Mason Commemorates Sept. 11 with Day of Service

Posted: September 12, 2013 at 11:36 am, Last Updated: September 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

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By Justin Lafreniere

Mason students and staff organize donated clothing for Women Giving Back. Photo by Evan Cantwell

As part of the Day of Service, Mason students and staff organize donated clothing for Women Giving Back. Photo by Evan Cantwell

In remembrance of the sacrifices on Sept. 11, 2001, George Mason University hosted volunteer events on and off campus for faculty, staff and students to give back to their community and bond over civic responsibility and shared leadership. Designated a Day of Service by the federal government, Wednesday, Sept. 11, was the first annual campuswide observance by the George Mason community on the Fairfax Campus.

The day opened with a ceremony on the Johnson Center North Plaza featuring remarks by Todd Rose, associate dean of University Life, and included a moment of silence and “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes.

“The 9/11 Day of Service is not only about giving back to the community, but remembering who sacrificed their lives in the name of service on Sept. 11, 2001,” says Shannon Toole, an English major. “Their actions were out of selflessness. This 9/11, we serve the Mason community in their honor.”

Toole also helped organize a school supply drive and bake sale as part of the Day of Service. Mason’s Day of Service was an offshoot of the national 9/

Throughout the day, faculty, staff and students had the opportunity to participate in service projects, including the following:

  • Cultivation of the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden, involving weeding, marking paths, harvesting vegetables and other tasks.
  • Information Scavenger Hunt at the Northeast Corner of Innovation Hall to crowd-source a working database of the horticulture in the area, providing information for signage identifying the different plant types.
  • Assisting in the collecting, inspecting and sorting of clothes to be delivered to Women Giving Back.
  • Banner-making at the Child Development Center to thank first responders and veterans.
  • Buddy Poppy Fundraising with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8469. Money collected will go to veterans’ services.
  • School Supply Drive and Bake Sale.
  • VFW Post 8469 library reorganization, painting and lawn care with local veterans.

The day of service concluded at 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center with remarks from Jim Laychak, associate vice president of University Development and president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund. The documentary “Where Soldiers Come From,” was screened, followed by a question-and-answer session with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Heather Courtney.

Kevin Stoy, Living Learning Community coordinator in the Honors College and event committee leader, said that students proposed several of the projects. “The hope is that this eventually will be something that we do year after year and empower students so they take over and lead,” Stoy says.

Write to Robin Herron at

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