INTERVIEWS BY LEIGH NORMAN, HAILEY BULLIS
Student: Cody Borden
WHAT CLUBS ARE YOU APART OF AT MASON?
I am really involved with Student Media. I have my own television show for Mason Cable Network, I help out behind the scenes with Mason Cable News, I’m a member for the Society of Professional Journalists, I’m employed by WGMU as a basketball game engineer and I’m a member of the professional cinematic arts fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha.
FOR YOUR SHOW, THE MASON CABLE NIGHT SHOW, WHAT GOES INTO PLANNING THAT?
Well, I do a lot with it. I find the guests, I’m the host, I’m the director, I write the scripts, I’m the chief PR person for it, so everything besides like hitting record on the camera I do by myself. So it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun and it’s probably [my] favorite thing that I do at Mason.
I HEARD YOU ARE HAVING A HALLOWEEN SPECIAL? WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE SPECIAL?
Yes. [The special] is airing on Halloween at 7:30 p.m. on Mason Cable Network. So, my guest for the episode is the Jiu-Jitsu club. They’re a newer organization on campus so we’ll be promoting them. And then after the interview, I’m going to actually go to one of their practices and do jiu-jitsu. I have no jiu-jitsu experience, but I’m going to do that. That’s going to be a lot of fun. And then also I convinced one of my professors to come to a haunted trail with me, and [we] got permission to wear GoPro’s and like just capture … our reaction and experience at the haunted trail, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?
I really like watching stuff. Like movies and sports and stuff, I’m a big hockey fan. I listen to music like twenty-four seven, I’m [very] into music. I collect sneakers, stuff like that.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GRADUATE?
In a perfect world? I would get a job at a late-night TV show—either The Tonight Show or maybe something SNL [Saturday Night Live] or something—but if that doesn’t happen, just like any job in the television industry, either behind or in front of the camera would be great, but we’ll see what happens.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BROADCAST?
Well, when I came to college, I originally wanted to be a sports broadcaster, but I felt like I wouldn’t have been very happy doing that because I would have limited myself just to sports so I wanted to figure out a way where I could do a little bit of everything—little bit of TV, little bit behind the camera and little bit of sports. So that’s when I thought of my show because I’ve always loved Late Night, they have assortment of different guests so I thought that would be the best way to incorporate all of the different aspects of Mason life into one key thing.
SO, YOU ARE ON THE SECOND SEASON OF YOUR LATE NIGHT SHOW. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EPISODE?
Yes, I started it last year. Last year—I mean I like them all don’t get me wrong—but last year, we had an episode where I had a rapper and an a cappella [group] on, and it was the first time having two guests on the same show. They both performed and then I got to interview both of them. So, their performances were like out of [this] world. They were so good. So, that was probably my favorite episode because I wasn’t expecting it. This sounds awful but like I wasn’t expecting it to be that good, but it came out amazing and they completely caught me off guard so it was a great treat.
Faculty: Robert Daniels
WHAT DO YOU DO AT MASON?
My job is Southside restaurant’s customer service specialist. My duty is to make sure customers have the best spread possible. If they have concerns or complaints, I listen to them.
WHAT’S THE FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of the job is absolutely interacting with the students. Because I was told by my mother a long time ago that gifts don’t come wrapped in boxes, they came wrapped in the human beings … And working at Mason with the students—they absolutely make me understand and believe. You all make me very happy, so when I’m in, it makes it all true. People are really gifts because you’re all the best gift I’ve had in a very long time.
ARE MASON STUDENTS REALLY THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE HAD IN A WHILE?
Yes ma’am, really! When I first came to Mason, I wasn’t doing so well. Had a lot of things going on in my personal life that I was very unhappy about … Meeting the children here, though, it kind of brought my heart back around and made me feel a lot better. I think of all y’all as cardiologists because when you can fix the broken heart of a stranger, it kinda makes you a heart surgeon.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My children. D’Angelo and Angel. He’s 22, she’s 13, they are my greatest accomplishments. They give me a chance to be still here when I’m not here. Those are people that I’m going to train and mold the minds of to show them how to make their way through the world. So, their impact in the world is going to be what I taught them.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET UP IN THE MORNING?
When I woke up, I was given the extremely beautiful gift I didn’t do anything for, the gift of life. I didn’t do anything to deserve it, but He gave it to me again that particular day. So, I’m motivated because I’m living by the law of love. I live by the idea that you’re supposed to give love to people because it’s the most important thing in the world. So, I’m motivated to go out and give the love away. I give it to my children, I try to give it to every person. The love you live by is a love called “agape love.” It’s a Greek word, it means you love all people just because they exist, not because you know them or they did something for you.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO SAY TO THE STUDENTS AT MASON?
If I could change anything for the students at Mason, it would probably be their level of socializing with each other. Sometimes I see people at the dining hall and they’re sitting at the table together, but everyone’s got their phone in their hands. Interaction with other human beings is what makes us better … We need to enjoy each other more because we’re a beautiful thing, we’re the Earth’s most beautiful thing.
Alumni: Colin Hart
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
I am an investment banker and I specialize in investing in emerging markets as well as commercial real estate.
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES WHILE YOU WERE AT MASON?
I think my fondest memory is dining with my colleagues at the graduate school and exchanging stories about what we’re doing at work and in our careers.
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
I think, if there’s anything unique about me, [it’s] the international aspect of my career and my background. I grew up overseas, came back to the United States to study and went back overseas to work, particularly in challenging areas such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
WHY WERE YOU OVERSEAS?
I was an investment banker working for an investment fund in Eastern Europe based in Bucharest, Romania, and also prior to that I was working with the Carlisle group, developing projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
WHAT’S IS DIFFERENT ABOUT INVESTMENT BANKING IN THE UNITED STATES VERSES IN SAUDI ARABIA OR EUROPE?
Well, it’s much more difficult to find investment opportunities in places such as Saudi Arabia or Eastern Europe than it is in the United States. The markets are underdeveloped or not nearly as developed as in the United States. The financing is more rudimentary, and the acquisition process is challenging because [the] rule of law is more difficult in emerging markets than it is in the United States, so it’s basically both a bureaucratic challenge as well as a financing challenge to do deals internationally in the emerging markets.
WHAT ADVICE TO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT MASON STUDENTS?
Well I can only speak to the Mason students that would be going through the same channel I did which was the international policy and trade at the Schar School [of Policy and Government]. And my advice would be to take the opportunities that come your way whenever possible despite where they might lead you in terms of location or type of job. You have to be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone to find things that are really exciting and interesting to do in life.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PLACE THAT YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO?
My favorite place to travel is probably France. It’s a beautiful country and my wife is from there.
IF YOUR HOUSE WAS ON FIRE, ASSUMING EVERYONE GOT OUT SAFE, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD SAVE?
Probably my photographs. All the things I’ve taken pictures of in the past. It would probably be a very precious thing for me to save … It’s a collection of memories. If you have evidence of having spent some time with a person or place, it’s always important to keep those.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTH?
Organizational skills. I think organizing is really the key to success … you don’t necessarily need to be the smartest person in the group, but if you’re organized you can get a significant amount of things accomplished where others might give up.
Organization: Off-Campus Student Services
WHAT DOES YOUR OFFICE DO?
Off-Campus Student Services provides advising to off-campus Mason students. Our student advisors are undergraduate students who live off campus … We do run off-campus housing locator website, where students can login with their Mason credentials, and they can see property listings and connect with other Mason students looking for roommates (sic). Our advisors will sit down and go through that website with the students and help them find stuff based on their budget, location and if they do not have car, also help them to find access to shuttle (sic) ... Another thing we do is to reach out to first-year students who miss the preamble in the beginning of the year. We have them come in and give them information about campus activities, and also discuss with them all the resources available on campus.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING PART OF THIS OFFICES?
My favorite part being involved in this office is definitely meeting with both the students who work in our office as off-campus student advisors, as well as meeting other off-campus students (sic).
HOW ARE YOUR SERVICES UNIQUE?
Our services are unique because we provide attention to off-campus housing. We provide access to off-campus housing locator which is the website specifically for the Mason students and faculty (sic). We provide housing fairs throughout the year, where we bring in property owners, apartment complexes and services like furniture rentals and also Cox Cable. It really provides the opportunity to students to directly meet the property owners and get information.
DO YOU THINK YOUR OPEN DOOR POLICY IS ONE OF YOUR CORE STRENGTHS?
Students can … make appointments online where they can schedule to meet with one specific advisor. But we always have open door policy from 9 to 5, which is really awesome. Students are also welcome to hang out at our office between classes and any quick question by the students can be answered without setting up any formal appointment. At our office, we also provide students free coffee, hot chocolate, television and refrigerator which students can use throughout the day (sic).
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK YOUR SERVICES ARE HAVING ON GMU STUDENT POPULATION?
Our services provide students with peace of mind when they come in with worry (sic). Whenever students approach us about their concerns and problems, our advisors meet with the students and make them feel so much better when they leave the office. Another problem students tend to face is no sense of belonging, they do not know how to get involved in various organizations on campus. Our off-campus student advisors guide them on how to engage in several activities on campus, so students feel that Mason is a place for them.