Fall Semester Kicks Off With Mason Staycation

Photo courtesy of Leo Gao

PAC encourages students to spend their long weekend oncampus


Mason Staycation, organized by the Patriot Activities Council (PAC), marked the first weekend of the fall semester. Thursday, Aug. 29 kicked off the fun-filled five-day event featuring an array of activities, free food and even an inflated mechanical bull.

IVth Night, operating under a “wild west” theme, was the first event of the weekend held on the UB 1 lawn. Students flooded the grass and sidewalks as Drake boomed from the speakers and annual Mason Fight Song t-shirts were handed out in mass. 

As students walked the carnival they munched on anything from chicken nuggets to roasted marshmallows, accompanied by graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores. 

Photo courtesy of Leo Gao

Mason organizations lined the sidewalks with tables to hand out info—as well as plenty of Mason apparel.

To go along with the “wild west” theme of the event, a mechanical bull stood in the center of the lawn. Students shouted and laughed as they took turns to see who could last the longest on the bucking bronco.  When the line for bull riding was too long, students dressed up in cowboy costumes —complete with hats and mustaches— and took photos in front of a western backdrop. 

Along the sidewalk brands such as Amazon Prime, Command Hooks and Scotch Tape hosted their own tents and giveaways while handing out promotional products to students. Beneath the Philips Norelco tent students were invited to sit for a free haircut.

When asked about the event and their first full week on campus, several freshmen expressed how the events helped them feel included in the Mason community. 

Some of the reasoning behind the event was to encourage students to stay on campus during the three-day holiday weekend. In order to change the weekend campus atmosphere at Mason, PAC has partnered with Housing and Residence Life to host events that appeal to both on and off campus students. 

“The goal is to encourage students to stay on campus and come out to the activities to stay as connected as possible, said Mark Keovongphet, the director of publicity for PAC.

Friday night’s activities consisted of comedian Eric O’Shea, who kept the audience laughing with relatable jokes about Halloween costumes, annoying drivers, hippity hops and the fear of your angry mother at the grocery store. 

Photo courtesy of Leo Gao

O’Shea ended the night of endless laughs with a serious message for students, saying, “Go after everything you want and you’ll be just fine … Just smile: You’re exactly where you need to be.” 

The rest of the weekend featured a trip to a Washington Nationals game and outdoor bingo, where students won back-to-school supplies, Mason gear and other cool prizes. Mason’s Staycation weekend ended with an outdoor showing of “Avengers: Endgame.” 

An upcoming event hosted by PAC is the One Love Cultural Festival on Sept. 20, which will allow students to find a community within an organization that represents their culture. This event will feature live music, performances, and of course, food.