July 2015

July Newsletter

The July Staff Senate Newsletter is out!

Sunflower with Research Hall in the background.  Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University









July 2015

From Our Friends in Human Resources and Payroll

Who’s Walking Wednesday? Could It Be You?
Every Wednesday at noon, there is a campus walk at Arlington, Fairfax, and Science and Technology. Exercise your leadership and lead a walk. For details,  visit and scroll to Who’s Walking Wednesday. Remember, you can always lead an indoor walk using Mason Walk In’ (one-mile walks mapped out in buildings on all three campuses). View indoor route details. See photos from past walks on Facebook and Twitter. Want to share a photo from your walk? Send it to

Save Some Money . . . Here’s How
A reminder that discount opportunities abound. Because discounts come from different places, below are three links to keep in mind:

July 2015

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Election season is here!  We are pleased to have 15 candidates running in the upcoming Staff Senate Election, all from various backgrounds and representing diverse constituencies. Voting will start on July 6, and end at 5 p.m. on July 17.

In the meantime, stop by and meet the candidates at the Sizzlin’ Summer Social on your campus. You can also preview a sample ballot on our website at  The link for voting will also be posted at that link, beginning July 6.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see highlights of the election candidates and election results.

Contact with questions.

July 2015

Staff Stories: Nicole Rodriguez, Environmental Health and Safety

by Joe Hinrichs

Nicole Rodriguez, Mason’s Occupational Health Coordinator in the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS), has worked to keep Mason healthy for the last four years. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in Community Health, she interned for EHS working on various data management and equipment inspection projects. Her impressive dedication to the work shined through when she interviewed in the same office for a full time position, which she has now held for three years.

“I really like it here,” said Rodriguez when describing all the opportunities the two positions have presented. She recounted stories of sitting in on meetings with Mason’s Institutional Biosafety Committee. Rodriguez’s supervisor wanted her to hear about the types of research being conducted throughout the university to understand why her work was so important.

Those discussions appealed to her “dorky side,” said Rodriguez. “I knew we had smart people working at Mason, but these were really smart people.”

Perhaps it was one of those early meetings that inspired her to enroll in Mason’s well-regarded Master of Public Health program. She concentrated in Epidemiology and completed her degree this past May, taking advantage of the staff tuition benefit that Mason’s Staff Senate has lobbied hard to maintain and expand over the last several years. By working with her supervisor, Rodriguez was also able to take advantage of flex scheduling, which helped her complete her degree’s required 200-hour practicum with the local health department.

“Without the staff tuition benefit and flex scheduling, I don’t think I could have gone back for an advanced degree so soon,” she said.

Shortly after graduation, Rodriguez used a mix of volunteer and vacation leave to spend ten days in rural Honduras, working alongside other medical and public health professionals providing care to low-income individuals. “It was humbling,” she said. “It took me a few days to get used to the environment, but it was very rewarding.”

In her normal job, she cares for the health and well-being of employees right here at Mason. She maintains the Medical Surveillance Program for researchers, Facilities Management, University Police, Student Health Services, and Mason Recreation. The program coordinates preventative medical services like screening tests and vaccinations for employees whose work exposes them to hazards — such as frequent loud noises at special events, blood, or infectious agents.

Rodriguez also manages Mason’s Ergonomics Program. This program is designed to help employees arrange their office furniture and equipment in ways that support healthy back posture and efficient space use to avoid injury. Sometimes that means adjusting workstation set-up, modifying work practices, using a better fitting chair or a differently shaped keyboard, or even a standing desk.

When asked about rewarding aspects of her job, Rodriguez shared stories of employees who were incredibly appreciative when she suggested changes to their office arrangements that relieved persistent pain and discomfort. “Sometimes they were in tears,” she said. “I’m grateful that Mason really invested in me to receive specialized training in ergonomics.”

It was a great investment, one that is now paying healthy dividends for the Mason community.

If you’d like to nominate staff members to have their work highlighted in an upcoming Mason Staff Senate Newsletter, please email us at with their contact details and a brief summary of what they do at Mason.

July 2015

Senator Highlight: Amanda Kennedy

Amanda Kennedy, Fiscal Services. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University
Amanda Kennedy, Fiscal Services. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Working at Mason was my first job out of college. I accepted a part-time, temporary position and moved around to a couple different departments before finding a home in Fiscal Services. During my time at Mason, I have come to love working in a college atmosphere. I enjoy learning how the university is run and all the different facets that have to be taken into account when working in this environment.

I joined Staff Senate because I was fascinated that the staff had its own representation on campus. It seemed like such a great advocacy team, and I wanted to be a part of it. There wasn’t anyone from my department in the Staff Senate, so I wanted to be a representative for them, so they could feel that they had a voice in Staff Senate.

I serve on the Events Committee, which organizes the Staff Appreciation events. We handle everything from the catering to the decorations. After helping to plan the Staff Appreciation Winter Warm-Up, it was so rewarding to work at the sign-in table. I got to see staff members arrive looking happy that they got a little break during their work day.

Outside my time at Mason, I love to travel. I’m going to London in September with some friends and cannot wait for that experience. I got my undergraduate degree in Art History. Though my current position has nothing to do with art history, I still love the subject, and one of my favorite things to do in D.C. and when I travel is to visit museums and architectural monuments.

Amanda Kennedy
Staff Senator

July 2015

You Ask, We Answer!

Fairfax Campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University
Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Staff Senate welcomes questions from the Mason community. In this feature, we share questions received and the answers we have researched for you.

Question: “The Field House pay machine [for parking] is always broken. It causes a great deal of stress to wonder if I will be ticketed because I can’t use the machine to purchase a parking permit for the day.” -from a Mason staff member

Answer from Parking Services: If the Pay and Display machine is not working for credit cards (MasterCard and Visa) or coins, customers can utilize Parkmobile to pay for their parking. Parkmobile is a pay-by-cell provider used here at Mason. The link to their website is Or, if you have the opportunity to print a permit in advance, you may buy the parking permit through Mason’s Parking and Transportation website. This requires printing out the Field House Daily Permit as the last part of the transaction. When in doubt, you can always call Parking Services at 703-993-2710 (office) or 703-987-4991 (24 hour cell phone) to make arrangements or ask questions.

July 2015

Message from the Chair

Nicole Roth, Graduate Coordinator, CHSS. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University
Nicole Roth, Graduate Coordinator, CHSS, and Chair, Staff Senate. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Thank you for taking the time to read another edition of our fantastic newsletter. Our Education & Outreach Committee works tirelessly to bring you the latest news from the Mason community, and I think they are doing a great job!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Nicole Roth, and I have been elected as Chair of the Staff Senate. I am overwhelmingly excited to take on this new role and deeply appreciate the opportunity to advocate for staff at my alma mater. I began my adventure at Mason in fall 2004 as an undergraduate student, and I graduated in spring 2008 with a dual major in English and Art History. I immediately started working at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. I have also held positions with the Graduate Admissions Office in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as my current role as Graduate Coordinator in the Department of History and Art History.

Throughout my time at Mason, I have had the opportunity to experience some of the university’s most exciting moments. But, I believe the best is yet to come. I hope that as we settle in to our summer routines you will stop by a Sizzlin’ Summertime Staff Appreciation event in July. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy refreshments, chat with colleagues, and vote for the next class of Senators. The Staff Senate is preparing for another year of advocacy, but we need your input to make it happen. We want to hear your concerns, and I’d love the opportunity to meet you!

Nicole Roth
Chair, Staff Senate

July 2015

See You In September

Staff Appreciation Coffee Klatch hosted by the Staff Senate at the Prince William campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University
Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Staff Senate will resume its General Meeting schedule in September. There will be no general meeting in July, as we will be focused on honoring and celebrating the hard work of Mason staff at the Staff Senate Sizzlin’ Summertime Social.

In August, we will have our Kickoff Meeting and Orientation with newly elected senators.

The next general meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., in Research Hall, Room 163. Videoconference rooms at Arlington and Science and Technology will be announced.

July 2015

Green Your Routine: Faculty/Staff Sustainability Resources

Recycle bins in University Hall. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Recycling bins in Merten Hall. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Learn about simple actions that can reduce your environmental footprint in your office at Mason, including sustainability resources available for transportation, recycling, energy, and more.

Grab a few of your fellow staff members for a quick ten minute conversation with a representative from the Office of Sustainability. Register here.

For questions contact Roger LeBlanc at

July 2015

Financial Well-Being: Individual Retirement Counseling Sessions

Healthy finances are a cornerstone of personal well-being. It is always important to save for your long-term goals: ending student debt, buying a car or home, saving for the kids’ or grand-kids’ college education, and retirement. No matter your age, retirement is one of everyone’s long term goals.

To help with your plans, take advantage of on-campus, individual retirement counseling sessions offered by TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, and ICMA-RC. For dates and times, visit

Contact for more information.