George Mason University

News at Mason

Around Mason: Week of November 12, 2019

November 11, 2019

Faculty/Staff Announcements

Have something to share? Submit an announcement from your unit using the online form.

Deadline is close of business Wednesday for inclusion in the following Tuesday's edition.

Campus Updates

Commonwealth Commuter Choice Increase in 2020

Beginning January 2020, the maximum Commonwealth Commuter Choice benefit will increase by $5 to $270 per month.

Currently, an Executive Order gives full-time state employees in Northern Virginia up to $265 per month to commute by public transit or vanpool. This is a tax-free benefit paid by Mason.

To take advantage of this increase beginning in January, be sure to submit your Commuter Choice Monthly Benefit Request Form by Tuesday, Dec. 10.

To learn more or to enroll in the program, visit the Mason Transportation website. For questions, contact or 703-993-2828.

Thanksgiving Regional Transportation and Mason Shuttles Schedule

Mason offers affordable transportation to regional cities for the Thanksgiving holiday. Destinations include Virginia Beach, Christiansburg, Richmond, Philadelphia, New York, and more.

Buses will leave on Tuesday, Nov. 26, and Wednesday, Nov. 27, and return on Sunday, Dec. 1. Check out the complete list of destinations, departure times, and pickup locations. 

Reminder: Thanksgiving also brings changes to the Mason Shuttle schedules. Details are posted on the Mason Shuttles website.

Questions? Contact 703-993-2828.

Host an International Student for Thanksgiving Dinner

Many international students stay on campus during the Thanksgiving holiday and would love the opportunity to experience this holiday with a local family.

If you would like to host an international student for Thanksgiving dinner, submit your information via this online form.

Additionally, if you know of anyone in the community who might like to participate, feel free to pass along this information!

Contact Cassie Larson, INTO Mason, at 703-993-5435 or with any questions.

Training and Professional Development

Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day: Register Today

Registration is now open for Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day on Dec. 4. This daylong event centers around the theme, “Adaptable, Flexible, Resilient.”

The day features keynote speaker Lauren Cattaneo, associate professor of psychology at Mason, and lunchtime speaker Param Srikantia, professor at Baldwin Wallace University, as well as breakout sessions and events.

For more details and to register, visit the Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day website. The first 100 to register will be entered to win a prize.

Follow us on Twitter @MasonFSED. For questions, contact

Mental Health First Aid in January

Student Health Services is pleased to offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training to members of the university community in January 2020.

MHFA provides participants with basic skills to help someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. MHFA helps you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns. The session covers depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

Register for upcoming training dates:

Direct questions to Katie Clare at

Resources for You

New Ways to Recognize Colleagues

There are many ways to say thank you to your Mason colleagues, and we have new Mason Flair to help you show your appreciation!

  • Canvas tote bags for that “tote-ally terrific” colleague
  • Media cases that hold business cards, tablets, or cell phones to say "Just in 'Case' You Didn’t Get the Message, Your Hard Work is Appreciated!"
  • Green fleece scarves for someone who has “Mason Spirit Wrapped Up”

All of the Mason Flair can be requested on the Human Resources and Payroll website. Questions? Contact

Virginia 529 Recorded Webinar

With the holidays around the corner, it’s a perfect time to think about saving for future higher education expenses for your children, grandchildren, or yourself.

Watch this on-demand Virginia 529 webinar to learn how to:

  • Save for tuition and other college costs such as housing, textbooks, and more
  • Save for private or religious K-12 education
  • Take advantage of tax-free earnings and the Virginia state tax deduction
  • Meet your savings goals

If you have questions, contact

Financial IQ Challenge

See how you score on the Financial IQ challenge! Now through Nov. 31, take this educational challenge to have fun and learn about financial planning. 

The more informed you are, the easier it may be to make financial decisions that are right for you.

Each time you play, you have the chance to win a $100 American Express gift card.

Test your financial savvy here. Contact with questions about the program.

New Mason Brand Products Available from ORCA Coolers

The newest line of Mason gear is now available. Our friends at ORCA Coolers have put together tumblers, hydra water bottles, and their signature travel cooler in our favorite Mason colors!

Check out the Mason gear available on the ORCA Coolers website.