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Photo by Nicolas Tan/Creative Services



CONTENTS a big little



best of



serve and



gold and



Finding Our Niche


Welcome from the VP


Find Your Team


Green Machine


Going Greek?


Club Sports


Navigating Fairfax


Pilot Your Own Path


Student Deals


UNIV 100


Academic Advising


My Time @ Mason


Dorm Essentials


George’s Birthday


m a s o n ’s b e s t



Follow Us! @gmustudentmedia first of their




from the


F Photo by Lawrence Blomberg

irst and foremost, welcome to Mason! You are getting ready to embark on one of the most exciting and eventful chapters in your life. Here you will have the opportunity to meet new friends from across the world and immerse yourself in all that the campus and surrounding area has to offer in preparation for years to come.

Prior to entering your freshman year, you may feel nervous in the wake of this next chapter of your journey. Yet, no matter where you are coming from, whether it is down the road or across the country, Mason provides the potential to expand your self to new levels. With over 350 registered student organizations, there is sure to be a place where you feel comfortable and can begin your transition to this new life. Mason will provide a unique experience for you during your college years, opening up new avenues of opportunity. From forming lifelong friendships to access to lucrative networking opportunities, this is definitely the place to be. Right now you may feel unease in this transition, but trust me you will soon feel at home at Mason in no time. Anywhere you look during your first year you will find others who are willing to help you in any way. Also, do not feel worried that you need the answer to everything right now. After all, that is what college is about; learning more about yourself and others in this unique environment. As you enjoy your last summer before joining us here at Mason in the fall, I ask that you take the time to read the freshmen stories contained within. We hope that Freshman Focus can help ease your worries and provide a smooth transition to your new chapter here at Mason. Welcome Home, Albert J. Blomberg Class of 2020

2 | Freshman Focus

STAFF Albert J. Blomberg editor - in - chief Alexandra Tubell managing editor

Mimi Albano graphic designer

faculty advisors :

Kathryn Mangus, Director Jason Hartsel, Assistant Director Leslie Steiger, Assistant Director staff writers :

Erin Lynch Emmett Smith Shaun Miller Alex Dzuricky Jacob Shade Amanda Taglieri Josh Feldhousen Risa Enrique Veeraj Modi Wesley Ward Keirsten Robinson Emily Bartenfelder Jordan Burkhardt contributors :

Lottye Lockhart Neary Them Jason Brightman Jasmine Saei Jessica Smith Eleni Burchard Abenaa Asare Alice Agyeman Christopher Andrews Virginia Rose Loew special thanks to :

David Carroll Rose Pascarell Rodger Smith Sean Hickey Alyssa Swaney Creative Services Salvatore Pitino City of Fairfax University Life Offices & Directors u Visit for more exclusive content.




First-person stories about overcoming challenges and finding your place here at Mason.



Staff Writer


Luckily enough, Student Media was hiring and I got the job of Distribution Manager for Mason’s official student newspaper, Fourth Estate (www.gmufourthestate. com). My first shift took 13 hours. I was beyond lost and incredibly frustrated. I was ready to quit then and there, but I had to go on if I ever wanted to be a part of the Mason community. With the support of my friends and coworkers at Student Media, I was getting the hang of this college thing. I am excited to say it now only takes me four hours to deliver to the entire campus! There will be times when it feels like you are too far gone and you will never get back to a familiar path, but keep pushing forward. Blaze your own trail! Ask for help, the Mason community is always there for you! If you ever need directions, don’t be afraid to flag me down in the big, red Student Media cart!


ife is often said to be unpredictable. If you were to have asked me last year where my life would be today it would be something completely different from where I am. And for that I am thankful.

Photo by Lawrence Blomberg

Photo by Jessica Smith


y first day on campus I was lost. I came from a small high school where I knew anyone and everyone. I was involved in clubs and sports and knew exactly where I belonged. At Mason, I was staring at a blank canvas and believe me, I’m no artist. I wanted to make Mason my new home, but a world of opportunity lay ahead of me and I was hesitant to start the next adventure.

The transition to college can often be daunting. Going from an environment that was so familiar to a large campus with thousands of students can be terrifying. This was especially magnified for me as I would not only be attending a school over 30 times the size of my high school, but that was also over 400 miles away in a different state. I knew that college would provide an opportunity to explore my interests and find others who loved the same things. Knowing that I had an interest in journalism, my search for a new club started with Student Media. I decided to attend the Society of Professional Journalists first meeting of the school year and ended up walking out of the meeting as the Events Coordinator! This year has truly been amazing. From meeting new friends and joining new clubs, it has really allowed me to discover more about myself. As I am now preparing to embark on my second year here at Mason I urge you to go out in your first year and try new things in order to find the niche that is perfect for you. Summer /Fall 2017 | 3

a m e ssag e f r o m



Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

ongratulations on your success to this point, and on your admission to Mason. You are already part of this special and wonderful community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Your contributions will be unique, so you will enrich Mason in a way that no one else can. Don’t be afraid to step forward and find your place here. We welcome you!! Whether you are the first in your family to go to college or part of a long tradition of students in your family, we are ready to help you succeed here. There is an initial period of adjustment — finding your way around, getting to know your professors, classmates, roommates, figuring out how to spend your time, coming to see campus as home. This is as it should

be. The unfamiliarity and awkwardness signal the beginning of a new adventure — be courageous and jump in with both feet! The most important thing to remember is this: your choices will define your Mason experience. Be curious and take risks. Don’t stop learning when class ends — the learning opportunities that take place outside of class are equally interesting. Do take advantage of the entire Mason experience so you can discover what you are truly passionate about doing in (and for) the world. There are hundreds of ways to get involved and make your mark! Find the ones that suit your interests and strengths. And if you see me walking across campus (which I do several times daily), stop and let me know how you’re doing. Have fun, stay safe, and welcome to Mason!

ROSE PASCARELL, Vice President, University Life






By texting COLLEGE to 22922, you consent to receive recurring marketing text messages from The Container Store via automated technology to the mobile number provided in accordance with the terms and privacy policy at Consent is not required to purchase goods or services. Periodic messaging, maximum four per month. Text STOP to 22922 to cancel or HELP for help. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Must be 18 or older, or have parent’s permission. Promotion excludes services, TCS Closets, and elfa Sliding doors. Valid only on regularly priced items and cannot be combined with any other discount/sale price. We will ALWAYS give you the better value between two or more offers. ©2017 The Container Store, Inc. 35876

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“Mason in the Fall” BY YASAMIN RAHMATI





Staff Writer

This past fall, I was a brand-new student at Mason. Everyone around me had about a million reasons to tell me why I should be excited for college, but I was scared of a lot of things anyway. And I will not sugarcoat this. I had a rough transition during my first semester. See, I loved high school. By the time I graduated, I had made a home among good friends, wise teachers, successful clubs, a rewarding job, and a sense of belonging. It is not easy to just throw that all aside and start over at a totally new school, leaving me with a lot to absorb. Hopefully you feel prepared coming in, which I did not. But I have a secret to share with you. Even if you are like I was, and you are not, you are still going to love it here. Do you know why? Because you are going to get what you make of yourself here. I know that is a cliché, but let me explain to you what that means.

Photo by Mimi Albano


hen I first stepped onto the George Mason campus, my breath was taken away. The scenery was exquisite and everyone was friendly as could be! However, the first seed of doubt began to creep into my mind. “Are you going to fit in?” “What if you get lost on campus?” “Is Mason going to feel like home?” Being on a campus that is comprised of 34,000 students scared me to death, because I graduated from a tiny private school. Mason almost felt too big for me when I first toured, but I knew that I had to let go of my fears in order to grow into the Patriot I wanted to become.

“I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THE BEST PART OF YOUR FIRST SEMESTER WILL BE THE MOMENT WHEN YOU REALIZE THE BIG CAMPUS YOU MAY HAVE FEARED IS ACTUALLY A LOT SMALLER THAN YOU THOUGHT AND YOU ALREADY HAVE A HOME HERE.” For me, it meant that I took my time to settle into my new home and learn not just the campus but the region as well. I am a very private person yet I recognized how important it was that I not let myself hole up in my dorm all semester. It meant that I looked for friends wherever I could make them. It turns out, that is pretty much anywhere.

You will be invited to a lot of events and activities, especially in the first few weeks of the semester. Go to the club fairs and attend a few meetings. Read the flyers posted on the bulletins in your hallway. Find something that looks interesting, save the date, and follow through with it. You will probably have more free time during your first semester than any following ones, so it is worth a couple of hours of your evening to just check things out. People want to be your friend, so go out there and meet them. The reality is “life is what you make of it” and I took that to heart my freshman year. I now know people all over campus, developed personal friendships with my professors so that I can get the most out of my classes, participated in Model United Nations and have been hired for a position as the club’s Secretariat, and I ended up becoming the co-host of a WGMU Radio talk show. I have also been selected as a Peer Advisor, meaning I will be teaching University 100 classes in the fall semester. In short, I have made good friends, met wise professors, joined successful clubs, had a rewarding job, and a gained sense of belonging here on campus. If you are a nervous freshman, I do not want to undermine your fear. I can, from first-hand experience, validate those feelings you might have. But even better, I can assure you that the best part of your first semester will be the moment when you realize the big campus you may have feared is actually a lot smaller than you thought and that you already have a home here.

Summer /Fall 2017 | 7




Presenting the “Best of Mason” as voted on by students who took part in our 2017 survey.


Photo by Mimi Albano

PLACES TO STUDY Fenwick Library: Calm, clean, and comfortable, the newly renovated library is an incredible place to study and the overwhelming favorite in our survey. It’s open on most days until midnight so you can cram as much as you please. Johnson Center: The top two floors (3 & 4) of the Johnson Center offer comfy, movable chairs, individual study cubicles, and long tables with accessible power outlets for group studying. RUNNERS-UP: • Dorm Rooms • Student Union I (SUB I) • The Ridge

Monuments: Between the Jefferson, Lincoln, and MLK Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the many war memorials, simply walking around downtown Washington, D.C. can make for a fun day of historic sightseeing. When lit up at night, the monuments manage to look even more impressive. Museums: Do yourself a favor and spend a weekend exploring some of the many free museums that make up the Smithsonian (American History, Natural History, Air and Space, National Gallery, and many more). The National Zoo is another free option for those who prefer a walk on the “wild” side. RUNNERS-UP: • Ultra Bar

• Echostage

• Kennedy Ctr.

Fair Oaks Mall & Fair Lakes: Home to many shops, stores, and restaurants, these shopping centers are accessible via the Gunston Go-Bus (free for any student with a Mason ID).

On Metro’s Silver Line! Photos by Mimi Albano

PLACES TO HAVE FUN ON CAMPUS Corner Pocket: A place where the Mason community can gather to relax and have fun, Corner Pocket offers a dozen different games and activities including foosball, billiards, air hockey, corn hole, and arcade games. All games are free or under $5!

RUNNERS-UP: • Campus Events

8 | Freshman Focus


Tyson’s Corner: Tyson’s is a great place to visit if your family is in town or if you’re scrambling to find last-minute holiday gifts.

Dorm Room: Dorms are a cozy (and affordable) hangout; you can listen to music, eat snacks, and invite your friends over to relax in your own space.

Photo courtesy of Creative Services/Alexis Glenn

Photo by Mimi Albano

• Athletic Games

RUNNERS-UP: • University Mall • Fairfax Corner • Old Town Fairfax PLACES TO TAKE A DATE • Fairfax Corner • Washington, D.C. • Mosaic District • De Clieu Coffee • Brion’s Grille • University Mall Theatres • Tyson’s Corner



Aquatic and Fitness Center: For students living in President’s Park, the AFC makes it easy to stay in shape.

#1 - Chick-fil-A (SUB I) #2 - T  he Globe (Mason Global Center) #3 - Panera ( Johnson Center) #4 - P  anda Express (Merten Hall) #5 - Ike’s (President’s Park) RUNNERS-UP: • IndAroma ( Johnson Center) • Manhattan Pizza (Merten Hall) • Southside • Starbucks ( Johnson Center) PLACES TO EAT OFF CAMPUS #1 - Chipotle (coming to Mason in fall 2017!) #2 - Noodles & Company (Old Town Fairfax) #3 - Cava (Mosaic District) #4 - H  alal Guys (University Mall) #5 - Cheesecake Factory (Fair Oaks Mall)

Photo courtesy of Creative Services

PLACES TO WORK ON CAMPUS Mason Recreation: “Committed to enriching the physical and holistic well-being of Mason’s diverse students and community through quality facilities, programs, and services.” Student Media: “Dedicated to providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students who aspire to a career in media production or journalism.” University Bookstore: “Transcending the role of the traditional campus store by delivering an unmatched retail and digital education experience.” RUNNERS-UP: • • • •

Student Involvement: Housing & Residence Life: Student Centers: Mason Dining/Starbucks:

RUNNERS-UP: • FIve Guys (Lee Hwy) • Outback (Twinbrook) • Elevation Burger (Turnpike Shopping Mall) • Brion’s Grill (University Mall)

Photo courtesy of Fourth Estate/Cecil Claire

PLACES TO SEE LIVE MUSIC • EagleBank Arena ( • Jammin’ Java ( • Center for the Arts (

• Epicure Cafe ( • 9:30 Club ( Photo courtesy of Creative Services/Evan Cantwell

• Verizon Center (

Skyline: Not only does it feature a new rock wall, but it also is open until midnight! The RAC: The Recreation and Athletic Complex offers more than just a place to exercise. Invite others over to have a game of basketball, volleyball, racquetball, or squash!

Photo courtesy of Creative Services/Craig Bisacre

CLUBS OR ORGS TO JOIN AS A FRESHMAN Greek Life: Mason boasts over 35 Greek letter organizations with a diverse population of over 1,700 students. Student Media: The home of over 10 unique student-run media groups including Mason’s newspaper, radio station, and TV network. Club Sports: Start your own or choose from over 30 existing teams. RUNNERS-UP: • Roosevelt Institute • Forensics & Debate • Mason Players

Summer /Fall 2017 | 9


www. gmufourthestate .com






As a cadet you have many duties. Shifts are broken into the categories of Traffic Control, Dining Hall, West Lot, and Patrol shifts, as well as special assignments. On traffic shifts cadets direct traffic throughout the campus. During patrol shifts, cadets complete building checks, provide unlocks and provide safety escorts for students and faculty. On dining shifts we are posted at Ike’s and Southside to ensure the safety of students throughout the weekend. Special assignments cover an array of events, including concerts in EagleBank Arena. During these cadets often direct traffic for the event and visitors coming to campus. Appearances by political figures are considered special events as well. A cadet’s duty will typically depend on the event and what is needed for that. Driving is a huge part of the cadet job. We patrol the campus in our vehicles as well as use them for safety escorts. Because the campus is 12 | Freshman Focus

Photo courtesy of Jordan Burkhardt

erving as a cadet during my freshman year definitely changed my perspective and made me realize I want to interact more with the Mason community because the program bridges the gap between officers and students.

“IT DEFINITELY CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE AND MADE ME REALIZE I WANT TO INTERACT MORE WITH THE MASON COMMUNITY.” a highly populated by pedestrians it is important to look for people crossing the street and follow all traffic laws when driving a state-issued vehicle. Training to be a cadet is quite demanding. After being hired, trainees go through about 16 hours of training over one weekend. Then, they have to

complete field shadowing of current cadets to gain experience, as well as pass a map quiz, a manual exam, a traffic practical, and a patrol practical. Once all this is completed a cadet will earn the ranking of Cadet First Class. In addition, cadets must take a training course on motor vehicle and golf cart safety as well as first aid and CPR training. Students can receive valuable knowledge from the cadet program if they utilize it appropriately. Students gain discipline, a strong work ethic, and the ability to communicate with the public. Several shifts last until two in the morning, so cadets must learn to balance school and work. All of the training and work experience gained from being a cadet can help an individual pursue a career in law enforcement. For example, cadets learn how to properly communicate with dispatch. In addition, cadets work closely with the university’s Department of Police and Public Safety. Today there are several officers within Mason’s police department who were once cadets themselves. The networking opportunities from being a cadet are many. Not only

do you work directly with Mason Police but you sometimes interact with Fairfax officers as well. In addition, when you work special assignments you often get to meet the important individuals visiting Mason. For example, several cadets met Joe Biden at the “It’s on Us” sexual assault awareness event held this past April.

Disability Services University Life WHAT IS A DISABILITY? According to the Americans with Disability Act, “An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

While there are many great experiences that come along with serving as a police cadet, one truly stands out to me. My best moment as a cadet was when I was a representative for an Honors College Black Ambition event. We discussed new ways to better the campus and maintain student safety. This really changed my perspective and made me realize that I was in a position that could bring change to our campus.

Some disabilities are invisible. Don't judge people and remember that you don't know exactly what anybody else is going through.


Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services

For anyone considering a career within the law enforcement area or you are just someone who wants to make a difference on campus, I encourage you to look into the Police Cadet Program and see for yourself just how great it is.


1. Psychological 2. ADD/ADHD 3. Learning Disabilities 4. Medical 5. Asperger/Autism 6. Neurological 7. Deaf/HoH 8. Mobility 9. Visual 10. Brain Injury

HOW CAN I BE AN ALLY? People are more than their disability. Don’t assume that you know what their disability is or that you know their identity. Never underestimate them. Physical aids (wheelchairs, service animals) are an extension of a person, treat them as such. Be respectful of everybody and their right for privacy. Remember that language is powerful.

• Established in July 2003. • All cadets are required to complete 102 hours of training designed by experienced members of law enforcement. • Mason cadets are non-sworn officers and do not have powers of arrest. • “Committed to the prevention and control of crime, protection of life, and safeguarding of property through vigilant patrol.” LEARN MORE:

AVAILABLE SERVICES Disability Services also supports faculty and staff in a variety of ways, such as providing consultation regarding student concerns and information about disabilities and their effects. Housing accommodations Meal plan accommodations Academic accommodations Referrals to campus/community resources LEARN MORE AT ODS.GMU.EDU


Photo by Alexis Glann/Creative Services

Photo by Mimi Albano



BUTTERFLY HAVEN • Instead of turning cleared areas into turf, Mason’s Grounds Shop has created wildflower gardens that attract and support bees and butterflies. Look for signs that say “Do Not Mow or Disturb.”

Staff Writer

s an Environmental Science major who loves to garden, interning at the President’s Park Greenhouse (PPG) was the perfect opportunity to gain experience in my field. I applied for the greenhouse internship my second semester at Mason and registered for a one-credit internship course. The President’s Park Greenhouse is unique in that the plants are grown hydroponically, meaning without soil, and all harvests go to Ike’s Dining Hall for students to eat. Three days a week, I came in to sow seeds, prune herbs, and harvest microgreens alongside student volunteers, which made up most of the workforce there. Through this experience, I became knowledgeable in botany, the work that goes into food production, and gained expertise with tools like Excel. In addition to developing workplace skills, I worked with like-minded students who also shared an interest in sustainable food production. It was amazing for us all to see the seeds we sowed just two weeks prior grow into lush flavorful greens at the salad bar! Interning at the greenhouse my freshman year was one of the best choices I made to enrich my learning experience at Mason. Learn more about Mason’s sustainability efforts:

Photo by Claire Cecil/Fourth Estate


SAVE THE BEES • Mason’s Honey Bee Initiative (HBI) was created in 2012. • Mason has a total of 37 hives under its care with a population of between 5K–45K bees. • There are 13 apiaries on campus. LEARN MORE:


• The PPG produces approx. 2K lbs. of fresh produce annually.

• All produce grown in the PPG is sold to Mason Dining (Ike’s, Southside, The Globe, etc).

• Mason has over 30 water refill stations on campus to make it easier to utilize reusable water bottles.



• Harvests include lettuces, herbs, microgreens, and more.

Photo by Alexis Glann/Creative Services

14 | Freshman Focus

Photo courtesy of Office of Sustainability






A rotating climbing wall located in Skyline Fitness Center that provides a full-body workout.



Being a Fitness Attendant is not always what people think we do. Most often patrons see us cleaning the gym equipment or sweeping the floors, but we are actually an essential part

Photo courtesy of Risa Enrique

I was interested in working with Mason Recreation from the time I got to campus. I knew that I did not want a typical “office” job; I needed to be able to move around, speak with others, and have the opportunity to engage with the Mason community. One day while I was exercising at the Aquatic and Fitness Center (AFC), I saw an employee and asked her about Mason Recreation and if there were any ways that I could get involved. After that interaction, I knew that Mason Recreation was the team I wanted to be on. I applied on their website that day, and everything took off from there.

Photo courtesy of Mason Recreation

hen you are surrounded by people who care for you it is easier to enjoy yourself. You surround yourself with likeminded people and everyone strives for a similar goal. At Mason Recreation, we have the goal of creating a multifaceted, enjoyable, and safe environment where patrons may exercise, interact with others, and further develop their well-being.

“ONCE YOU FIND YOUR NICHE YOU BECOME MORE INVOLVED. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKEMINDED PEOPLE AND STRIVE FOR A SIMILAR GOAL” to the way our facilities function. Yes, cleaning and laundry are a part of our duties, but we are also there for the patrons when they are unsure of how to use our equipment. We are also First Aid/CPR/AED certified, so we act as the first responders in the case of an emergency on the fitness floor. Working with Mason Recreation is

MASON RECREATION • 85% of Mason freshmen utilize Recreation’s fitness and aquatic facilities. • Supports over 30 club and intramural sports teams. • Employs over 300 students working 15-20 hours/week. • Student employees can serve as lifeguards, camp counselors, fitness attendants, personal trainers, and more. LEARN MORE: such a fun experience, especially if you love interacting with people. It gives you the opportunity to speak with those you wouldn’t otherwise see, as well as see your friends working out. Our facilities also have convenient locations near each neighborhood on campus so wherever you live, there is a facility close by to work in or work out! Summer /Fall 2017 | 15

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Photo courtesy of Creative Services

WESLEY WARD Staff Writer


be a part of it. Contrary to what some may believe, not everyone in the band is a music major. Finding your place in college can be a little overwhelming, especially when coming into the largest public university in Virginia. But the Green Machine is like a family and they love bringing in new members because they recognize that the only way we can grow as a whole is to continuously seek new perspectives. That is just one of the ways we earned our title of ‘Number One College Pep Band in the NCAA’. So, if you are ready to join a family of wild, school-spirited, goal-driven students, and maybe learn a thing or two about your musical talents, consider the Green Machine — ONLY at George Mason University!

#1 COLLEGE PEP BAND IN THE USA! Mason’s Green Machine was named the top pep band in the nation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2015. Watch them in action:


Summer /Fall 2017 | 17

Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services

The best part about Green Machine, in my opinion at least, is that anyone can

Photo courtesy Wesley Ward


was not sure what to expect out of my first Green Machine rehearsal. Every video depicted a band of outrageous excitement and awesome music, but unbeknownst to me, I was about to get on a roller coaster that would become the highlight of my entire year. Rehearsals aren’t your typical night of running through sheet after sheet of music — they’re filled with laughs, jokes, dance moves, and even screaming to get everyone hype for a run through of our show! These are things that I believe sets the Green Machine apart from other college bands — we’re comprised of people who are looking to make friends through good times and great music.




Staff Writer, Zeta Tau Alpha Sister

Staff Writer, Pi Delta Psi Brother

Some of you might already be looking forward to recruitment this fall and I promise you, you are going to absolutely love Greek life! Mason’s Panhellenic community is always active and there is always something happening on campus. From philanthropy events from all chapters, to Homecoming mixers and the tailgate, and even Greek Week, there is always something to take part in. Going Greek was not something I would have ever expected to enjoy, but I love it nonetheless. I have a sisterhood of 133 women who support me every day, make me laugh, and most importantly, they make me want to be a better woman. 18 | Freshman Focus

C Photo courtesy of Erin Lynch


efore coming to Mason I never saw myself as a sorority woman. I heard the stereotypes and I had simply written it off as a possibility for me. Many of you might feel the same way that I did and for that I entirely understand. But, Greek life at Mason is different. It is inclusive, kind, welcoming, and supportive. Going Greek was a spur of the moment decision for me last fall when I registered for formal recruitment less than a week prior, and it’s the best decision I have made at Mason so far.

oming out of high school I knew I wanted to join Greek life, I just was not sure which one or how to even join one. The first couple of weeks of this school year I looked around and found one I really fit in with — Pi Delta Psi. The brothers valued the same things I did and were very welcoming. They really made me feel at home when I was in such unfamiliar territory. After joining the fraternity, my life changed so much. I grew a lot as a person and developed a set of valuable skills, from leadership to being more grateful. With this, I have become someone better than I was my entire life. Not only that, but becoming a brother has challenged me to break out of my shell and shatter my previous limits. This is an experience that I would not trade for anything. My first year of college was filled with so many great memories, and Greek life has contributed to it more than anything else I have done so far. I hope that others can find something that will change their life in such a positive way that becoming a brother has done for me and maybe even join Greek life themselves!

Photo courtesy of Shaun Miller

Photo by Craig Bisacre/Creative Services

The Hub, Suite 2300 | 703.993.2909


Student Involvement

We help students GetConnected to Mason Nation through campuswide events, student organizations, trainings, student advocacy, and personal interactions to bring ideas to fruition, create a sense of belonging, and prepare students for success in their future.

Let’s Be Social MasonInvolvement MasonPatriots MasonPatriots

REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS Joining one (or more) of the 350+ student organizations can be one of the best ways to build your experience at Mason! If you don’t see an organization that interests you, you can start your own!

STUDENT GOVERNMENT Student Government represents students and advocates on behalf of the student body. SG provides leadership opportunities for students to work with university administration to create change on campus.

TEDXGEORGEMASONU A division of TED made for selfstarters who want to execute their own conference and present “Ideas worth Spreading”. This organization’s primary goal is to present the brilliant minds that have compelling ideas on how to better our world.


With over 1,800+ students involved in more than 35 national and international fraternities and sororities, they set high academic standards and provide opportunities for campus involvement, networking, and leadership development.


The student programming board works to bring fun events to the campus community! PAC ignites school spirit by hosting DIY activities, concerts, carnivals, and so much more!


The Well-Being Team contributes toward a well-being culture on campus through programming and peer-led workshops that allow all members of the Mason community to thrive!


We’re providing opportunities for students living off-campus to engage in university life at Mason! Our goal is to create connections to resources, organizations, and other members of the off-campus community.

SI AT THE CFA Student Involvement partners with the Center for the Arts to provide performances that the student body will be sure to enjoy! Who do you want to see throughout the year?


We strive to keep students involved outside of their academic work, and one of our favorite things to do is watch movies! Every month we will be providing FREE movie showings on and off-campus!


Resources Promoting the success, health, and well-being of LGBTQ students and their allies

Building a campus climate of safety, equity, inclusion, and respect

Fall Events: - Coming Out Week - LGBTQ History Month - Transgender Day of Remembrance - Safe Zone LGBTQ Ally Training

Spring Events: - Pride Week - Lavender & WGST Graduation - Transgender Day of Visibility - Safe Zone LGBTQ Ally Training Twitter: @LGBTQMason Instagram: @gmu_lgbtq

SUB I Room 2200 703-993-2702 MSN 6C7

s p ot l i g h t :



During the first week of school, I went to the “Rockin’ with Rec” event, where most of the sport clubs had tables set up to meet new students. The people at the Ultimate desk seemed down to earth and I decided it would be a good idea to go out to one of their practices. I ended up joining the club and it was one of the best decisions I have made! In college, it can be stressful with the increased workload. I have found playing Ultimate to be a nice way to unwind and just have fun with my teammates. Since joining the team in the fall semester, I have made connections with people that I will maintain throughout my whole time at Mason. This was the easiest way for me to get to know new people here on campus. The individual and team goals that I have set in Ultimate encourages me to improve myself in other areas of my life. Each step of progress that I see both on and off the field motivates me to develop myself more. As a Computer Science major, the coursework can be exhausting at times. Ultimate has allowed me to stay on track and has positively influenced my college experience.

GET ACTIVE with CLUB SPORTS Photo by Sean Hickey/Mason Recreation

ven before arriving at Mason, I knew I wanted to participate in a club sport. In high school I ran track, played football, and was on an ultimate frisbee team (Ultimate). It just would not feel right to not participate in one of these while in college and I was lucky enough to find a place for me to fulfill my needs on campus.



• Baseball

• Archery

• Ice Hockey

• Crew

• Rugby

• Equestrian

• Badminton

• Basketball • Lacrosse

• Cycling

• Soccer

• Fencing

•F  ield Hockey

• Ultimate

• Football

• Volleyball

•P  ower Lifting

WOMEN’S • Basketball • Lacrosse • Rugby

• Soccer

• Softball

• Ultimate

• Volleyball

• Quidditch • Running

• Ski & Snowboard • Swimming

• Tae Kwon Do • Tennis

• Trap & Skeet • Triathlon

• Underwater Hockey

WANT TO START A NEW CLUB? Interested in taking part in Club Sports when you come to campus? Remember to bring your equipment with you when you move in — some clubs start practicing the first week of the semester! Don’t see the club you are interested in? Visit our website and set up a meeting with us to help get a new club started! Email us at to set up a meeting. Photo by Sean Hickey/Mason Recreation

Summer /Fall 2017 | 21


rom Welcome2Mason in the fall to Mason Day in the spring, something exciting is always happening on campus! We’ve collected some of the most popular events here, but always be on the lookout for the next big thing to happen at Mason.



AUG/SEPT 2017 — Mason offers a wide variety of events

and activities for students to meet their fellow Patriots and get involved with clubs and organizations. What used to be a single week of welcome events now runs throughout the entire first month of classes to allow more students to experience all Mason has to offer!


oCtoBER familY Weekend mason madness

NoVEMBER gold rUsh

DECEMBER de-stress fest george mason’s birthdaY

spring MARCh health and fitness eXpo

APRIL earth Week greek Week mason takes over kings dominion lgbtQ pride Week



APRIL 2018 — Mason Day has been held every spring


(twice per semester)

(once per semester)

for over 50 years and has evolved into a major celebration where students, families, faculty, and community members come together for live music, carnival rides and games, food trucks, and lots of free giveaways. Student Involvement hosts the festival in Lot L next to EagleBank Arena in late April.



APRIL 2018 — Travel around the world without leaving campus!



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ur t es y

of C

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t iv


er v


The annual iWeek parade kicks off a celebration of all the cultures that make Mason a vibrant and diverse place to live and study. Enjoy sport tournaments, food tastings, trivia, dance competitions, and more.



FEB 2018 — There may be snow on the ground, but

nothing can stop the Mason Patriots from leaving it all on the court. Homecoming is much more than just the big basketball game! Festivities include a parade, block parties, spirit competitions, laser tag, Mason Majesty, and more. One thing’s for sure: the cold can’t stop our Patriot Pride! 23


FAIRFAX PARKING TIPS ▶ Leave plenty of time to park and walk to class (especially during the first few weeks). ▶ At all times every car parked on campus needs a parking or visitors pass. ▶ There is free parallel parking off Roberts Road across from Potomac residence hall. ▶ When friends or family visit for the weekend, get discounted parking by filling out the Resident Student Guest Weekend Validation Form on ▶ The George Mason University Rideshare Facebook page is one of the easiest ways to find rides going out of town. ▶ Mason has special reserved spaces and discounted passes for students car pooling.

RIDING THE BUS The Mason Shuttle Service, CUE Bus, and Mason to Metro Shuttle are all free with your Mason ID and offer access to endless attractions around Mason. They can all seem a little intimidating at first, but a month in and you will be a pro! Visit to see when the next shuttle is arriving. These busses go to University Mall, Fair Lakes Center, Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax Corner, Old Town Fairfax, Science and Technology Campus, and the Vienna Metro. So get out there and explore because the Fairfax community and Washington, D. C. metro area have a lot to offer.

▶ Tuesdays and Thursdays (including the evenings) are the busiest days on campus. ▶ Parking lots are enforced all year round, including the 1st week of classes and even when classes are not in session.

RIDING THE METRO While it isn’t free, it’s still a great way to get around downtown Washington, D.C. Take the Mason Shuttle or drive to the Vienna/Fairfax station. Be sure to purchase a reloadable SmartTrip card for easy riding. There is a charge to park at the aboveground Metro stations during the week, but parking is free on weekends and federal holidays. Reprinted from Freshman Focus 2016

24 | Freshman Focus


Judic ial Dr ive 2


Historic Fairfax County Courthouse

Page A




Chain Bridge Road





43 39


10 8




12 3 14 4 11


15 1

Sager Avenue





North Street


Old Town Plaza



e Stre

Old Town Square





City of Fairfax Library

1 Mile to George Mason University

South Street


Old Town Hall



24 23

Courthouse Plaza Shopping Center


25 22

L East Street

ea iteh Wh

Main Street


Old Fairfax Jail

Fairfax County Courthouse

West Street 1

O Main Street






Evening & Weekend Public Parking Only

Public Parking

Bike Rack

Bus Stop



28 26



Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center

Main Street Marketplace


30 31 34 32 33


Dine Downtown! Walk, bike, take the CUE bus or park for free!




University Drive


d 1

Roa 2

i H ee ld



ay gh w


ge 1


d Bri


Map courtesy of City of Fairfax

3 bus stops FINISH 5-minute bike ride 15-minute walk

23. Puente De Oro Intl 24. Safeway 25. Tokyo Grill

36. Asian Bistro 37. Bollywood Bistro 38. French Quarter Brasserie 39. Pampasazone Latin Cuisine

Old Town Plaza

26. Coyote Grille 27. King Kabob 28. Main Street Bagel Deli 29. Noodles & Company 30. Paisano’s Pizza

UPDATED May 26, 2017

40. Panera 41. Potbelly 42. The Greene Turtle 43. The Wine House

31. Qdoba 32. Smoothie King 33. Starbucks 34. Subway 35. Sushi Prince

Main Street Marketplace

20. China Garden 21. Jersey Mike’s Subs 22. Pizza Hut

Courthouse Plaza

1. 21 Great American Bistro 10. Havabite Eatery 2. Auld Shebeen 11. Le Mediterranean Bistro 3. Bellisimo 12. Natalie’s Baguette 4. Caribbean Corner 13. Red Hot & Blue 5. Courtside Thai 14. Sisters Thai 6. Choices 15. Smash'd Creamery 7. De Clieu Coffee & Sandwiches 16. The Old Fire Station #3 8. Eastwind Vietnamese 17. Victoria’s Cakery, Inc Restaurant and Noodle House 18. Villa Mozart 9. Hard Times Cafe 19. Woody’s Ice Cream


Less than one mile from George Mason University!


Downtown Fairfax Dining Guide


1 G

2 G

1 G

2 G








1 G

2 G

1 G


2 G


12:02pm 12:13pm




1 G

2 G

1 G






2 G

2 G


1 G


12:49pm 12:52pm


1 G

2 G



1 G

1 G






2 G

2 G

1 G










Rappahannock River Parking Deck

er Lane

12:45pm 12:58pm 1:01pm

1:29pm 1:39pm


2:03pm 2:09pm








All CUE buses are wheel-chair accessible. Specialized transportation services for individuals who are unable to use the CUE Bus because of a disability are provided by CITY WHEELS (703-385-7859; TTY 711) and METRO ACCESS (301-562-5360; TTY 301-588-7535). For more information, visit our website at

Service for Persons with Disabilities

FREE for all Mason students, faculty and staff presenting a proper Mason ID. $1.75 for non-Mason students and affiliates.








Find out where you are and where you need to go. Stay connected with the MOBILE MASON app. Visit

Shorten your CUE Bus wait time by using NextBus for real-time arrival info. Download for free on IOS or Android or visit








University Dr & Main St 11:06am


Chain Bridge Rd & Main St


Merten Hall






MASON 11:00am 11:13am 11:14am 11:17am 11:31am 11:47am 11:48am 11:52am 12:08pm 12:19pm 12:19pm 12:25pm 12:39pm 12:53pm 12:55pm 12:58pm 1:24pm 1:26pm 1:33pm 1:47pm 1:58pm 2:03pm 2:04pm

University Dr & Main St

Chain Bridge Rd & Main St 10:54am


Campus to Fairfax Downtown CUE Bus Weekday Midday Schedules

nock Riv


12 3



an Rappah


PARKING & TRANSPORTATION Share a ride, bike, or take the shuttle for a greener commute to campus.

Share a  ride,  bike,  or   take  the  shuttle  for  a  g* reener   commute  t*o  703.993.2828 campus.   Parking and Transportation * Parking and Transportation * transportation.gmu. edu *


Parking – TSome toYHelp Get You Sta  Parking   101  –101  Some   ips  to  HTips elp  Get   ou  Started  

• Parking lots  fill  lots up  fast.   llow   extra  Allow time,  especially   the  first   few  weeks  the of  class   to  ffew ind  a  weeks space.     of class to fi  Parking fillAup fast. extra time, especially first • Tuesdays   and  Thursdays   (including  t(including he  evenings)  athe re  the   busiest  days   o n  cthe ampus.      Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings) are busiest days on campus. Carpool to campus and park in a carpool zone. The carpool zones are available at 6am-11am • On   the  busiest  o f  days,  it  is  recommended  that  those  arriving  to  campus  later  in  the  morning   o campus and park in a carpool zone. The carpool zones are available at 6am-11am on Mon – Fri to anyone with a General Parking Permit, more info at:  On itHisouse,   recommended that those arriving park   in  bthe ack  obusiest f  Lot  K  o r  of at  days, the  Field   a  15  minute  walk   to  the   Johnson   Center,  to as  tcampus he  lots   later in the Fri to anyone with a General Parking Permit, more info at:   in back Lot or at the Field House, minute the 1Johnson Center on  epark ast  campus   will  oof ften   fill.  KAlso,   don’t   forget   that   general  a lot  15 permits   are  vwalk alid  o n  to Levels   -­‐2 of  Ron appahannock   River  Pwill arking   Deck  fill. (but  Also, not  in  tdon’t he  visitor   area).  that   Student Carpool Program east campus often forget general lot permits are valid on • Parking  permits  are  required  to  park  in  any  lot  o n  Mason  property.     Join a carpool and save up to 40% on the parking permit. of Rappahannock River Parking Deck (but not in the visitor area). • Always  read  the  signs  to  know  if  a  lot  or  area  is  restricted  to  a  certain  type  of  permit.  Do  not   Find out more info at  Parking permits are required to park in anyand   lotadministrative   on Mason property. park   in  reserved,   service/repair,   state  vehicle,   faculty/staff   spaces.     rpool and save up to 40% on the parking permit. • Parking   lots  are   enforced   all  year  to round,   including   the   week  iso f  restricted classes  and  eto ven  awcertain hen    Always read the signs know if a lot or1st   area type of perm more info atZimride Have a car? Need a ride? Zimride is Mason’s private rideshare network. Sign up for free with classes  are  not  in  session.  Don’t  believe  the  myths  and  rumors  about  a  grace  period.     park in reserved, service/repair, state vehicle, faculty/staff and administrative spa your Mason email address and password at The service will match you • Check  the  parking  website  for  the  latest  information  regarding  hours  o f   with others who are traveling the same way that you are.    Parkingand   lots areimportant   enforced allayear round, 1stwweek of classes and even enforcement   o ther   news   ffecting   parking  including o n  campus  athe nd  even   hen  classes   are   ar? Need a ride? Zimride is Mason’s private rideshare network. Sign up for free with not  iclasses n  session.  are   not in session. Don’t believe the myths and rumors about a grace period Zipcar on email address andMason password at service willthematch parking   available  in   Mason  Pond,   Shenandoah,  and  Rappahannock   River   Parking   Need a car? has six Zipcar vehicles on campus whichThe can be rented by hour oryou day. • Visitor    Check theis  parking website for the latest information regarding h Decks  as  well  as  metered  lots,  including  $4/day  at  the  Field  House  and  $2/day  at  West  Campus   rs who are Sign traveling the same way that are.will receive $35 in free driving credit. Gas and up at, new you members enforcement and other important news affecting parking on campus and even whe lot(online  permit  only).   insurance are included in the rental rate. not in • Pay  are attention   to  ysession. our  Mason  email  as  students  are  often  emailed  about  temporary  l ot  closures.   Also,   check   f or  updates   n  events  Pond, and  construction.      Visitor parking is available inoMason Shenandoah, and Rappahannock River P ar? Mason has four Zipcar vehicles on campus which can be rented by the hour or • Information   about  permit  sales  and  online  citation  appeals  and  payment  options  is  available   Decks as well as metered lots, including $3/day at the Field House. n up at, newparking members willcampus, receive in free driving credit. Gas online.     Mason has over 1300 bike spots on bike$35 pumps, fix-it stations and is a “Bicycle To find out more about bicycling  Paycontact   attention toServices   your Mason email as students areWoften emailed • Always   ance are included in theFriendly rental University”. rate. Parking   if  you  have   questions   o r  concerns!   e’re  located   in  the  about temporary l to campus and to see a map of all facilities, please visit Parking   Services  Also, building   next o  the  Shenandoah  Parking   eck.     closures. check for Dupdates on events and construction. You   c an   a lso   c all   u s   a t   7 03-­‐993-­‐2710   o r   e mail   u s   a t   p     Bicycle Registration  Information about permit sales and online citation appeals and payment options is Register your bicycle at and receive a free U-lock, registration   online. sticker, and coupons to bike shops.   Fairfax-SciTech as over 1300  Always contactCampus Parking Shuttle Services if you have questions or concerns! We’re located i   bike parking spots on campus, bike pumps, fix-it stations The SciTech Campus shuttle runs seven days a week between the Fairfax and SciTech Bicycle Friendly University”. To find out more about bicycling Parking Services building nextevery to the Shenandoah Parking campuses. On Mon-Thu, the shuttle runs thirty minutes during the day. Deck. The shuttle s and to see a map of all facilities, please visit also You stopscan at Manassas Mall. also call us at 703-993-2710 or email us at Visit for updated shuttle schedules and to learn more about green transportation options which save you money and help lower CO2 emissions. Schedule Registration  

CARPOOL ZONES in Lot A and Rappahannock Parking Deck,Level Level 11 OOL ZONES in Lot A and Rappahannock Parking Deck,

nt Carpool Program





your bicycleDownload at andapp   receive a free the  RideSystems   which  can   also  bU-lock, e  found  oregistration n  the  Mobile  Mason  app  or  go  to   nd   to bike shops. to  get  real  time  information  on  Mason  Shuttles.    

TTLES & RAIL The shuttle runs between Sandy Creek Transit Center and Rappahannock River Ln on the Sandy Creek to Metro Shuttle

Fairfax andshuttle Vienna Metro station, and including stops at Fairfax Circle green (at Lee Highway & for Campus updated schedules to learn more about Circle Woods Drive). money and help lower CO2 emissions. ation options which save you Schedule 6:00am – 11:00pm Monday – Thursday  

d the RideSystems app which can also be found on the Mobile Mason app or go to 6:00am – 12:00am Friday to–get real time information on Mason Shuttles. 8:00am 12:00am Saturday/Sunday   Global Center to Metro Shuttle

The shuttle runs between Mason Global Center, Rappahannock River Ln, Fairfax Circle (at Lee Hwy & Circle Woods Drive) and Vienna Metro.

to Metro Shuttle

le runs between Fairfax Campus and Vienna Metro station. On the weekend, the Schedule so stops at 7:15am Mason– 11:30pm Townhouses Chain Bridge Road & West St.) and Fairfax Circle Monday(at – Thursday 7:10am-8:30pm ighway & Circle Woods Friday Drive).

Burke Centre VRE Express – FREE GARAGE PARKING e The shuttle runs between Burke Centre VRE train station and Sandy Creek shuttle stop on the – 11:00pm Fairfax Monday – Thursday Campus. The shuttle only runs when the VRE train is in service. Free garage parking – 12:00am isFriday available at the train station. – 12:00am Schedule Saturday – 11:00pm 7:10am Sunday – 11:30am Monday – Friday 2:45pm – 10:50pm

Monday – Friday

Express West Campus Shuttle

le runs between Rappahannock River Ln, Fairfax Circle (at Lee Hwy Circle Woods The shuttle runs between West Campus, Field House, Rappahannock River&Lane, Presidents d Vienna Metro. Check forminutes. changes related to MetroSafe repairs. Park, and the RAC. Departures every 15

Schedule e 7:00am – 12:00am Monday – Friday – 10:35pm No Monday Service – onThursday Saturday Service on2:00pm Friday– 12:00am Sunday


le runs between Burke Centre VRE train station and Sandy Creek shuttle stop on the ampus. The shuttle only runs when the VRE train is in service. Free garage parking ble at the train station.


6:25am – 11:40pm Monday – Friday 8:00am – 7:00pm Saturday – Sunday

SciTechGo-Bus Campus Gunston’s

Shuttle (formerly Prince William Campus)

The Gunston’s Go-Bus picks upshuttle at Sandyruns Creekseven shuttle stop service from The SciTech Campus daysand a provides week between the Fairfax and S Fairfax campus toOn University Mall, Fair Center, Fair Oaks Mall, Top Road, campuses. Mon-Thu, theLakes shuttle runs every thirtyRidge minutes during the day. The Fairfax Corner, and Old Town Fairfax.

also stops at Manassas Mall.

Schedule Schedule Mason Route 6:40am – 11:00pm MondayMonday – Frday – 6:55am – 10:15pm 3:05pm – 11:00pm Saturday – Sunday

8:00am – 7:00pm

Friday Saturday – Sunday

George Route 3:00pm – 11:00pm Monday – Sunday

Gunston’s Go-Bus

The Gunston’s Go-Bus picks up at Sandy Creek shuttle stop and provides service Ridge Top

Metro Rail

Fairfax campus University Mall, Fair Lakes Center, Fair The Oaks Mall, The closest Metro stop to in Fairfax is Vienna Metro station on the Orange Line. Orange Fairfax Corner, and Old Town Fairfax.DC and connects to the Silver Line that Line also goes to various locations in Washington, serves Reston, Tysons Corner, and East Falls Church. Schedule Mason Route 6:40am – 9:45pm Monday – Friday Metro Rail Map: 3:00pm – 9:45pm Saturday – Sunday

To visit the Arlington campus, take the Orange Line to Virginia Sq-GMU Metro station.


AllGeorge City of Fairfax CUE Buses are FREE with Mason ID. The CUE Bus picks up on Route Fairfax campus at Rappahannock River Lane and can take you to various places in Fairfax 3:00pm – 9:00pm Monday – Sunday with all routes winding up at the Vienna Metro Station:

Metro Rail

The closest Metro stop in Fairfax is Vienna Metro station on the Orange Line. The Line also to various locations in Washington, DC. To visit the Arlington cam        @goes MasonShuttles   the Orange Line to Virginia Sq-GMU Metro station.        @MasonParking     Mason   Parking  &  Transportation   Metro Rail Map: * 703.993.2828

NEW Silver Line on Metro Rail

The Silver Line is a new metroRail line in Northern Virginia and connects Reston, Corner, and other stops to the East Falls Church stop on the Orange Line.

CUE Bus | 703.993.2828 | All City of Fairfax CUE Buses are FREE with Mason ID. The CUE Bus picks u

Fairfax campus at Rappahannock River Lane and can take you to various places


p i l ot Yo U r




Project Peak is a two-phase Outdoor Extended Orientation offered to first-year Mason students. Learn more:



y mind raced as I looked at the email I had just received e morning from George Mason r, as the lots n Levels 1-2University. I had been on roughly six or eight visits to the college, and mit. Do not had firmly decided that it was the aces. only school for me. But what would n when d. I see when I clicked the link? With hours of en classes a surge of determination, I clicked Parking the link, and saw the confirmation: I was accepted. After 12 years of being lot homeschooled, I was going to college!

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, Tysons

up on s in

You read that right; up until college, I had been homeschooled and I would soon learn that the transition to college would have unique challenges for me. I am quite a social person, so I decided to try to join as many organizations on campus as I could. Since my high school did not have many opportunities for extracurricular activities, this was the best chance to really explore everything a campus had to offer. As a Communication major with an interest in journalism, the first group I joined was the Society of Professional Journalists, or SPJ. With weekly meetings featuring guest journalists from different organizations, SPJ showed me that college was about

Mason has many resources available to help freshman make a successful transition to college life:

Photo courtesy of Josh Feldhousen

s available


“COLLEGE IS A FANTASTIC TIME TO EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS AND HOBBIES, OR EVEN DISCOVER NEW ONES.” more than just a non-stop trek through homework; clubs are a perfect way to unwind after a stressful day or week crammed with exams. Additionally, during my second semester I started volunteering at the Mason Innovation eXchange, or MIX. Essentially it’s a Makerspace with 3D printers, sewing machines, soldering

• Center for Academic Advising, Retention, & Transitions ( • UNIV 100 Program ( • Student Support & Advocacy Center (

irons, Virtual Reality headsets, and much more to let Mason students create whatever they can imagine for free. Besides the fact that 3-D printers are amazing, the staff at the MIX have become some of my closest friends, and I most likely wouldn’t have made those connections without it. Of course, my path was very specifically tailored to my interests, and you will most likely find yourself joining entirely different groups. College is a fantastic time to explore your interests and hobbies, or even discover new ones, and clubs are some of the best ways for you to pilot your own path. Summer /Fall 2017 | 29

grab these




or many incoming students, college is the first time they are out

on their own. For some this means paying their own bills, buying their own food, or even paying for their tuition. No matter what

your situation is, there are many ways for college students to save some money on their purchases while at Mason.

LOCAL DISCOUNTS Many local stores and restaurants offer

a student discount (with valid ID) even if they are not explicitly advertised, so it doesn’t hurt to ask! There are also a number of businesses in Fairfax

that accept Mason Money and offer



discounts. Here is a partial list:

All Mason students are eligible for a

Many stores at Fair Oaks Mall offer

• Chuy’s Tex-Mex: Free queso & chips for students

Times and on-campus students receive

15%, so be sure to bring your student

free online subscription to The New York access to HBO GO. You can also

download the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite with your MasonLive email

student discounts ranging from 10-

ID next time you hit the mall! Check out these stores for student deals:

• Paisano’s Pizza: Special Mason prices • The Green Turtle: 15% off

edu to explore available topics).

• Express • PacSun • J. Crew • Ann Taylor • Banana Republic




Students that have proof of college or

The Student Involvement office in

Students are eligible to receive 15%

a half-price monthly membership to

students with a valid Mason ID every

booked at least three days in advance.

address.’s library of online

training modules is also free for Mason faculty and students (visit lynda.gmu.

university enrollment are eligible for streaming services like Apple Music

and Spotify. It is quick and easy to sign up for either service and you provide

proof of enrollment by verifying your MasonLive email.

30 | Freshman Focus

• American Eagle • Forever 21 • Francesca’s • Alex and Ani • Art of Shaving

• Cinema Arts Theatres: Student tickets are $9.50 every day (only $6.50 on College Tuesdays!)

The Hub offers free movie tickets to

week. University Mall Theatres is just a short walk from campus (located across from EagleBank Arena on

Braddock Rd.) and a perfect way to relax without breaking the bank.

• Twins Ace Hardware: $7 off purchases over $35

• University Mall Theatres: $3 tickets • Zaytoon Pizzeria: 20% off

off their Amtrak fares when trips are Whether you’re traveling back and

forth between home and school, going on a weekend getaway, or to a fun

destination for Spring Break, Amtrak has you covered.

uusss mppu oonn--ccaam


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When orientation rolled around, a student co-facilitator, also known as a Peer Advisor for the University 100 course, introduced the students, myself included, to some of the topics that would be discussed in class. After seeing the variety of topics and the interaction style of the class, I immediately signed up. Over the duration of the semester, bonds were formed among the students because we were not just

Photo courtesy of Emily Bartenfelder

However, questions such as ‘will my roommate and I get along?’ ‘what classes should I take?’ and ‘what clubs are on campus?’ all rushed through my mind and it was instantly overwhelming. I began to search for answers anywhere I could find them. Everywhere I looked, I kept coming across one particular answer for my worries: University 100 (UNIV 100). This one-credit course described itself as the college success and need-toknow course for freshmen.

Photo courtesy of UNIV 100


hen I formally received my acceptance to Mason, I could not believe that I had actually settled on a university to attend.


classmates — we were students who had made it through the first semester together and had shared in the ups and downs of leaving home and adjusting to college life. Even now, as I am about to enter my sophomore year, I stay in contact with those in my class who welcomed me into their friend group and made my freshman year at Mason memorable.

• Academic success

My experience as a University 100 student was one that brought so much positivity to my life. Having these memories to share and experiences to show, I decided that I wanted to stay with this program and also help incoming freshmen have the best first year. I applied to be a Peer Advisor and in the fall of 2017, I will no longer be a student, but rather a co-facilitator in my own section of University 100.

• Campus Involvement

• Adjusting to college • Stress management & wellness • Study skills & note taking • Major & career exploration • Time & money management • Alcohol & drug education • Introduction to campus resources • Communication Skills • Diversity Awareness

LEARN MORE: As the fall semester nears, I hope to bring my future students as much positivity to their lives and aid them in finding their path here at Mason just like the individuals who guided me throughout my first semester. Summer /Fall 2017 | 33

first of their


Data shows that approximately 33% of Mason’s undergraduate students are considered first-generation.



Staff Writer

Staff Writer

From an introvert in middle school, I transitioned into an extrovert in college as I interacted with other first-generation students like myself. My yearning to make my parents proud and to be able to stand up on my own two feet continues to give me the strength to work harder. My experiences helped me build courage to challenge the norms. I could’ve never imagined that I would be interning with an information technology corporation during my first semester of college, but I made that happen. I chose to go to the career fair, which many freshmen don’t do, and it ended up rewarding me. My experiences as a first-generation college student has taught me that there is no elevator to success, you must take the stairs. I hope to pass on to other students the message that opportunity doesn’t come every day, so when it does come, grab it! Don’t let fear restrain you from breaking boundaries and going above and beyond to achieve your goals. 34 | Freshman Focus

s a first-generation college student, the most honest advice I could give is to follow your passion. If your heart’s not in it, don’t do it. Be yourself. You may as well fail at trying to do something you love than fail at something you don’t even care about. After changing my major three times, I found my passion in Civil Engineering and my dream is to dedicate my life to helping vulnerable communities around the world by increasing access to clean water. Many of you might not know what you want to do, but it’s okay. I didn’t know either. If you don’t know what it is, then explore. You might change your mind along the way and that’s perfectly normal! How do you know you picked the right major? Your major shouldn’t make you feel trapped or stuck. It should be the thing that makes you feel free like you can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything. Find that inspiration and follow it. Your passion is the truest compass you’ll ever have.

Photo courtesy of Gia Ha

As a child, I grew up watching my friends’ parents being able to afford items that I could only dream about. My parents taught me an important lesson, which was to always look at the bright side, and be happy with what you have. My parents were, and still are, my biggest support system and continue to teach me to be humble.

A Photo courtesy of Veeraj Modi


y parents brought me to the United States because they wanted me to have the opportunities that they never had. I remind myself every day that I have reached this far in life solely because of the blood, sweat, and determination that my parents put into raising me. In my journey as a first-generation college student, I have learned that it is critical to keep a strong relationship with your parents. While growing up with only one working parent, I observed and ingrained in myself the meaning of hard work.

ta k e a dva n ta g e o f




cademic advisors are one of the best resources offered on campus, yet very few students take advantage of this valuable resource. Whenever it is close to course selection time for the next semester, students are bound to find their inbox filled with “Go See Your Advisor” emails and may even see that phrase written in sidewalk chalk across campus. As someone who has done just that on multiple occasions, I highly recommend that my peers heed those emails and reminders and set up an advising appointment. Most advisors go beyond the call of duty to help their students with everything from course selection, major declaration (or change), and long-term academic planning. During my freshman year at Mason, I met with my advisors at least twice

each semester and they helped me declare a major and make a course map of my next three years here at Mason. There is an advising department for each major and general advising is available at the Center for Academic Advising and Retention (CAART). Students struggling to pursue a specific major can visit any of the advisors in different departments in order to learn more about a major, minor, or concentration. Advisors can help you map out the courses you must complete in order to graduate and advise you on the paths you can take to best achieve your goals and ultimately pursue your desired career path. But don’t take my word for it — here is what students told Freshman Focus when we asked about the benefits of academic advising. u

“My advisor, Dr. Hurley, is absolutely amazing. He has helped me get through the tough times, registering for classes and even tutoring me for exams when my professor couldn’t follow through. He is in the Psychology Department for undergraduates and I am so lucky to have him!” — Selena Janelle Winston, Psychology “I went into my appointment with a lot of questions, came out with all of them answered and even had answers to questions that I didn’t even know I needed to ask!” — Stephanie Trejo, Integrative Studies “I saw the advisors take their time and put effort in with each student. They went through my worries and questions one by one and I utilized their walk-in hours often. They also were very understanding and did not make me feel judged at all since I was having trouble deciding on a major and picking appropriate classes. Their suggestions were very helpful.” — Stephen Buchanan, Global Affairs

Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services

36 | Freshman Focus

Reprinted from Freshman Focus 2016




Learn practical skills and prepare for a career while studying what you love! •Wide variety of classes •Committed teachers •Simple requirements •Abundant relationships

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Contact the History undergraduate office (703)993-1249


STUDENT ACCOUNTS Communication Policy The Student Accounts Office communicates with students via their Mason email address. Students are required to activate their Mason email account and check it regularly. Electronic Billing Balances are accessible electronically through the Bill and Payment System. Paper invoices are not mailed. Semester ebills are sent electronically to students and authorized users. Authorized Users Students may set up authorized users in the Bill and Payment System for access to the student account. Authorized users will receive ebill notices, be able to review account activity, and make payments. Please visit our website for the guide to set up an authorized user to the Bill and Payment System. Registration Policies and Class Drop Deadlines Classes will not be canceled for nonpayment or nonattendance. Please visit studentaccounts.gmu. edu for penalty deadlines. Students are responsible for confirming the withdrawal of any classes by the published liability deadlines. 703.993.2484

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Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center offers FREE STUDENT TICKETS to more than 100 PERFORMANCES.

Full-time Mason students are eligible to get free tickets for music, dance, opera, theater and more. CFA.GMU.EDU/STUDENTS HYLTONCENTER.ORG/STUDENTS Center for the Arts, Fairfax Campus • Hylton Performing Arts Center, Science and Technology Campus •


MY TIME @ MASON r e f l e c t i o n s f r o m t h e c l a s s o f 2017

“I’ll certainly remember the friends who were there the whole time. The friends that assured me everything would be ok, the ones who spent late nights (and then early mornings) studying with me, and the ones who made me laugh and cry and smile through it all. Although some friends have parted ways, I won’t forget the moments I shared with them and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.”

ABENAA ASARE Integrative Studies



“I would say the diversity of people here. I have met people from all sorts of backgrounds and everyone is a different ethnicity, religion, or nationality. There is not one way to describe the demographics of Mason, and I truly appreciate the diversity.”


“The best thing about Mason is its close proximity to Washington, D.C. It allows its students to obtain internships within the federal government which allows for job security and acts as a resume booster.”



“My best experience at Mason is being able to be a part of the school of Integrative Studies community. The department allowed me to explore different aspects of my interest through different modes, it also allowed for me to expand my worldview while growing my passion for humanitarianism.”

“The best experience I have had at Mason was during my freshman year when I lived on campus. I was able to get heavily involved in a lot of organizations on campus and with Washington, D.C. in close proximity I enjoyed being able to spend weekends in the city with my friends to de-stress.”


“The best thing about Mason has been the diverse community on campus. Through the community I have been able to make friends from all over the world, and learn so much about different cultures. It has truly opened my eyes to what else is out there in the world.”

Integrative Studies

VIRGINIA ROSE LOEW Elementary Education

“The best thing about Mason is the different types of people and cultures in the classroom and through events and clubs on campus.”

Summer /Fall 2016 | 39




Alumni, Class of 2017

Alumni, Class of 2017

I declared my major in Communication and immediately felt welcomed by my professors. They challenged me, encouraged me, and even when we disagreed they were kind enough to listen to my point of view. Between classes, I became part of two a cappella groups on campus, competed in a pageant, joined a community service based organization, and found my dream job right here on campus. My classes were also a huge part of shaping who I am now — and not just the three credit courses. During my sophomore year, I started taking one credit classes that were just in things I was interested in. Those classes landed me a rotational show at WGMU, Mason’s student-run radio station, as well as a chance to get involved with Student Media. With these opportunities, I was introduced to the best job I have ever had — and now walk away knowing what I want to do after I graduate! 40 | Freshman Focus

t is hard for me to sum up in so few words what my time at George Mason University has meant to me. As a 26-year-old entering Mason, it might be because I did not have the privilege of going to college right out of high school and have the “traditional college experience.” Yet, looking back now I think it allowed me to take nothing for granted. After attending orientation, I immediately knew I had to get involved. I signed up for COMM 148: Radio Workshop I with Rodger Smith and started down the path toward my desired career — sports broadcaster. After learning the ropes, I quickly moved up in terms of my experience and applied to be the Sports Program Director the following year. I cannot explain how hyped I was when I learned I had received the job! I began working with our Sports Media Director, who has since become a close friend, with an office and a chance to really showcase my work and expand my resume. Along with that, I have also been a play-by-play analyst for the women’s basketball team and men’s baseball team, and have served as a sales team representative with the Student Media office. With that, I urge you to get involved! There is so much to do that will build your resume in your field it would be a grave mistake not to. Seek out opportunities and you will not regret it!

Photo by Mimi Albano

I Photo by Mimi Albano


ason changed me, not because I felt like I was in a competition with anyone, but because the people I met and friends I made here helped to make me a better person. When I first got to Mason, I was stepping away from my dreams of being a Music major because I felt the need to branch out. Even though I had no clue what I was doing, when I got to my classes, and specifically the communication courses, I realized that I was surprisingly beginning to enjoy learning again.

Alumni and Seniors take a look back at their Mason careers.



“Study Abroad was an eye-opening trip. The program allowed me to experience introspection and understand the world on a global scale. I’ve grown a lot and I plan to return to South Korea after graduation.” — AYDAN RASULOVA, YONSEI UNIVERSITY EXCHANGE PROGRAM

JESSICA SMITH Senior, Graduating Fall 2017


Photo by Leslie Steiger

am a Senior and as I stand on the cusp of the end of my collegiate experience and the start of the rest of my adult life, there is not a single thing I truly regret. As I prepare for my departure from Mason, I offer the best advice to the next generation of Patriots that my experience has given me. First, don’t rush to finish. Go to basketball games, go to a free movie, attend a public speaking event on campus, and don’t be afraid to try a new club just to try it. If you need to take an extra semester to finish your degree or study abroad or take part in an internship or fellowship program, then do it. Now is the time and five years from now, it will not matter if you took two or six years to complete your degree. I was always a “rusher”. I got my Associates Degree before I graduated high school and I will finish my Bachelor’s Degree at Mason in five semesters. During the race, I felt accomplished. Now

at the end, I feel like I robbed myself of nearly two years of both the college experience and adulthood practice. That brings me to my second point; it is totally normal for you to feel unprepared. You are ridiculously strong and have the capacity and supporting resources to tackle nearly everything life throws at you. The important thing is that you trust in your own strength and capabilities and reach out for help when you need it. There is no shame in needing help, only in failing to ask for it when necessary. Finally, learn how to be yourself and use your time at Mason to establish who you are. It is easy to live by the expectations of others with their clearly defined goals and measures of success. The mark of a functional adult is their ability to blaze their own trail and define both their own happiness and success. As I set off, with a degree in Global Affairs: Human Security and a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, I wish you the best of luck and pray that your time at Mason is even more defining and empowering than mine was. Summer /Fall 2017 | 41


ESSENTIALS Photo by Kira Walls




While all residence halls have both heating and A.C., most freshman halls operate on a twopipe system, which means when Mason turns on the heat the heat stays on until the spring. Bring a personal fan to help make your room more comfortable for you and help ease any temperature disagreements you might face with a roommate. Alternatively, bring an extra blanket just in case it gets chilly before the heat is switched on. A fan also really helps drown out community noise when you are trying to sleep at night!

This is especially important if you are an out of state student, the winter can strike as early as October and NOVA weather is known to be unpredictable. Rather than worry about freezing and being unable to make an extra trip home to get your winter essentials, throw in a coat, some gloves, and a good hat so you can fend off the cold without having to bring your entire winter wardrobe in August. Try to make the bulk of the season change around Thanksgiving, it will save you time when heading home at the end of the fall semester.

The best way to keep your space as open and fresh as possible is to have an easily accessible laundry basket to contain all your dirty clothes until laundry day. Nothing makes a room less inviting than dirty underwear on the floor. Keep your space beautiful and your roommates happy by using a laundry basket and not the floor.

DISH SOAP & SPONGE While the dining halls take care of the clean-up there, when you are craving a hot pocket or some ramen late night in your room you are bound to dirty a few dishes. Rather than have them rot on your desk or the floor and gross out your roommate, take out your handy dish soap and sponge and give everything a quick rinse in the bathroom sink or community kitchen. Your roommates (and your immune system) will thank you! 42 | Freshman Focus

POSTERS & PHOTOS There is no doubt that an empty room can feel a lot like an asylum. The best way to make a space your own is to fill it with YOU. Put up pictures of your friends and family. Put up posters of your favorite shows. Hang tapestries to make your walls less bare, but make sure you talk to your RA about getting them fire treated, so you don’t get a Health and Safety Violation!


Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services




ach December, Student Media hosts Happy Birthday, George!, a fun and educational event held to honor our university namesake’s legacy and ideas and de-stress with friends and faculty before the start of fall finals. Mason’s birthday bash includes raffle prizes, live music, cake, guest speakers, and more.

GEORGE MASON December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792 Known to history as the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” George Mason was an American Patriot and is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights that was later used as a model for the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known today as the Bill of Rights. As an advocate for individual liberty, one of Mason’s most important contributions was that of the freedom of speech.

George Mason, who famously refused to sign the U.S. Constitution because it lacked strong protections for specific individual freedoms, served in Virginia’s House of Burgesses and was a neighbor of George Washington (Mason’s Gunston Hall is located just a few miles down the Potomac River from Washington’s Mount Vernon). Among his many contributions to American democracy is the drafting of the Virginia Declaration of Rights that later served as a template for the U.S. Constitution’s first ten amendments. George’s unwavering commitment to personal liberty earned him the nickname “Father of the Bill of Rights,” and helped secure the “five freedoms” guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment (religion, speech, press, assembly, and redress of grievances). Those very freedoms that George Mason fought for so passionately are critical to the work of Student Media today — most notably the freedom of speech and of the press. As the home of Mason’s official student newspaper, radio station, television network, magazines, and literary journals, Student Media invites all Mason students, faculty, and staff to celebrate these now-inalienable rights with us at Happy Birthday, George! We hope you’ll join us in 2017 as George turns 292! u Visit to learn more about getting involved.

“The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, one of our greatest men, and of the first order of greatness.” — Thomas Jefferson April 3, 1825 Photos by Mimi Albano

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in print, online, and over the air through Mason’s student-run newspaper, television network, radio station, and literary journals. Reporter, designer, DJ, photographer, and news anchor are just a few of the exciting roles you can explore by getting involved at Student Media.

WE OFFER ACADEMIC CREDIT: COMM 145 (Newspaper I) COMM 345 (Newspaper II) COMM 347 (Cable TV) COMM 148 (Radio I) COMM 348 (Radio II)

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Freshman Focus 2017  

George Mason University's only campus magazine for freshmen, by freshmen.

Freshman Focus 2017  

George Mason University's only campus magazine for freshmen, by freshmen.