GMU onAir is the first and model chapter for the US onAir network of 50 state governance and election Hubs. The GMU onAir Chapter is currently leading the curation and management of the United States onAir central Hub at: https://us.onair.cc/.
The GMU onAir chapter is open to all Mason undergrad and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Mason although only students can be members of the soon to be Registered Student Organization called “Students onAir”.
Since its founding in the fall of 2018, many chapter members have taken advantage of the onAir internship opportunities especially the Global Politics Fellows, Migration Policy Fellows, and Schar undergrad interns.
For more information on the Chapter, contact: email@example.com.
To view posts on many of our current and former members, go here.
March 21, 2022
Speak Up for Impact!
US onAir is excited to announce its Spring 2022 Speak Up for Impact! Video Contest. The contest starts on March 21, 2022 and ends April 25, 2022. Win cash!
Speak Up contests promote university competitions to have the most impact on local, state, and federal government and elections – via informed, civil discussion among university communities and their elected officials.
A decade of studies showed that when constituents and their elected officials used a moderated platform to discuss their views (based on a set of issue-based facts) to find common ground, trust went up and people were more likely to vote – especially for those with whom they interacted. That’s impact!
US onAir is a non-profit, non-partisan network with a central US Hub and 50 state Hubs designed for citizens to learn, discuss, and impact their democracy.
- LEARN the facts about issues on posts, curated by student volunteers
- DISCUSS issues via live-streamed aircasts, moderated by student volunteers.
- HAVE IMPACT on elected officials, governance, prospective voters, and elections.
What you do
Got a minute? Want to influence 2022 politics? In your short video, tell your US Senators and US House Representative what you’d like done about an issue that matters to you, and ask for their feedback. If you want to win up to $150, influence others to ‘Speak Up’ (submit their video) also.
What we do
To amplify your voice, we will spotlight selected videos on the US and state onAir Hubs, on our YouTube channel, and other social media. We will also invite you and the US Representatives you address to discuss your issue on an aircast.
Three Cash Awards
The individual or group that influences the most people to ‘Speak Up’ (submit their own short video) will win. There will be one Individual and two Team awards (a student organization and a GMU class). Each wins $150.
In this first Speak Up contest, only those with a George Mason University email can join to win. There are 2 more ‘Speak Up’ video contests planned for 2022, 1 for summer and 1 for fall.
March 30, 2022
– March 14, 2022 (01:12)
This is a Speak Up video with slides that outlines some of the reasons why the OnAir@GMU chapter is promoting the Speak Up contest and especially targeted to faculty.
January 20, 2022
Jim Lillard, current Vice President- OnAir@GMU chapter, will serve as an onAir Networks Director this semester assisting our Arlington Fellows interns.
Honors College, – November 7, 2019
There’s a lot of really great ways that you can use technology to engage with the world and change things […].”
— Tim O’Shea, Government & International Politics Honors College alumnus
The average American tends to have more knowledge about how they are represented in the federal government than about their representation at the state level. While there are numerous reasons why this is the case, a group of George Mason students and alumni are working to close this informational gap through technology.
Democracy onAir, an online hub started by entrepreneur Scott Joy and now run by students, hopes to be the answer to all the questions people, particularly young adults, may have about who is representing them at the state-level.
“Our objective is to use technology in a way that makes it easier for people to engage in more civil [and educated] democratic processes,” said Tim O’Shea, an Honors College alumnus who graduated from Mason last May. O’Shea studied Government & International Politics as an undergraduate and is currently a Juris Doctorate candidate at Georgetown University.
On October 25, O’Shea and current Honors College senior Adia McLaughlin hosted a colloquium introducing onAir to a group of first-year Honors College students. Both O’Shea and McLaughlin joined onAir when it was just a startup and have continued to contribute to the interactive information hub. O’Shea is now the Executive Director of onAir while McLaughlin serves as the Content Director.
O’Shea and McLaughlin’s colloquium encouraged students to evaluate how they can be civically engaged on and off campus while informing them of the resources provided by onAir.
“Our hub is completely curated and managed by students,” emphasized McLaughlin, who is double majoring in Communication and Government & International Politics. Students involved with onAir interview representatives, host town hall meetings, and keep the hub’s pages up to date with current politics.
“We want to democratize the production of political information [in order to engage] young people in the process of creating that information,” explained O’Shea. O’Shea believes that “political information is better” when it is “produced and curated by people who actually live in communities that are impacted by [policies].”
The Virginia onAir hub allows users to enter their residential address and easily identify who is representing them at all levels. Users can then click on a representative’s name and read a complete background on that politician’s affiliations, election results, voting records, positions on major issues, and much more.
Students working for onAir use a stock set of questions when interviewing representatives to create an even baseline with which users can evaluate politicians.
“The goal of our hub is to provide that same quality and availability of information that a lot of us have for our federal representatives, but on the state level,” said O’Shea.
“All [policy] affects us. […] That’s really the basis of onAir.”
— Adia McLaughlin, Honors College senior; Communication and Government and International Politics double major; Student Government Vice President
Currently, Virginia is the first state to have a Democracy onAir hub, and Mason is the first onAir university chapter. McLaughlin is the president of Mason’s onAir group, which connects with more than 20 representatives. However, McLaughlin has a different relationship to the organization than some others.
“I’m from North Carolina, and I vote in North Carolina,” explained McLaughlin. “But by becoming closer to Fairfax representatives, […] I’ve been able to advocate for my fellow GMU students who do have stakes specifically here.”
Democracy onAir intends to spread to more regions of Virginia by reaching out to students at universities across the state in hopes of creating new onAir chapters. The organization also hopes to expand to more states in the future.
“The reason Mason was such a great pick to start is because we have so much civic engagement already on this campus,” said McLaughlin. “It wasn’t hard to find students who were willing to put in the time [and effort] to collect all of this data.”
At the end of the colloquium, O’Shea and McLaughlin encouraged all the students to leave their mark at Mason by creating their own unique paths to achieve their goals. The two hope that onAir shows students that there are always innovative and more effective ways to accomplish something than what may be traditional.
“There’s a lot of really great ways that you can use technology to engage with the world and change things, and we hope we’re an example of that for people,” said O’Shea of his and McLaughlin’s contributions to onAir.
“All [policy] affects us,” said McLaughlin. “That’s really the basis of onAir.”
For the past 3 and 1/2 years, numerous Mason students, faculty, staff, and alumni have led the way in developing the US onAir network.
Some of the key contributors include:
Todd Gillette, GMU PhD in Neuroscience 2015, Chair – Democracy onAir and lead developer of the onAir software;
Tim O’Shea, GMU BA Government and International Politics 2019 and Georgetown Law 2022, first US onAir Executive Director and Director – Democracy onAir;
Shuaib Ahmed, GMU BS IT 2019 and GMUMasters student in Cyber, former Director and manager- Democracy onAir;
Jim McLean, GMU BA CVPA 2001 and GMU instructional technologist, imaging and aircasting advisor;
Gary Kreps, GMU professor and former chair of communication, communication advisor;
Lourdes Fernandez, GMU English profess and PhD 2019, two significant focus groups with her classes;
Aram Zucker-Scharff, GMU BA English 2011 and BS IT 2011, lead developer and CTO for onAir networks;
Meredith Cary, GMU adult education student, lead inspiration and sponsor for the Speak Up 1-minute videos and contest
Email: Parvin Ghahremai
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
David Bulova Town Hall
By: Virginia onAir
When: Saturday February 2nd at 9:00 to 11:00 am
Where: Fairfax City Hall Council Chambers at 10455 Armstrong Street (parking in rear of City Hall offices)
Web: Recorded by Nic Barta for Virginia onAir edited by Ny-jhee Jones.
Summary of the event – Go to this post.
Students and other people in the Mason community who are not part an onAir internship program, can contribute to the chapter in many ways including:
- Curate posts on issues, representatives, candidates, and committees;
- Aggregate content for a Hub’s top news articles, commentary, videos, and livestreams;
- Moderate a post’s forum comments;
- Be a producer, host, or discussant for an aircast;
- Submit a 1-minute Speak Up video and participate in an aircast with representatives;
- Help promote the chapter and its activities;
- Author an adovcate post
- Donate to Democracy onAir or your organization become a sponsor
Most of the above ways to to contribute require less than an hour per week depending on the nature and extent of engagement.
For more information on how to participate in onAir activities, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beyond helping to reinvigorate a more civil and vibrant democracy in their state, chapter members will:
- Have the same benefits as people and organizations that purchase premium memberships including a full member profile post and the ability to author or co-author issue related posts
- Be able to network Virginia elected officials and political organizations
- Acquire and develop their political communication and media skills
- Gain experience and credibility to pursue job opportunities including with Democracy onAir and other democracy promoting organizations
Democracy onAir welcomes any US citizen to apply for an internship. We require a minimum commitment of 6 hours per week.
We have a special interest in working with undergraduate and graduate students majoring in government, communications, media, or a related field with a passion to improve democracy in the US. Students (and other US citizens) who want to intern with Democracy onAir this year can submit their resume along with an introductory email articulating why you are interested in being a Democracy onAir intern and include a link, if appropriate, to your relevant academic program (internship, capstone project, research project etc.) to: email@example.com.
See this post for more information on our internships.
The above Arlington Fellows programs are 6 credit programs requiring approximately 20 hours per week of engagement.