Autumn is officially upon us in Fairfax! The weather is becoming crisp and cool, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes is in the air, and our campus is busy with the routine of college life. This is also a time of year when students may begin to experience heightened levels of stress. Academic-related commitments, combined with personal issues, and world events can be contributors to anxiety and distress. While these types of emotions can be a perfectly natural short-term reaction to events in a person’s life, it is also important to be able to identify “a few common warning signs that may indicate distress or significant emotional concern in a student.” (https://caps.gmu.edu/concerned-about-a-student/) Some of these warning signs include “marked nervousness, agitation, or irritability; inappropriately aggressive or abrasive behavior; excessive procrastination and/or poorly prepared work; apparent depression or lack of energy; marked change in personal hygiene; withdrawal, indecisiveness and/or confusion; comments (written or verbal) that suggest thoughts about harming oneself, or any threats to another person; bizarre, alarming statements, or evidence that a student is engaging in dangerous behavior” (https://caps.gmu.edu/concerned-about-a-student/).
There are several resources available on campus to assist students. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides short-term counseling and learning services that are facilitated by “a staff of licensed clinical psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, learning specialists, and a psychiatrist. Individual and group therapy, workshops, online self-help, and community education programs are designed to enhance students’ personal experience and academic performance.” (https://caps.gmu.edu/) CAPS is located in Student Union Building 1, Suite 3129, and can be reached at 703-993-2380 and at https://caps.gmu.edu/
The Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) offers “educational programming, one-on-one consultations, and resources in the areas of interpersonal violence, personal wellness, and alcohol and drug use.” (https://ssac.gmu.edu/) SSAC also provides outreach to students who are experiencing personal concerns. Referrals to SSAC can be made at https://ssac.gmu.edu/make-a-referral/. Once a referral is made, a member of the SSAC staff will reach out to the student to schedule a meeting to learn about any concerns or issues that the student may be experiencing, and then connect the student to appropriate campus resources. Additionally, SSAC hosts the Patriot Pantry (https://ssac.gmu.edu/patriot-pantry/) for students who may be experiencing food insecurity. SSAC is located in Student Union Building 1, Suite 3200, and can be reached at 703-993-3686 and at https://ssac.gmu.edu/
The George Mason University Department of Police and Public Safety is a resource that is available 24-hours a day, 365-days per year and employs over 50 sworn police officers who provide campus safety, education, outreach and services. Concerns for the immediate safety of a student can be made to 911 or to Mason Police at 703-993-2810. For more information about the Department of Police and Public Safety please review their website at https://police.gmu.edu/
We also encourage all students, faculty, staff and families to become Mason Ready for any emergencies that may occur on campus. We urge everyone in the Mason community, including families, to register for Mason Alerts and the Rave Guardian safety mobile application, administered through the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS). For more information, please review the EHS website (https://ehs.gmu.edu/) and the Mason Ready website (https://ready.gmu.edu/). We will also post important campus information for families on the Mason Families website at https://masonfamily.gmu.edu/
George Mason University is committed to the well-being and success of our students. As a Well-Being University we are dedicated to helping students “build a life of vitality, purpose, resilience, and engagement.” (https://wellbeing.gmu.edu/about/wbu-initiative).
In addition to the resources listed above, we offer many other opportunities to engage, support and inspire students. I encourage you to review the University Life website at https://ulife.gmu.edu/ for information about our units and services.
Please feel free to connect with me for any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org and 703-993-2884. Thank you for the opportunity to serve your students.
In Patriot Pride,
Dean of Students