The GBAY silent and live auction has been held every year since 2010 in an effort for Mason students and community members to fundraise for the Mason General Scholarship Fund. (STEPHEN KLINE/BROADSIDE)

The GBAY silent and live auction has been held every year since 2010 in an effort for Mason students and community members to fundraise for the Mason General Scholarship Fund. (STEPHEN KLINE/BROADSIDE)

The fourth annual GBAY auction and student scholarship benefit is making strides to financially help current and future Mason Patriots.

This year’s auction was held on April 11 at 5 p.m. in the JC Atrium, and the event has been hosted by the Mason Ambassadors for the past four years. The Ambassadors are a group of students selected by Mason Ambassador Advisors and the executive board of the Ambassador organization every year in order to spread their Patriot pride across campus — especially among incoming Mason students. Their goal for GBAY is to raise money to assist students who have exhausted their financial aid and still need help paying a steadily-increasing tuition.

“In 2010, Dean [Andrew] Flagel, who before going to Brandeis [University] was the dean of admissions at Mason, thought it would be cool if a student organization raised money for students. So, he approached the Mason Ambassadors,” said Claire Forman, the assistant director of annual giving for Mason’s development office, which is in charge of incoming donations to the university. “He thought it would be great for students to not only share their experiences and pride for Mason with other students, but to also keep Mason’s current students here.”

Over the past three years, the GBAY event has raised about $33,000 for the Mason General Scholarship Fund, which awards Mason students money for tuition expenses if they are unable to make tuition payments.

“Our students and faculty members have been becoming increasingly aware of what an issue this is,” Forman said. “And it’s great to see students giving back to students and impacting life at Mason for other students. This general fund can benefit five to 10 or more students a year.”

This year, about 60 people registered for the event, which auctioned off a number of valuable and priceless items to Mason students, faculty, staff, parents and Fairfax community members. All auction items were donated by offices at Mason, as well as community members and organizations.

“We’ve got some awesome stuff up for auction, like the reserved parking passes, gift cards and chances to name your own burger at the Rat,” said Brian Palomo, a freshman at Mason, who joined the ambassador program this year.



Other items up for grabs were four passes to the National Aquarium, wine tastings at local vineyards, ski and snowboard packages, a personal tour of the Pentagon Memorial and even a lunch with President Angel Cabrera.

“That’s such a really great price!” said a student bidder, who was watching the price of a full-year, reserved parking space for any parking area on campus go up to $260. According to the Mason Parking Services website, an annual pass to park on the fourth level of the Rappahannock parking deck is $600.

Each year, involvement in the auction has increased, and Forman expects that throughout the next few years — with added outreach to Fairfax community members and Mason alumni — GBAY will become a larger event.

“Just over the past couple of years, involvement has gone up. It used to be a lot of faculty and staff members getting involved, but now Mason students and even their parents are doing this to help other students,” Forman said.

The Mason Ambassadors have also applied for The Sillerman Prize, a $5,000 grant that will go toward a U.S. university student organization that engages their peers in charitable giving, creates a philanthropic environment on their campus, fosters a lifelong charitable giving and develops a program or model that other universities can adopt for charitable giving endeavors. If the Mason Ambassadors win, they will be given the title of Generous U as well as receiving the grant.

“We’ll find out if they won the award and grant at the end of the month,” Forman said. “It’s not an opportunity a lot of student organizations get, and I’m so proud of the ambassadors for impacting Mason life. The students are very invested in this experience, and I think there’s nothing better. They’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this, and it’s really making an impact on the future of Mason’s students.”