can visit to find vaccination locations.

Adults without health insurance or without full insurance coverage may visit to find a provider who participates with the CDC’s Bridge Access Program to get COVID vaccines at no cost.

Those with other insurance plans should verify coverage before getting vaccinated at this event. Student Health Services and Employee Health and Well-Being cannot guarantee coverage or payment by your insurance company.

Register for the vaccine clinic. This event is first come, first serve, and is only open to Mason students, faculty, and staff.

Contact Jamie Klepek, Employee Health and Well-Being, at 703-993-6001 with questions.

Commuting and Transportation Survey: Deadline Extended 

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.  

The deadline has been extended. Those who complete the survey by Sunday, Dec. 3, 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.

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.  

Parking and Transportation Holiday Donation Drive  

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

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 Shuttles and Parking Permit Updates for End of Semester  

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

Fall shuttle service operates through Friday, Dec. 15, on all routes except the West Campus shuttle and the On-Demand Shuttle: 

  • West Campus Shuttle: The last day of regular fall service on the West Campus shuttle is Friday, Dec. 1. From Monday, Dec. 4, through Wednesday, Dec. 13, there will be modified West Campus service with service every 40 minutes beginning at 7 a.m. The last departure from West Campus will be at 7:40 p.m. 
  • On-Demand Shuttle: Operates weekends only. Last day of fall service is Sunday, Dec. 10. 

Winter Break will bring major changes to the shuttle schedules. Details will be posted soon at  

Parking updates for the end of the semester: 

  • General Resident Lite and Lot M/P permits will be valid in unrestricted spaces in Student General Lots starting Thursday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. 
  • West Campus permits will be valid in unrestricted spaces in Student General Lots starting Thursday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. Contact with questions.

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

Apply for Mason’s Emerging Leaders Supervisor Series

Human Resources is accepting applications for the 2024–25 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Supervisor Series through Nov. 30. This program is designed to support supervisors as they: 

  • Develop a leadership mindset
  • Create and implement a vision for their own leadership and their team
  • Lead a high-performing team
  • Learn tools and strategies to grow their self-awareness, relationships, and communication skills, which will support the above three objectives

Application guidelines and instructions are available on the Human Resources website. Contact Jennifer Beck-Wilson with questions. 

Resources for You

Commuter Choice Benefit Increasing in 2024

Beginning in January 2024, the maximum Commonwealth Commuter Choice benefit at Mason will increase by $15 to $315 per month. Currently, an Executive Order gives full-time state employees in Northern Virginia up to $300 per month to commute by eligible transit or vanpool. This is a tax-free benefit paid by the university.  

To take advantage of this increase beginning with the January benefit, submit your Commuter Choice Monthly Benefit Request by Thursday, Dec. 7. If you are new to the program, please also submit an Enrollment Form. For more information and the forms, visit the Mason Transportation website.

Motor Pool Program 

University departments can rent vehicles and reduce out-of-pocket expenses with the university Motor Pool Program. Motor Pool rentals allow faculty and staff to direct bill their university-sponsored vehicle rentals to their departments.  

Submit a request for your trip through TripDirect and include the desired date, time, departure, return, and type of vehicle you would like, as well as the approved drivers who will operate it. Details are available on the Motor Pool website

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.

Zipcar: Short-Term Car Rental Available on the Fairfax Campus 

Need a car to run errands or pick someone up? Check out Zipcar. Located on the Fairfax Campus, you can rent a car for a short trip or a long one. Cars must be returned to the pickup location. For details, visit the Mason Transporation website.

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.  

Fall: 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.