Mason’s Family Weekend goes virtual with faculty speakers, events and activities

George Mason University’s Family Weekend, usually held for one weekend in the fall, is being held virtually with a series of events, speakers and activities for several weeks in late October and early November.

The Virtual Family Weekend’s schedule of events includes faculty speakers, a virtual cooking class,  a theme week, an evening under the stars sponsored by the Mason Observatory, and meetings with Mason leadership, including a conversation with President Gregory Washington on Friday, Nov. 13.

“This year is unique, in light of the pandemic, so Family Weekend had to adjust and go virtual,” said Rose Pascarell, vice president for University Life. “The weekend is generally an opportunity for parents and family to visit with their student and learn about their academic and campus life. We are offering some interesting and fun events this year.”

Pascarell noted the speaker series, through which families can hear from faculty on relevant topics. Mary Ellen O’Toole, director of the Forensic Science Program in the College of Science, will speak on the topic of “Inside the Real Criminal Minds” on Saturday, Oct. 31.

In addition, Amira Roess, professor of global health and epidemiology in the College of Health and Human Services will discuss coronavirus and her involvement in the response on Nov. 12. Shayna Maskell, assistant professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’  School of Integrative Studies discussed racial injustice in the United States on Friday, Oct. 23.

Families can also meet with Pascarell on Oct. 30 and Provost Mark Ginsberg on Nov. 9. Registration is limited.

“Mason’s Family Weekend has been held since 2003, so it’s a longstanding university-wide tradition,” said Rebecca McCrory, associate director of family programs. “We hope that the events we’ve chosen will help families connect. In this time, we are craving connection, and we wanted to build events that would foster that with students, families and the Mason community.”

Family Weekend is sponsoring a theme week in which families and students are encouraged to dress up and take photos of themselves as #MasonFamily. Students are also encouraged to nominate their family for the Alan and Sally Merten Family of the Year Award. In addition, students are encouraged to fill out a form marking their location on the virtual map to show the geographic diversity of Mason students and their families.

“We hope with the variety of events, there is something of interest for everyone,” said McCrory.