Articles by: Cody Norman

  • Photo by Stephen Kline

    End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse

    Featured, Lifestyle, Multimedia September 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm Comments are Disabled

    Fifty-eight years after the United States government launched Project 4.1 to study the medical effects of nuclear fallout, Justin Watson and his friends have continued working on the experiments, with disastrous results. Watson, who graduated from Mason in 2010 with a degree in government and international politics, has opened an urban haunted house called The Warehouse with four colleagues in Rockville, MD. The Warehouse features an imaginary scenario of a continuation of Project 4.1. The haunted house centers on the story line of Atomic Advancements, a private pharmaceutical company that decided to continue the work on the decades-old research project to study the response of human beings who were exposed to significant radiation from high-yield weapons. That is when everything went horribly wrong. The Warehouse, which is located a block from the White Flint Metro station, is a 37,000 square foot department store in a dying shopping mall. Watson and his company have transformed the space into 17 rooms with zombies, decaying bodies and armed guards. A hospital wing, jail and laboratory are all included, but Watson has kept the final room a secret. He promises that it will be different than your average ending to a haunted house. “Our […]

  • Photo by Stephen Kline

    Former Mason Basketball Player Teams Up with Joe Jonas on Reality Singing Competition “The Next”

    Featured, Lifestyle, Multimedia September 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm Comments are Disabled

    A crowd of several thousand of his newest fans roared with excitement as Jordan Baird was called to the stage. It was early August and Baird had just been announced the winning contestant on the Baltimore show of “The Next”. He glowed with excitement as he paced across the stage to thank his mentor, Joe Jonas, and acknowledged the crowd for allowing him to move forward in the competition. The moment was surreal. “I was pumped,” Baird said. “The whole place was going crazy. But then I got backstage and they told me they were not actually disclosing the winner.” Not knowing his standing within the competition, Baird was forced to watch the show on television to find out if he would be advancing. As senior co-pastors of The Life Church in Manassas, Baird’s parents hosted a viewing party at the church where many members of the community gathered, awaiting the results. For a second time on the show, Baird sat with his family and anxiously anticipated the announcement. Finally, after enduring the hour-long show, Baird heard the news he had been waiting for: he would be moving on to compete in the semifinals at Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. […]

  • Mason Bids Farewell to Two Major Contributors to Mason History

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm Comments are Disabled

    No two days at Mason are the same. With a combined tenure at Mason of 45 plus years, Dr. Morrie  Scherrens and  Dr Sandy Scherrens reflect on their time at  Mason as they say prepare to say goodbye to the institution they helped to shape. Dr. Morrie Scherrens recalls when he arrived in Fairfax 37 years ago, Mason was just a shell of what it has become. It enrolled just 5,000 students and the on-campus housing options consisted solely of the student apartments. Mason was not a number one option. Students arrived hesitantly to campus, electing to go to Mason only when their first several options fell through. “Most students that came here in the 70s or 80s were coming here as a second, third or fourth choice,” Dr. Morrie Scherrens said. “Most students that come here now are coming because they want to be here.” In his 37 years on Mason’s campus, Dr. Morrie Scherrens played a major role – along with Dr. George W. Johnson and Dr. Alan Merten – in shaping the reputation of the university. While the two former presidents focused much of their attention on bringing in the best faculty – with the idea that […]

  • Campus Ponds Serve as Eco-Friendly Run-Off Deposit

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm Comments are Disabled

    Despite it’s less than favorable appearance, the pond located in front of the Center for the Arts is a sustainable resource that contributes to both the environmental and campus well-being. The man-made pond was excavated in 1989 in order to control the volume of rainwater that flows through the western end of the campus.  A smaller pond located by Roberts Rd. and Braddock Rd. covers the eastern end. “It’s all gravity,” said Bob Endebrock, director of Facilities Project Management and Construction. He explained that no pumps or pressurized systems are necessary for the water to flow since the campus is located uphill. As far as maintenance goes, a control gate along the edge of the pond regulates the level of water. People occasionally complain about the pond being brown since they do not understand its other purpose. The pond was not only built to control the flow of water throughout the campus but clean pollutants as well. While attempting to level itself, the excess water that exits through the control gate becomes filtered before being released into the greater environment, thus legitimizingthe pond as a sustainable resource. In other words, the Mason Pond, including the small pond by Roberts Rd. […]

  • Mason Inn Earns Certification as Green Hotel for Sustainable Initiatives

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm Comments are Disabled

    The Mason Inn’s initiative to make the hotel environmentally friendly began when creating the blueprints for the hotel. The hotel was built to sustain energy because of an improved thermal building ‘envelope,’ high-efficiency glazing on windows and doors and high-efficiency water-source heat pumps that result in energy cost savings of 15.4 percent. The Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel has officially been labeled a Virginia Green Hotel by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, adding to its status of being one of the most sustainable buildings on campus. “Sustainable building and LEED/Green certification is, and will continue to be, an important part of Mason,” said  Marc Fournier, Mason Inn general manager. “It is part of the Mason University culture and recognition for being conscious about our resources helps the community understand our commitment.” During the construction of the Mason Inn, nearly 90 percent of the on-site construction waste was diverted from landfills to recycling agencies and more than 30 percent of the total building materials were manufactured using recycled materials. Not only is the building itself sustainable, but the staff also exercise environmentally friendly practices. For example, documents are printed double-sided to conserve paper and housekeepers are trained to accommodate […]

  • Green Patriots Lead Environmental Sustainability Efforts at Mason

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm Comments are Disabled

    Green is the new black at Mason this year, thanks to a group of student ambassadors for the Office of Sustainability who identify themselves as the Green Patriots. Chris Baumgartner, Mason’s Sustainability Outreach and Communications Coordinator, started the group last spring. According to President Giulia Manno, the team of about 20 members aims to help communicate sustainability initiatives to the greater Mason community. The group’s members cannot be identified as solely interested in environmental affairs; their fields of study range from Communications to Government and International Politics, to Conservation to Elementary Education. Roger LeBlanc Jr., a sophomore studying Environmental Sustainability Studies, joined the Green Patriots in the spring of 2011, shortly after the formation of the group. “I joined Green Patriots because I met many people in it through the Sustainability LLC and my conservation themed alternative break to Florida,” said LeBlanc. “I like the fact that the environmental service Green Patriots does is centered on Mason’s campus. That is what keeps me coming back to it.” The group meets on a weekly basis in September and then on a biweekly basis throughout October, November and December. In its meetings, the group discusses local sustainability issues and participate in campus […]

  • Rising Admissions Standards Affect Potential Applicants

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm Comments are Disabled

    Innovation begins with enrollment, and Mason  has found prosperity in its growing applicant pool. As a fairly young university, Mason has already made large strides to improve its academic standing. Its spot as number one on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of up-and-coming national universities pays tribute to Mason’s continuously increasing enrollment standards. “The academic profile has increased over the past five years, primarily due to the large increase in applications we’ve seen,” said Sarah Dvorak, Mason Director of Undergraduate Admissions said. “Since we have more students applying than five years ago and still have around the same number of students in the freshman class, it has become more selective in general.” Reported by College Board, in 2011 Mason received around 17,000 applications. Of those applicants, approximately 9,000 were admitted and just fewer than 3,000 enrolled. According to Sarahbeth Morofsky, a Mason  Admissions Representative, the average SAT score of a Mason student (reading and math combined) is between 1150 and 1240. The middle 50 percent range for ACT scores is 25 to 29. The average high school GPA is approximately 3.6 to 3.9. These numbers place Mason in the mix with the country’s most prestigious schools. Along with […]

  • Photo Courtesy of Al Fuertes

    Cornerstones Professor Guides Students in the Philippines

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm Comments are Disabled

    A unique study abroad program at Mason has students traveling to the Philippines for a six-week long, nine-credit life-changing trip. Al Fuertes, a New Century College professor, who specializes in community-based trauma, started the program in 2008. Although there are many study abroad programs offered at Mason, the Philippines trip is uniquely different based on three aspects of the trip, according to Fuertes. “The trip is a grass roots peace-building excursion,” Fuertes said. “What makes this trip distinct from others is that we address conflicts from the perspective of the locals in the communities we visit. I wholly believe that the locals understand the reasoning behind the conflicts better than any outside sources.” The trip focuses on both environmental and cultural awareness. These are two aspects that make it unique. “The trip is very community based. Students have the chance to immerse themselves in the lives of the people in communities,” Fuertes said. “They get to experience and live the daily lives of the people in the communities, not only visit and observe. The entire country is the classroom and the people we meet, the places we visit and the stories we hear are texts and credits of experiential learning.” […]

  • $400 Million Dining Contract Up for Bids

    $400 Million Dining Contract Up for Bids

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm Comments are Disabled

    In anticipation of the expiring contract between the university and Sodexo, Mason Dining has opened bidding for vendors who are interested in providing dining services. Though the contract is supposed to run through 2014, eight companies were sent invitations to bid for the job this fall since the university is considering major renovations to the Johnson Center. The new contract will begin on July 1. According to the Request for Proposals document, the contract vendor will receive a proposed goal guaranteed minimum of 22 percent of gross sales or $4 million each year, whichever is greater. If the contract is extended, the goal for the goal guaranteed minimum will increase to 22 percent of gross sales or $9.5 million whichever is greater. The document also outlines the university’s expectations for each dining service to maintain and improve dining services and campuses, along with instructions for moving along in the bidding process. “I want to make it clear that we are not kicking Sodexo out,” said Mark Kraner, Executive Director of Campus Retail Operations. “This is mandatory. We must go out to bid every once in a while. My job is to work with the contract partners to provide services and […]

  • University Budget Forecasts Minimal Economic Growth

    News1 September 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm Comments are Disabled

    Despite the variety of increases projected from Mason’s Office of Budget and Planning, one very important increase is missing: state funding. In the budget forum held earlier this month, Mason representatives discussed the current state of the university’s budget. The general word used to describe most changes was increase, including room and board, that has seen a 19 percent increase since 2001, and in-state undergraduate tuition which has increased by 104 percent since 2001. Accompanying these increases is an overall university budget increase from $826.6 million last year to $888 million this year. David Moore, the Director of Budget and Planning Analysis at Mason said this $61.4 million increase can be attributed to private funding, Educational and General (E&G) operating budgets, Auxiliary Enterprise operating budgets, research sponsored program activities, capital support and state financial aid. Of the $61.4 million increase to the budget this year, state funding only makes up $0.8 million. Herein lies one very obvious decrease in Mason’s current budget. Since 2001, state funding has seen a 51 percent decrease. “Similar to the rest of the nation, the Commonwealth of Virginia was affected by the economic downturn in 2008,” said Moore. ”During this downturn, the state reduced agency […]