Making Someone’s Day, One High Five at a Time

Posted: April 22, 2013 at 5:03 am, Last Updated: April 23, 2013 at 7:02 am

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By Beth Pullias

Photo by Evan Cantwell

The High 5 program, held on days ending in the number 5, help connect off-campus students to campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell

With 20-30 seconds to talk with off-campus students as they head to class, Off-Campus Programs and Services has a few moments to make their day a little bit brighter. Set up in Lot A from 7 to 10:30 a.m., student advisors, a sponsoring office, and staff greet students as part of their High 5 event. Not only do they offer high fives but coffee, snacks, giveaways and information on resources available at Mason.

“The whole premise of the High 5 events are to give a high five and to really make someone’s day,” explains Scott Blevins, associate director of the Office-
Campus Programs and Services. “The High 5 events are short, simple ways to reach out to off-campus students, in the parking lots, on weekdays that end in five — so the fifth, 15th, and 25th.”

Photo by Evan Cantwell

More than a high five: coffee, snacks, giveaways and advice are dispensed. Photo by Evan Cantwell

The Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services created the Off-Campus Programs and Services office last spring to help reach out to first-year and freshman students who live off campus. The office helps integrate students into the Mason community and get them acquainted with the campus and various offices and organizations.

The day doesn’t stop with a morning High 5 event. They also provide a midday program and are back in Lot K from 3 to 6:30 p.m. to greet students with evening classes. Midday activities provide entertainment for students to participate in or watch between their classes. The High 5 event held in the evening reaches off-campus students who take night classes.

The next High 5 event takes place on Thursday, April 25. Patriots for Patriots will cosponsor. The afternoon programming will be at the Victims’ Rights Walk, with an off-campus team participating.

The office has five student advisors who reach out to new students to provide them with resources and information to stay connected on campus.

“Our off-campus advisors are a gateway to the university. Our student advisors plan outreach events to our freshmen and first-time transfer students,” says Blevins.

Parastoo Neyzari, a freshman forensic science major, is an off-campus student advisor. As a student, she is on campus five days a week and stays on campus 8-12 hours a day. Her semester is filled with 17 credit hours, participating in two honor societies and keeping up with friends.

“As a student advisor, I provide resources to off-campus students and assist with events that are geared at connecting students to campus,” says Neyzari. “We provide students with answers to their questions about resources on campus and guide them so they can excel.”

Off-Campus Student Programs and Services offers other events beyond High 5s. During finals, they take over George’s Restaurant in the Johnson Center and turn it into a 24-hour study area. Bollywood movie nights are also held in the Cinema during the semester.

The office is also involved in The Preamble, Welcome Week and Siblings and Family Weekends. Their goal is to enhance these existing programs for off-campus students.

Write to Beth Pullias at bpullias@gmu.edu

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