Advice from Mason Parents on Getting Involved

Susie Almon-Matangos and Bill Matangos are parents of Hannah Matangos, a Senior who is majoring in Global Affairs and Art History. Susie and Bill are Co-Chairs of the Parent and Family Council at George Mason University.

Dear Mason Families,

The transition from high school to college is exciting for students, but it can also be a time of anxiety—with fear of the unknown, uncertainty regarding a major, living on their own for the first time, etc. As parents of a Mason senior, we can say that all of us—our student and ourselves—have thoroughly enjoyed our Mason years. Keys to success for us included communication, respect, and exploration. Keeping in contact is easier now than it was “in our day” because of social media, email, texting, and Skype/Facetime. We have used all of those as a way to share exciting news as well as talk through some challenging situations. Respect obviously goes both ways. Students should respect their parents, and parents should also respect their students who manage themselves through so many changes. And we encourage our daughter to explore as much as she can in terms of academics, college clubs/activities, study abroad opportunities, internships, and career possibilities. Parents and family members can also experience Mason through the many services and events offered by Orientation and Family Programs and Services (OFPS).

With an understanding that families play an important role in their student’s success, OFPS created the Parent and Family Council (PAFC) in 2014 as a way for parents and family members of current Mason students to be involved, learn more about what the university has to offer, and be ambassadors to other parents and family members. The group of about 20 meets on two Fridays each year: Family Weekend in the fall and Siblings Weekend in the spring. Members participate in presentations on services and opportunities offered on campus, like student support services, career services, research initiatives, and admissions. PAFC members also volunteer at events throughout the year, including freshman orientation, to act as a resource to incoming family members by answering questions about issues of interest like move-in day, student organizations, housing, health services, financial aid, and paying the bill.

Members of the PAFC are happy to share information related to their own experiences and can be contacted by email at The group has developed quite a spirit of camaraderie, and PAFC members look forward to having time to catch up with each other during meetings and campus visits. We even have a George Mason Family Association Facebook group now, so please “Join” us for family-to-family conversation!

As a parent or family member of a current Mason student, if you are interested in learning more about the Parent and Family Council, you can find more information at New applications are accepted in November to begin service in April. Please feel free to send an email to the PAFC address if the group can assist with any questions or tell you more about this dynamic group or our experiences at Mason.

With Patriot Pride,

Susie Almon-Matangos & Bill Matangos
Mason Parent and Family Council