Quarterly Quill February 2022


This issue’s Strategic Plan update will focus on the efforts within the Inclusive Thriving Community goal area. The following list provides an overview of accomplishments and progress made within Strategy 1.1.1 and 1.2.1. during the last quarter. For questions about this work, please contact Goal Lead Co-Lead, Creston Lynch and Co-Lead Lisa Snyder.

 Strategy 1.1.1: Develop a comprehensive lifecycle/ecosystem analysis for first-generation students

  • Launched First-Gen+ Center as independent University Life unit
  • Hired full-time Assistant Director for First-Generation Student Support (within First-Gen+ Center)
  • Held in-person Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) [24 participants] after having held it virtually in 2020 [56 participants]
  • Held on-line EIP Summer Academy for First-Gen College Bound Students [492 participants]
  • EIP launched First-Gen Connect - laptop and MIFI loaner program to help facilitate distance learning for EIP students in Summer Academy
  • EIP implemented College and Career Readiness Curriculum for Summer Academy
  • Re-launched First-Generation Students Task Force​
  • Separated an "action-oriented" group​
  • Developed of a "roundtable" for idea-sharing and collaboration​
  • Participated in data-sharing re: First Scholars (NASPA) involvement​
  • Continued discussion regarding first-generation question to incoming students and centralizing data across the University to more accurately reflect first-generation student enrollment (undergraduate and graduate levels)

Strategy 1.2.1: Identify, audit, and connect programs and initiatives

  • Developed and launched survey for UL units to identify Social Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (SJDEI) programs and initiatives
  • Will conduct interviews with UL units whose overall mission and work closely identifies with SJDEI programs and initiatives
  • We are collecting a large amount of data that will need to be cleaned and organized before analyzing. We are developing a plan for this, but data analysis will take time.

For additional information on the UL Strategic Plan, visit the Strategic Plan section within the University Life Organization in Blackboard. There you will find:

  • The most up-to-date 2020-24 strategic plan document
  • Plan revision documents
  • Timelines for each goal area
  • Past strategic plan presentations

If you would like to become involved with the Strategic Plan implementation process, please reach out to Birgit Debeerst (bdebeers@gmu.edu) or Lori Scher (lcohen@gmu.edu) to discuss areas of interest and explore available opportunities.

Leading to Well-Being Speaker Series Header

Talent is not the only ingredient for success. Preparation, performance, and the ability to shift between mindsets is key to career success, and most importantly, winning on the most challenging field of all – the mind.

The Leading to Well-Being Speaker Series presents Brian Levenson, author of Shift Your Mind: 9 Mental Shifts to Thrive in Preparation and Performance, in our next online event, “How to Cultivate 9 Mental Shifts to Supercharge Your Performance.”

Join us for this free presentation on Tuesday, February 8 at noon ET. Learn about the power of shifting between complementary mindsets, a technique that high achievers rely on to prepare effectively and deliver when it counts.

You’ll learn the nine key mental shifts to elevate your preparation and your performance for success, both professionally and personally. Brian Levenson outlines his simple, but powerful, framework used by the world’s highest achievers to overcome obstacles and reach their maximum potential.

Discover answers to questions like:

  • How do successful performers think differently in preparation and performance?
  • What is the difference between the preparation and performance minds?
  • What are best practices for shifting your mind, and why is it important to pursue them?
  • What are the shifts you need to make to perform better?
  • How does self-awareness play a role in preparation and performance?

Brian is the founder of Strong Skills, which provides executive and mental performance coaching, speaking, and consulting to leading organizations, performers and leaders. He has been fortunate to work with CEOs; professional athletes and teams in the NBA, NHL, and MLS, Division 1 athletic departments; the Federal Reserve; the Department of Homeland Security; Hilton; Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and many other organizations.

Whether it’s attaining higher work performance or achieving personal goals, let these techniques propel you to the next level of success.

Learn more about the Leading to Well-Being Speaker Series and register today for this free presentation! Don't wait, space is limited.

New University Life Marketing Templates Header

The University Life Marketing Team has added five new customizable marketing template designs under the UL Marketing and Best Practices tab on the University Life Marketing and Communication website.

These handy Canva templates, which are formatted for Instagram/Facebook feed posts, Instagram/Facebook stories, and 8.5" x 11” flyers, were designed to help users create marketing materials within a tight timeline or complete smaller projects.

Once users select their preferred template design, they can modify the template directly in Canva by adding content based on their needs.

For users who are unfamiliar with using Canva, the University Life Marketing Team has created a set of instructions on how to customize the Canva templates. These instructions can be found in the How to Customize Canva Templates section of the Marketing Templates webpage, right below the marketing templates.

Be sure to check out and bookmark the Marketing Templates webpage on the University Life Marketing and Communication website!

University Life's Engagement Growth on Instagram Header

We’re excited to report that the audience and reach of University Life’s Instagram grew in 2021. We increased our followers by 192%, raised post engagement by 286%, and reached 222% more people than in 2020. Our content is resonating with our audience — our post saves have increased 257%!

Our Instagram growth can be attributed to our focused social media content strategy, which enables us to build trust with our followers and increase engagement. Key components to our strategy include:

  • Understanding our audience's needs including what students consider to be important and worthwhile (based on student feedback)
  • Ensuring that each post has a clear purpose and relevance to student life at Mason
  • Having clear and focused boundaries on the type of content we post and do not post on our account
  • Having clear rules to only post promotional content as stories in order to preserve the feed's visual brand and aesthetic
  • Marketing by telling compelling stories that resonate with our students rather than focusing on advertising
  • Creating content that focuses on user-experience by presenting critical information in a clear and concise manner such as information on accessing a campus resource; the date, time, location, and registration information for an event; and the benefits of using a service on campus
  • Collaborating with students for content creation, rather than expecting student engagement with staff-created content

These social media strategies, as well as the Social Media Best Practices on the new Marketing and Communications website, will work for units across University Life. The best plan is to test out different strategies, keep an eye on the performance metrics, and adjust your strategy to fit your specific audience’s needs! If you have any questions or comments, please email ulcandm@gmu.edu.


Patriots thriving together

The spring 2022 semester started on January 21 with Housing and Residence Life welcoming back all students who did not remain on campus throughout the winter break. Students were allowed to check-in beginning at 9:00 am in the Johnson Center 1st floor COVID testing site. As was noted in Dr. Washington’s e-mail sent on December 31, 2021, residential students who were not on campus during the winter break were required to complete a pre-arrival COVID test as part of the spring move-in process.

On January 13, approximately 4,500 students received a link to order, receive, and complete their test by January 19, however, due to shipping delays many students did not receive their test within the provided timeline. As such, students were allowed to check-in provided they could show proof of having ordered or completed their COVID test at move-in. Students who did not yet have their results or could not order their test were allowed to check in but were asked to be extra cautious with masking and social distancing until their test results could be received. After checking in with Housing and Residence Life students then filtered through the surveillance testing area before being allowed to return to their spring space.

Over the course of the three-day move-in weekend, approximately 70 students were placed in quarantine and isolation housing with another 100 students remaining at home due to having received positive test results from Vault or their check-in surveillance test. Residence Life worked in coordination with Facilities and Housekeeping teams, Student Health Services, and Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management (SEERM) staff throughout the weekend to ensure students were able to efficiently check-in, get tested, receive quarantine or isolation housing as needed, and have a clean and safe environment to begin the new semester.

Patriots thriving together

University Life, the Office of the Provost, and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being joined forces to create Patriots Thriving Together, an awareness campaign that focuses on improving and sustaining mental health and well-being for the Mason community.

Read about what’s planned for this semester in the Provost Newsletter.

New To University Life

Please join us in welcoming our new and newly promoted colleagues to the University Life team!

Counseling and Psychological Services

  • Andrew Anderson, Staff Clinician
  • Natalia Baez-Powell, Staff Clinician
  • Jocelyn Cooper, Staff Clinician
  • Calena Creft, Coordinator, Multicultural Outreach and Prevention
  • Alexander Harrison, Associate Director, Clinical Services

Disability Services

  • Dang Dao, Access Coordinator

Graduate Student Life

  • Bernard Atieme, Graduate Professional Assistant

International Programs and Services

  • Sheetal Lee, Immigration Specialist

Learning Services

  • Julie Stradling, Learning Specialist
  • Vicki Taylor, Learning Specialist

Mason Recreation

  • Ethan Short, Coordinator for Facility Operations

Student Health Services

  • Lindsey Carter, Clinic Administrative Specialist
  • Samone Ighofose, Nurse Practitioner
  • Karolina Sharma, Medical Assistant, COVID Team

Student Involvement

  • Lauren Kaplan, Assistant Director of Student Involvement for Student Government Association and Student Funding Board

Student Success Coaching

  • Keenan Young, Success Coach

University Life HR Services

  • Dionne Paul-Wiggins, Human Resources Recruitment Coordinator

University Life Project and Process Management

  • Susan Pilley, Project Coordinator/Analyst
Header for Awards and Recognition


University Life Outstanding Service Award

  • Paul Bazzano, Assistant Director of Competitive Sports and Athletic Training, Mason Recreation
  • Jonathan Carmona, Global Programs Coordinator, International Programs and Services
  • Mollie DelVecchio, Clinic Nurse, Student Health Services
  • Steve Wintermeyer, Associate Medical Director, Student Health Services

University Life Positive Impact Awards

  • Erin Dunleavy, International Student/Scholar Advisor, International Programs and Services

University Life Partnership Award

  • Beth Baroody, Faculty/Staff Engagement Consultant, Human Resources and Payroll

Nominate a Colleague for Mason's 2022 Outstanding Achievement Awards 

The Outstanding Achievement Awards honor Mason’s faculty and staff across sixteen award categories and celebrate their hard work, dedication, and contributions to the university. You are invited to nominate a colleague for an award by the deadline of February 25, 2022.

Please visit the Outstanding Achievement Awards website for more details, and note that departmental awards may have different deadlines.

The Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony is scheduled for April 7, 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. in Dewberry Hall.

Questions? Contact awards@gmu.edu.

Degrees and Certificates 

Please join us in congratulating our colleagues who received their first degree or certificate credentials in the last six months.


  • Sabrey Garling Stewart, Certificate

Contemporary Student Services

  • Louise Higgins, Certificate

Early Identification Program (EIP)

  • Rhina Alvardo, Master’s degree

Housing and Residence Life

  • Said Boutiflin, Certificate
  • Dovan (Ace) Willis, Master’s degree

Student Success Coaching

  • Joshua Braaten, Certificate
  • Sara Clifton, Certificate
  • Samantha Cozzolino, Certificate
  • Micah Hodges, Certificate
  • Kye Hopkins, Certificate
  • Sharon Kim, Certificate
  • Susan Schott, Certificate
  • Allison Wallen, Certificate
  • Keenan Young, Certificate
  • Dorthoy Hayden, Certificate

University Life Central

  • Julio Diaz, Master’s degree

University Life Project and Process Management

  • Telliffer Morris, Certificate
List of this quarter's contributing authors

A big THANK YOU to this month's contributors

Center for the Advancement of Well-Being
Whitney Hopler

University Life
Birgit Debeerst
Dr. Lori Scher
Amy Snyder

University Life Marketing
Sanglin Chang
Atossa Shafaie
Karen Wolf