Family Weekend

Family Weekend 2017

Family Weekend: October 13-15, 2023

Engage with us during Family Weekend, our annual university-wide celebration, that takes place each fall. Events are designed to allow you to spend time with your student, explore campus and the surrounding areas, and learn more about life as a Mason Patriot.

If you have questions, email or call (703) 993-2475.

Schedule of Events

Friday, October 13, 2023
Event TitleLocation Time (ET) Description Virtual Option Available Additional Cost?
Family Weekend Check-InJohnson Center, Dewberry Lobby11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.Check-in and get your Family Weekend Pass to enjoy all the events of the weekend!NoN/A
Family Weekend Welcome Dewberry Hall 3:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Join us for the official kick-off welcome for the 2023 Family Weekend!!NoNo
Faculty Spotlight Dewberry Hall 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Engage with Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole who served as an FBI agent for nearly 28 years. For more than half of that time, she worked in the Bureau’s prestigious Behavioral Analysis Unit, which is the unit featured in the hit TV series, Criminal Minds.NoNo
Faculty SpotlightDewberry Hall4:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Professor Mary (Missy) Cummings was one of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots. Her research interests include the application of artificial intelligence in safety-critical systems, assured autonomy, human-systems engineering, and the ethical and social impact of technology. She is a Professor in the George Mason University College of Engineering and Computing and is the director of the Mason Autonomy and Robotics Center (MARC). She is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow, and recently served as the senior safety advisor to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.No
Faculty SpotlightDewberry Hall5:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.Dr. Daigo Shishika is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University. His work with other faculty and students currently centers creating lighter-than-air autonomous balloons – “blimps” – that operate with remote control. Students will be present to showcase these blimps following the lecture.
October Super Smash Bros, Table Tennis, and Corn Hole TournamentThe HUB (Corner Pocket)4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Join us for a night full of fun tournaments of Super Smash Bros, Table Tennis, and Corn Hole for opportunities to win prizes! NoNo
Women’s VolleyballRecreation Athletic Complex (RAC) 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Support the Women’s Volleyball team as they take on Loyola University Chicago No No
Mind-Bending Stories with Ruth JoffreFenwick Library (2nd Floor Reading Room) 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Join us for our 25th Annual Fall for the Book event by listening & learning from author Ruth Joffre. No No
Shabbat Dinner Johnson Center, Bistro 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Join Mason Hillel and Mason Chabad for Shabbat Services and Dinner!No No
Mason Madness Eagle Bank Arena7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.Make EagleBank Arena rock by kicking off our Basketball season with opportunities to win prizes!No
Fairfax Library Foundation Presents: A Life in Books & Film: Nick HornbyStacy C. Sherwood Center, 3740 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Nick Hornby’s award winning books and screenplays have thrilled readers and movie goers for over twenty-five years. From About a Boy to the cult-classic High Fidelity to Fever Pitch, his novels and memoirs have made their way to the silver screen and television. Hornby’s career has spanned genres with his trademark blend of humor and unsentimental emotion, including his Oscar-nominated screenplays for Brooklyn and An Education, and Emmy-winning work on the short form series State of the Union. His newest book, Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius, is a warm, and entertaining reflection on art, creativity, and the unlikely similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and modern American rock star Prince. Hornby, in conversation with writer Stephen Goodwin, will discuss his remarkable career and the power of art in this thoughtful and entertaining conversation.NoNo; Register for a FREE ticket here
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Event TitleLocation Time (ET) Description Virtual Option Available Additional Cost?
Family Weekend Check-InHUB 3rd floor8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.If you didn’t checkin Friday, check-in Saturday and get your Family Weekend Wristband to enjoy all the events of the weekend!NoN/A
Mason Nation Thriving Together 5KPatriot Circle8:00am-11:00amInterested in running our annual 5K to help fundraise for a special cause here at Mason? Sign up and participate in the Mason Nation Thriving Together 5K.YesYes. You can
register here
Mason Observa-TOUR-yShenandoah Parking Deck Roof and Research Hall11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.Experience the partial solar eclipse with the College of Science. Peak time of when the moon will block the most sunlight will be at 2pm. There will also be tours of Mason’s Observatory happening in Research Hall across the street!NoNo
Great Falls Hike HUB 3rd Floord 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Buses to leave promptly at 8:45
Join us and Outdoor Adventures for a beautiful fall hike at the incredible Great Falls. Hike along the Potomac with your family and enjoy some beautiful views along with it. NoYes ($25/ per person)
Historic Fairfax Bus TourHUB 3rd floor8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Buses to leave promptly at 8:45
Join us for our historic Fairfax Bus Tour led by a historical tour guide to the Fairfax Historic Courthouse, Fairfax Museum, and Historic Blenheim Estate! Group will be split into separate rotating timed tours.NoYes ($25/ per person)
Gunston Hall TourHUB 3rd floor8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Buses to leave promptly at 8:45
Go visit George Mason’s historical home, Gunston Hall. Learn about the history of our namesake and enjoy the property in the peak of fall.NoYes ($25/ per person)
Fairfax Fall Festival Downtown Fairfax10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.Enjoy the Fairfax City Fall Festival and stop by the New Student and Family Programs tent for some goodies and enjoy vendors from all over Northern VirginiaNo No
Craft Hour- Design Your Own Dog MaskDowntown Fairfax, Old Town Hall 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Author Joan Waites will take you on a magical quest with Bo, the fluffy black dog, as he eagerly explores the New Mexico desert alongside his owner, Georgia O’Keeffe. Unbeknownst to Bo, a clever lizard watches his every move as he sets off to find vibrant flowers in the seemingly barren desert. Could the desert hold hidden treasures that will become the subjects of Georgia’s breathtaking paintings? Immerse yourself in their enchanting journey as you decorate a wearable Bo dog mask, and find inspiration in unexpected places.NoNo
Success Coaching: Patriot Families Edition The HUB; Meeting Rooms 3,4,5 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Join Student Success Coaching to learn how to support your students, direct them to mason resources, and participate in a mock coaching experience. Participants will leave with an honorary Success Coach certificate! NoNo
Craft Hour- Decorate an áo DàiDowntown Fairfax, Old Town Hall 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.Decorate your own áo dài, make butterflies, and enjoy a yummy treat at this fun and crafty event with Hanh Bui, author of The Yellow Áo Dài.NoNo
Mason Family- Blood Drive with iNova HUB 3rd floor 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. You don’t have to be a doctor to save a life. Donate blood during the course of our Mason Families Give Back program. Schedule an appointment ahead of time by going to No
Start Your Own Graphic Novel Series Downtown Fairfax, Old Town Hall (Downstairs)12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Jonathan Roth, creator of the Rover and Speck graphic novel series, takes kids aged 6-11 on a ride through creating their own characters and putting them in their own graphic novels.NoNo
Making Comics with Laura LeeDowntown Fairfax, Old Town Hall (Downstairs)1:00 p.m.-2:00p.m.Draw along as Laura Lee Gulledge demonstrates her creative process by drawing live an original character + building a story world co-created on the spot with participants. Plus, learn how to tell your own short comic stories in a mini comic zine format. NoNo
Mason Families Give Back
The HUB (Various Locations)
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Give back to the Mason community by participating in a variety of service activities hosted by campus and community partners!YesN/A
Women’s VolleyballRecreation Athletic Complex (RAC) 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Support the Women’s Volleyball team as they take on Loyola University ChicagoNo No
Carter School Family Feud The HUB; Meeting Rooms 3,4,52:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Join the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution for a fun afternoon of Family Feud! Prizes and food will be provided. NoNo
Pickleball with Mason Recreation The RAC 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Join Mason Recreation for an evening of Pickleball. Snacks provided!NoNo
Mason’s Got Talent: Student Performance Showcase HUB Ballroom
5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Enjoy an evening full of live performances from Mason students!NoYes
Men’s Soccer George Mason Stadium 7:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. Support the Men’s Soccer team as they take on University of DaytonNo Yes (Special Family Weekend price at $5 a person) – Purchase Here
The George Mason Friends Present: Breaking the Mold with Marlon James Johnson Center, Cinema 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Marlon James has won high praise for his Dark Star Trilogy – which Entertainment Weekly describes as “drenched in African myth and folklore.” Now James is back with the second installment, Moon Witch, Spider King, which flips the story on its head, retelling it from the Moon Witch’s perspective – a tale that’s “part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man.”No No;Register for a FREE ticket here
Mason by Moonlight Johnson Center, South Plaza7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.Experience Mason under the stars with an assortment of activities hosted by the College of Engineering and Computing and College of Visual and Performing Arts.NoNo
Jazz4Justice: Celebrating the Legacy of Anthony MaielloCenter for the Arts8 p.m. – 10 p.m.In our 22nd annual Jazz4Justice we will team up with Legal Services of Northern Virginia to continue our mutual mission to do good in the community. We are honored to have Distinguished Professor of Music Anthony Maiello as our special guest conductor. We will also perform several of Professor Maiello’s arrangements for Jazz Ensemble including “The George Mason Shuffle.”

Proceeds from the evening benefit LSNV to continue its mission of service to the Northern Virginia community as well as providing financial support for the Mason Jazz Studies department for scholarships, trips, recordings and student projects.
NoStudent tickets are free
Click here to purchase additional tickets
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Event TitleLocation Time (ET) Description Virtual Option Available Additional Cost?
Stay Connected: Breakfast and BingoThe HUB Ballroom10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.Enjoy breakfast on your final day of Family Weekend with opportunities to win prizes and learn how to stay involved in the Mason community post Family Weekend.NoYes ($20/ per person)
Women’s Soccer George Mason University Stadium 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Support the George Mason Women’s Soccer team as they take on The George Washington University No
Yes (Special Family Weekend price at $5 a person) – Purchase Here

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Family Weekend?

Since 2003, Mason has welcomed students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, families and chosen families, and supporters to campus for Family Weekend. At Mason, we believe family is made up of many different people – parents, siblings, cousins, roommates, classmates, best friends, significant others, children, and more. Family Weekend is an opportunity to come together to connect, have fun, celebrate, and make new memories, which is why our schedule includes events for people of all ages. Family Weekend features several events that showcase the best of Mason and all it has to offer, including a signature athletic event, faculty spotlights, student performances, bus tours, service opportunities, and much more! 

When is Family Weekend?

Family Weekend is October 13-15, 2023. Events begin Friday afternoon, so make plans to arrive early so you don’t miss out on the fun! 


How much does it cost to participate in Family Weekend?

We have different price points for adults, children (ages 5-12), children (ages 4 and under), and Mason students. Adults cost $30, Children (ages 5-12) cost $10, and children (ages 4 and under) & Mason Students are FREE.  

What does the cost include?
  • Entrance to all indicated (no-additional fee) on-campus Family Weekend activities (excludes Mason on Location area tours) 
  • Access to the 3 recreation facilities on the Fairfax campus, including group fitness classes! 
  • Free parking on the Fairfax campus for the weekend 
  • Family Weekend T-Shirt for ALL participants
  • A Family Weekend Mug (1 per family)
  • Discounts at select on-campus dining locations and select locations in downtown Fairfax 
  • Discounted tickets at the Center for the Arts and Hylton Performing Arts Center 
  • Special discounts at the University Bookstore on the Fairfax campus 
How much does it cost to participate in the Mason on Location area tours?

Four Mason on Location area tours will be offered – three tours on Saturday, October 14. Tours cost $25 per person. All tours depart at the same time.  

Are Walk-Ins available for the Mason on Location area bus tours?

Yes! When you check in for the family weekend (on either Friday evening or Saturday morning), ask our staff if there are open spots for any of the tours and if you can be put on a waitlist. If a spot is or becomes available for you, we will be able to take Visa and Mastercard payments on-site.


How do I register for Family Weekend?

Registration opens on Monday, July 10, and closes on Friday, August 25 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Only Visa and MasterCard are accepted. You can register using the following site: Please note that the Mason on Location area tours fill up quickly and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Do I have to pay for my Mason student to attend Family Weekend events?

The on-campus Family Weekend activities are free for Mason students, but they must register online in advance. You are also able to register them in your own registration by adding a “Mason Student Ticket” to your cart. If they want to attend a Mason on Location area tour, there is a cost.  

I am a Mason faculty/staff member. How do I register for Family Weekend?

Mason faculty/staff tickets can be purchased through the Mason Family Connection. Visit, scroll to the bottom of the page, click “Are you faculty? Log in here” and sign in with your Mason credentials. For detailed pricing information, please review the FAQs above.

Will I be able to make changes to my Family Weekend registration once submitted?

Yes! You can log back in any time before Family Weekend registration closes on Friday, August 25 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time to make changes to your registration. Once registration closes, you will no longer be able to make changes to your registration. Please note that Family Weekend fees are non-refundable. 

Are refunds available?

All Family Weekend fees are non-refundable.  

Can I show up and register for Family Weekend on site? 

Yes! We will be completing walk-in registrations and can accept Visa or Mastercard payments. 

I may need an accommodation (i.e. dietary, mobility, etc.) while on campus during Family Weekend. What is the best way to submit this request?

There is an accommodation question on the Family Weekend registration form. Please mark the type of accommodation you are requesting, provide specific details in the open text box, and we will do our best to meet your needs. 

Visiting Campus

Where can I find information about COVID protocols?

All campus visitors are expected to follow the University’s public health and safety precautions and guidelines, as outlined on our Safe Return to Campus website at Before arriving on campus, complete your status check with Mason COVID Health✓™

Where can I find directions and a map of the Fairfax campus?

There are multiple ways to get to the Fairfax campus. Visit for directions, entrance locations, and a campus map. 

When should I plan to arrive and depart campus for Family Weekend?

We encourage you to arrive on Friday so you can enjoy the many welcome events planned for that day. Events are scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so we invite you to stay for the entire weekend! If you need overnight accommodations, take advantage of the discounted rates offered by our Marriott partner hotels in Fairfax by visiting

Where should I park?

Lot K and the Rappahannock Parking Deck will be available to park in throughout the weekend. We will have staff and signage on-site to direct you. A parking pass is required, which you can download and print here! You must print it and display it on your vehicle’s front dashboard throughout the weekend. You also have the option to park in the other parking decks on campus at your own expense. 

GMU is growing and construction is happening in and around our Fairfax campus. Keep up with the latest traffic news by following @MasonParking on Twitter or visiting

Where should I stay in the area?

If you need overnight accommodations, take advantage of the discounted rates offered by our Marriott partner hotels in Fairfax by visiting

When can I check in for Family Weekend?

Check-In opens on Friday, October 13 at 11:00 a.m. in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall Lobby and will remain open until 7:00 p.m. Check-In will reopen on Saturday, October 14 at 8 a.m. in the HUB 3rd Floor. Your Mason student may pick up your registration materials at any point during the Check-In period. 

What if my family cannot come to Family Weekend until Saturday?

Check-In will reopen at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 14 in the HUB 3rd Floor. Your Mason student may pick up your family’s registration materials for you at any point during the Check-In period. 

Can my student attend Family Weekend events even if our family cannot attend?

Yes! All Mason students are welcome to attend Family Weekend events regardless of if their family is registered to attend. The on-campus Family Weekend activities are free for Mason students, but they must register online. If they want to attend a Mason on Location area tour, there is a cost. 

Is Walk-In Registration Available?

Yes! If you and your family wish to attend Family Weekend but are not registered, we will be opening on-site walk-in registration during both our check-in times (Friday afternoon and Saturday morning). We accept Visa and Mastercard payments.


Are there attendance limits for Family Weekend events?

Yes, some of our on-campus activities and Mason on Location area tours will be limited. If a program you’re interested in attending reaches fall capacity, a waitlist will be established on-site in which you will be able to indicate your interest. Additionally, view our activity guides on our Mason Family Website to see what else there is to do in the area.

What is event pre-registration and how do I know if my family pre-registered for something?

When your party was registered for Family Weekend, you were able to purchase tickets to events until they hit capacity. The list of events you are pre-registered for can be found in your confirmation email/receipt. If you pre-registered for an event such as Mason’s Got Talent, Mason By Moonlight, or Breakfast and Bingo, that simply means that you and your family are guaranteed admission. All other events are open events for you and your family to enjoy.

What if I did not pre-register for an event? Can I still attend?

If your family is not pre-registered for an event, you may still show up. Those present who were able to pre-register will be admitted first and everyone else will be placed on a waitlist as our staff manages event capacity. You are not guaranteed admission for an event that you did not pre-register for, as the waitlist admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We will take payment on-site for these events.

Are there events that don’t have pre-registration?

Yes! All events that do not indicate an additional ticket purchase are open and do not require you to pre-register.

When should I arrive for Mason Madness?

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. at EagleBank Arena, and Mason Madness will begin at 7 p.m. 

What is the Tailgate Parking Pass?

The Mason Madness Tailgate is free to attend. However, if you and your family would like to reserve a parking spot at the tailgate where you can set up a grill, yard games, and other tailgate items, you can purchase a Tailgate Parking Pass here. They will be $10 in advance and $20 on the day of. Note- this is NOT the Family Weekend Parking Pass (See “Where Should I Park?” above).

Where can I find information about EagleBank Arena policies?

EagleBank Arena is committed to the well-being of fans, guests, employees, players, and performers. Please review the new health and safety protocols prior to your first visit to the arena at


Is there accessible parking?

Yes. If you display your Family Weekend Parking Pass AND ADA parking decal/tag/plate, you can park in ANY accessible parking spot on campus during Family Weekend.

Is there accessible seating at the arena?

Yes. Visit for information on accessible services at EagleBank Arena. 

Virtual Options

I am unable to attend Family Weekend in person. How can I participate virtually?

We are committed to helping you make your own Family Weekend experience, and to help, we created Activity Guides to help you engage with your family whether you are at home, in Fairfax/Northern Virginia, or in Washington D.C. View the guides at digital activity guides to find local activity options good for social distancing, dining, and shopping to keep your Mason family entertained throughout the fall season. 

What if I still have questions about Family Weekend?

The New Student and Family Programs team is hard at work and can be reached Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. If your family has a question or needs assistance, reach out to us via email at, phone at (703) 993-2475, or our live chat at