During the October Staff Senate Meeting, constituents shared questions and comments for the senate in the Zoom chat. Time did not allow us to address each question individually during the meeting. Follow-up information is provided below.
Questions/comments received in the chat:
Q: During the summer, it was mentioned that Mason’s budget was being impacted/reduced based on the BOV July meeting; Senior Vice President Carol Kissal also mentioned it might be further reduced by a revised state budget meeting in August. I haven’t heard anything other than the July Mason results; is there any update?
Q:I feel like I’m the only one on campus who wasn’t aware that there is discussion on changing the spring academic calendar, and I do the scheduling for my department. Does anyone know where I can find this information?
A: The Faculty Senate is currently reviewing proposed changes to the spring 2021 academic calendar. Information regarding the proposed changes is available on the Faculty Senate website. The calendar is a topic for discussion at the Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 14. Once the spring academic calendar is approved, an announcement will be made to the university community.
One of the Staff Senate’s top priorities is to advocate for the inclusion of staff voices throughout the different levels of decision-making at the university. This past year, the Staff Senate has worked with university leadership to assign staff representatives to the Presidential Search Committee, the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force, and the University Master Plan Committee, just to name a few.
In the same spirit of inclusion, this month the Staff Senate submitted a proposal to the Board of Visitors (BOV) that the Staff Senate chair be added to the BOV as a non-voting representative. With faculty and students both having at least one non-voting representative on the board, this would be an importantway to show that staff voices continue to be valued in the university conversation. The Staff Senate is interested in working with the Board of Visitors to continue making Mason an outstanding place to work and learn.
Information Technology Services (ITS) Observes National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October.
All month on Twitter, ITS will provide daily security tips about online safety and security. Not following ITS on Twitter? Start now: @GeorgeMasonITS.
ITS will host two events about online safety and security:
CEO of Grimm, a cyber security engineering and consulting firm
Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m.
Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/94234253427?pwd=S2xtUG1paE8xMmVqcGVJZStFSFppUT09 Before joining Grimm, DeMuth led advanced cyber services organizations providing solutions to the U.S. government, the intelligence community, and commercial companies. He has developed and implemented Department of Defense and military cyber range programs and developed training modules and programs for cyber warriors.
Bicycling to campus can be fun and great for your well-being. Join Delia Johnson from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and a League of American Bicyclists-certified instructor for Bicycle Commuting 101.
During this session at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 20 via Zoom, Delia will share information to help you feel more confident about getting to campus on two wheels.
Looking for a new way to get to work when you come back to campus?
Consider vanpooling. Travel with the same group of Mason colleagues. Reduce the time you spend driving. Plus, for full-time faculty/staff, the cost of your commute can be subsidized by Mason up to $270/month.
A reminder that service reductions on Mason Shuttles went into effect in early October.
Service on the Burke VRE and Sandy Creek to Metro routes ended on Friday, Oct. 2, until further notice. To travel to Vienna Metro, use the CUE bus, which remains on its regular schedule with departures from Rappahannock River Lane. For scheduling information, visit cuebus.org.
Beginning Monday, Oct. 5, shuttle service is only available on the Fairfax/SciTech and Gunston Mason routes with some service changes:
Fairfax/SciTech: No weekend service. Monday–Friday, service will be every 40 minutes beginning at 6 a.m. from Sandy Creek and Colgan Hall with four buses on the route.
Gunston Mason: No weekend service. Monday–Friday, some morning service is eliminated, but Gunston Mason will run with a single bus all day and evening.
Updated schedules for Fairfax/SciTech and Gunston Mason are available at shuttle.gmu.edu.
If you have any questions, reach out to Parking and Transportation at 703-993-2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Role: I joined Mason Nation in July 2017 as a laboratory safety specialist in the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS). EHS is one of the divisions of Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management (SEERM). I became a laboratory safety officer in January 2019.
EHS provides support to not just the instructional and research laboratories on Mason campuses but also Facilities, Housing, and Auxiliary Services. Some of my responsibilities include conducting trainings, emergency spill response, testing of emergency equipment, inspections of laboratory spaces, hazardous materials management, and university compliance with federal, state, and local hazardous waste regulations.
COVID-19 response: During the pandemic, EHS and SEERM have risen to the challenge and remained fluid in our current and new responsibilities. We transitioned to online trainings, collected and distributed PPE and sanitizing supplies, established social distancing protocols in all Mason spaces, and assisted in on-site testing, all while providing our usual support to the university.
Mason journey: I became aware of Mason in 2006 during the men’s basketball team’s Cinderella run to the Final Four. In 2008, I became the general manager of Noodles & Company in Old Town Fairfax. During my time there, I had many employees who were students at Mason—some of the best employees I ever had. They were professional, on-time, and had strong customer service skills.
We would do fundraising nights for Mason, and the turnout and support that Mason Nation showed was outstanding and recognized nationally throughout Noodles & Company. I changed career paths between then and now, and when the opportunity to join Mason presented itself, I jumped on it immediately.
Why serve on Staff Senate: I want to advocate for Mason staff. With a large group of employees with many roles and responsibilities, it becomes easy to only focus on those we work with daily. Even as a newly elected senator, I already see that I only knew a little about the functions of the university. Having met the majority of my fellow senators online, I am looking forward to networking and learning more about the inner workings of the university while being a voice for staff.
Best thing about working at Mason: I feel like I am working with people who all have the same goal—making George Mason the best it can be as it becomes a leader among other universities. I feel like all students, faculty and staff take a lot of pride in where they work. This is a feeling that I have not seen or felt in many other workplaces. I also enjoy the quality of life, even with the added responsibilities that I have during COVID-19. I do not feel that I am only defined by my work.
At the end of the day: We are in unprecedented times that can sometimes be scary and frustrating. Yet I am really impressed with how Mason Nation has responded to the COVID challenge. I couldn’t be prouder to be a Patriot.
The Staff Senate will host Katie Clare, associate director for resilience programs, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, for a conversation on mental health and resilience—topics that are especially important during the challenges of 2020. Katie will also share information about the Mental Health First Aid training and Resilience Badge programs available at Mason.
The Staff Senate represents all classified and non-student wage employees at George Mason University. Working closely with university administration, we address concerns that have an impact on the quality of work-life for the Mason community. The work of the Senate is accomplished through open and continuous communication with its constituents. Read more about our virtual general meeting format.