Mason Family Flash

Join us for (Virtual) Family Weekend!

We are excited to announce that our Family Weekend website is live, and we invite your Mason Family to connect with us, no matter where you are! Visit to view our offerings, including our Schedule of Events and Digital Activity Guides, information for Visiting Campus, how to apply to be our 2020 Family of the Year, and our FAQs.

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the homepage to Mark Our Map and tell us where your Mason Family is celebrating Family Weekend! The map will be updated regularly, so check back often to see where all our Mason Families are located.

Schedule of Events 

All of our Family Weekend events are FREE and listed below for your convenience! Online registration is required for most events, and the registration links are listed within the Schedule of Events. (For Let’s Do Brunch! participants, please note that you will need to purchase your own ingredients.)

#LivingWhileBlack: Social Justice in the Age of Social Media
Friday, Oct. 23; 7 p.m. ET
Listen as Dr. Shayna Maskell, Assistant Professor in the School of Integrative Studies, discusses the current racial injustices in America and social media’s role in advancing racial justice. Dr. Maskell earned her PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland. Her areas of research include popular and youth culture, music, social movements, and subcultures. 

Let’s Do Brunch!
Sunday, Oct. 25; 12 p.m. ET
Join Chefs Richard and Joel from Mason Dining as they guide you through the creation of a delicious brunch all from the comfort of your own kitchen! They will use all fresh ingredients, including greens from the Presidents Park Greenhouse and honey produced by the Honey Bee Initiative. After you register, you will receive your digital recipe packet with the ingredients needed and instructions. You’ll be able to follow along in real time as the chefs cook and virtually ask questions during the live stream. 

Meet the Veep: Rose Pascarell, Vice President for University Life
Friday, Oct. 30; 5:30 p.m. ET
Meet with Vice President for University Life Rose Pascarell for a conversation about all things student life! A limited number of seats are available. 

Inside the Real Criminal Minds
Saturday, Oct. 31; 7 p.m. ET
Ever wonder what goes on inside the real criminal minds? Listen to Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, Director of the Forensic Science Program in the College of Science, share her experience as one of the FBI’s most senior and accomplished profilers. During her career, she worked on many high-profile cases, including the Elizabeth Smart abduction, the Unabomber case, the Green River Killer, and the Natalee Holloway investigation. 

Evening Under the Stars
Thursday, Nov. 5; 8 p.m. ET
Did you know that Mason has the largest on-campus telescope on the East Coast? On Nov. 5 at 8 p.m., the Mason Observatory will host Dr. Luisa Rebull from Caltech to present her research on young stars. After her presentation, participants will see live views of our night sky (weather permitting) by remotely controlling our main campus telescope, with a 32-inch diameter primary mirror.

True or False? Uncovering Fake News
Friday, Nov. 6; 2 p.m. ET
Join University Libraries for a fun, family-friendly workshop on identifying fake news. This interactive session addresses the many faces of news today from the slightly misleading to the biased to the truly outrageous. 

Pencil in the Provost: Lunch with Dr. Mark Ginsberg
Monday, Nov. 9; 1 p.m. ET
Learn more about Provost Mark Ginsberg and his role as the university’s chief academic officer, overseeing all colleges, schools, and academic support units. A limited number of seats are available. 

Exploring Emerging Infectious Disease and COVID-19
Thursday, Nov. 12; 5:30 p.m. ET
How do infectious diseases emerge and evolve? Join Dr. Amira Roess, professor of Global Health and Epidemiology in the College of Health and Human Services, as she discusses the history of emerging infectious diseases, how she studies them, and the challenges to this field of study. She will also discuss COVID-19 and her involvement in the response. 

Digital Activity Guides

In addition to our scheduled events that will be held in real time, we encourage you to explore our Digital Activity Guides. Whether you’re exploring NoVA or staying home, engage in your own activities to make this Family Weekend one you won’t soon forget! These guides include local activities that are good for social distancing, dining, and shopping that will keep your Mason family entertained throughout the fall season.

2020 Alan and Sally Merten Family of the Year Award 

Encourage your student to nominate your Mason Family for the 10th annual Alan and Sally Merten Family of the Year Award! The Award was established to recognize the critical role you play in your student’s experience at Mason and to remind us that you are an essential part of our students’ support network. Mason students can submit either a written essay or a creative work of art discussing why your family is worthy of being the Family of the Year. Apply now!

For the first time ever, we are introducing Theme Week an opportunity for you to dress up and take fun and silly pictures as a Mason Family! Take pictures of your Mason Family in your outfits of the day using our online photo booth with frames and filters made specifically for Family Weekend 2020. Post them on your socials and hashtag #VFW20

Themes include:
October 26Mason Spirit Monday (Mason-related items and colors)
October 27Touchdown Tuesday (athletic apparel from your favorite sports team)
October 28Time Warp Wednesday (clothing items synonymous with specific decades)
October 29Vacay Thursday (vacation wear)
October 30Fantasy Friday (favorite fictional television, film, comic, or book character)
October 31Halloween (costume or fall apparel)

Although we can’t be together in person, we hope this Family Weekend is an engaging and festive experience for your Mason Family! For more information, visit If you have questions, contact us via email at, phone at (703) 993-2475, or our live chat at 

Samaria Moss
Graduate Assistant of Family Programs
New Student and Family Programs

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