GMU has placed an emphasis on civic engagement in both its undergraduate and graduate programs and research initiatives.
Student programs include: Civic Learning and Community Engagement, Student Government, Roosevelt Institute, Democracy Squad at GMU, and Mason Leads.
Internships programs are provided for: Schar School undergraduate and graduate students, Global Political Fellows and Political Communication students.
Kristen Wright is the Director of Civic Engagement within the Office of Undergraduate Education.
George Mason University (Mason, GMU, or George Mason) is a public research university in Fairfax County near Fairfax City in Virginia. In 1956, the Commonwealth of Virginia authorized the establishment of a Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia and the institution that is now named George Mason University opened in September 1957. It became an independent institution in 1972. It has since grown to become the largest four-year public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The university is named after the Founding Father George Mason, a Virginia planter and politician who authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights that later influenced the future Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Mason operates five campuses in Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun, and Front Royal), as well as a sixth campus in South Korea.
The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. It is particularly well known in the fields of economics. Two Mason economics professors have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics: James M. Buchanan in 1986 and Vernon L. Smith in 2002.
University-wide Community Engagement
Community Engagement is about partnership between George Mason University and its surrounding communities. These mutually beneficial partnerships impact our teaching and learning, our scholarship, and our outreach efforts that strive to improve the human condition and support the public good at home and abroad.
Our mission is to be an exemplary “engaged university” by “preparing our students to thrive in a global context by infusing global awareness, citizenship values, and learning opportunities across all fields, and we will partner with other organizations in solving global problems where our impact will be highest.”
Mason is committed to “engagement with the world”. It is our hope that students and faculty become engaged citizens “ethically orientated and committed to democratic ideals; respectful of individual differences, rights, and liberties; knowledgeable of important issues affecting the world; focused on the well-being of others; and committed to building a just society”.
Civic Learning and Community Engagement
Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment
Housing and Residence Life
Leadership Education and Development
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resources
Living Learning Communities
Off-Campus Student Services
Office of Student Support
Women and Gender Studies Center
The Student Government (SG) office is in the Student Involvement section of the HUB on the Fairfax Campus. SG divisions include the Executive Branch, the Student Senate (Legislative) Branch, and the Elections and Disputes Commission. The Executive Branch includes Executive Boards such as the Parking Appeals Board, Student Funding Board, and the Student Dining Board.
Students are encouraged to attend meetings and share their views:
- The Executive Branch meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. For locations and updates, check the calendar.
- The Student Senate meets Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Find meeting locations in the calendar.
- The Student Funding Board meets Tuesdays at 3 p.m. in the Student Involvement office.
For more information, call 703-993-2909.
Roosevelt @ Mason seeks to empower students with the resources and environment to become effectively involved in the policy process at the campus, local, state, and national levels. The Roosevelt Institute engages in policy research, analysis, and writing to increase youth voices at all levels of the policy process. Roosevelt @ Mason promotes communication and coordination with community members, stakeholders, and policymakers in order to create real policy-oriented solutions. The ultimate goal of the organization is to facilitate progressive policy innovation in the local political process.”
Roosevelt @ Mason is George Mason University’s largest and most active nonpartisan student policy organization.
Democracy Squad at GMU
Democracy Squad is a virtual organizing space for George Mason University students, staff, faculty, and alumni, to promote positive civic engagement on campus. Participants commit to taking actions that reinforce democratic values and institutions in and around Mason nation.
We reinforce democracy by taking action to alleviate sources of democratic weakness. Democracy Squad does this in three main areas: address inequality (income, race healthcare, etc.), promote political representation (strengthen parties, increase voting rights, support reform efforts to expand the citizen-representative tie, etc.), and improve the information environment (promote events that share scientific and high quality information, etc.).
Organized by Professor Jennifer Victor, Democracy Squad participants commit to building a positive campus environment that promotes democracy. Democracy Squad is administered through Magnify, a social networking tool designed to help people solve collective action problems.
This is a site where you’ll discover a wide range of leadership programs and initiatives for members of our campus community. Leadership is a common thread that connects the entire Mason community. Our commitment is to engage our students, faculty, staff and alumni in creating a socially conscious, civically engaged, and global campus community through leadership at all levels of our institution. Every day on Mason’s distributed campuses around the world you’ll encounter hundreds of individuals engaged in leadership through formal and informal positions and experiences.
MasonLeads Mission Statement
To inspire the development, emergence, and recognition of leadership throughout the Mason community by:
- Raising campus-wide awareness of leadership opportunities for our students, faculty, staff, and community
- Encouraging student, faculty and staff participation in leadership development
- Forming a cross-disciplinary community of leadership scholars at Mason
- Focusing on the diverse talents and strengths of all involved in leadership
- Publicizing and celebrating acts of leadership throughout the Mason community
- Building a culture at Mason that values leadership at all levels of the institution
George Mason’s MasonLeads formulated a set of leadership assumptions, core values, and competencies for faculty, staff, students, and alumni to consider in their own exploration and practice of leadership. For example, we believe you do not need to have a formal title to engage in a leadership process or to assume leadership responsibilities. Through self-reflection and reflective practice, we are confident that members of our campus community will make a difference through their leadership. We embrace a set of core leadership values and common competencies founded on the ideas that leadership is learned and that leadership development is a lifelong journey. These leadership assumptions, core values, and competencies are designed to be considered and used as an integrated whole.
Schar School Undergraduates
Undergraduate Internship Program
The Schar School of Policy and Government Internship Program provides an opportunity for students to gain professional experience and skills that will complement their academic program and enhance their career opportunities. The program also is intended to support area organizations by allowing employers to work with graduate students in an effort to increase recruiting success.
The internship program is open to all degree seeking Schar School Master’s students who have completed a minimum of 9 credits of required coursework with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students in the MPP and ODKM programs who do not have at least two years of relevant professional experience are required to complete a three-credit internship.
The Schar School Career Services does not place students in internships but is available to assist students with the search process. Additionally, the Schar School CareersNow contains information on available internships.
- Graduate Internship Program Packet (Spring 2021)
- Graduate Internship Program Packet (Fall 2020)
- International Internship Addendum Packet
- Requesting a waiver of the internship requirement
- PUAD 792 – Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration Research Waiver Packet
- Undergraduate Internship Program
Global Political Fellow
The internship is a key component of the Global Politics Fellows program. The coursework is conveniently scheduled to allow students more time for a substantive internship. Students will intern three days a week, for twenty to twenty-five hours a week. This schedule increases the number of internships available to our Fellows and usually allows them to take on more responsibility. This makes Global Politics Fellows more of an asset for their host organization and gives the student enhanced learning opportunities. Internships are also great networking opportunities to learn more about a potential career field and gain contacts one can use when looking for a summer job and for their future job search after graduation.
Students will obtain their own internship with the help and support of the Fellows program and the Career Center. Internship host sites will likely include local and federal government offices, foreign embassies, non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations and think tanks. Internship duties often focus on advocacy, program support, communications, research and community outreach. Most internships will be unpaid, but students are also encouraged to pursue internships that offer a small stipend or a paid internship.
Global Politics Fellows will follow all of the current guidelines and requirements for internship credit set for George Mason University’s GLOA 495 and GOVT 496 courses.
The Communication Department at George Mason University encourages and supports students who wish to complete an internship in a range of communication related positions, while earning academic credit. Internships act as a bridge to the workforce by offering students opportunities to gain valuable work experience, and obtain the tools needed to enter a professional environment.
The internship program pairs career management course work with the internship learning experience. Communication majors and minors spend approximately ten hours each week during the semester working with a sponsored on-campus or off-campus organization. Interns perform communication related supervised work. Positions can be paid or unpaid. The course can be taken a second time for academic credit.
The Washington, D.C. region has a wide range of internship opportunities. Students can work with a large corporation, small company or association. Communication internship related fields include: journalism, social media, marketing, public relations, sports, health, science, government, politics, public policy, education, research, human resources, administration, radio and television production.
Past and present internships include: national and local radio and television broadcast facilities, major and local newspapers, magazines, public relations companies, major sports teams, public school systems, George Mason University, industry corporate headquarters, non-profit organizations, national associations, foundations, health organizations, political campaigns, the U.S Congress, military organizations, the White House, and many national and local government organizations.. Mason students are highly regarded by area employers.