Family Weekend Welcomes Mason Community with Open Arms

Posted: October 5, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: October 5, 2009 at 9:53 am

By Robin Herron

Student Patricia Muench and her parents had a blast at last year's Family Weekend. Creative Services photo

Student Patricia Muench and her parents had a blast at last year's Family Weekend. Creative Services photo

From noon on Friday, Oct. 16, to late afternoon on Sunday, Oct. 18, Mason families can experience a whirlwind of activities that will give them opportunities to meet and engage with the faculty, administration and other students and their families—and have lots of fun.

For the ninth year, Mason is opening its arms wide to all families in the Mason community during the annual Family Weekend hosted by the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services (OFPS).

It’s a time for students’ families to come and get acquainted, or re-acquainted, with Mason, and offers something for the littlest family members as well as for Grandma and Grandpa.

“We’re really excited about Family Weekend,” says Mary Ann Grandinetta, associate director of OFPS. “We’re bringing back some popular events from past years, but we’re also trying out some new activities.”

This year for the first time a Sunday golf scramble at nearby Penderbrook Golf Club will be offered. At only $50 per person, it’s a bargain, with all fees, lunch and prizes included—not to mention a great way for families to interact with one another and make new friends. And, in collaboration with Student Activities, Family Weekend is bringing to the Patriot Center comedian Wayne Brady, former improvisational cast member of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and current host of TV’s “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”

The wine tasting event provides an opportunity to learn about the wines.

The popular wine tasting event that provides an opportunity to learn about wines will be repeated this year.

Another brand-new option is a choice of several off-campus community service opportunities that are being offered in conjunction with New Century College.

“Our families have really jumped on that, which is great to see,” says Katie Murray, assistant director of OFPS. “In the past we’ve had some service projects on campus, but this is the first time we’ve offered the opportunity to go off campus and work directly with community organizations.”

One of the service project options, helping to set up a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, is already filled to capacity, she notes. Other choices are to help plant trees at Wolf Trap or create a magnolia bog at Royal Lake Park.

Some of the many popular activities returning this year include

  • FUNZONE activities for younger family members with carnival games, PlayStation games and storytelling, hosted by members of student organizations;
  • wine tasting;
  • Mason Family Book Presentation featuring Jason F. Wright, author of “The Wednesday Letters”;
  • Family BBQ and ThinkFast! GameShow;
  • taste of Fairfax sampling from area restaurants and businesses;
  • Provost’s Highlights with Provost Peter Stearns, who will discuss the university’s current academic initiatives and new programs;
  • opportunities to attend Mason athletic events such as soccer, tennis, lacrosse and swimming and diving;
  • Mason pre-Madness and Madness celebrations. Mason families can be among the first to hear the new Fight Song that will debut during Mason Madness, the annual mega-rally in the Patriot Center that shows off Mason’s basketball teams and coaches and opens the basketball season. The Pre-Madness activities include contests, face painting, giveaways and more.

All events are first come, first served, and reservations close on Oct. 9. Registrations are coming in fast, Murray reports, and some events, such as the Friday night Welcome Dinner and trip to George Mason’s colonial home, Gunston Hall, have already reached capacity.

All events are free for Mason students, but there is a small charge for family members.

The entire schedule of events and registration information are online at the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services web site.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu