WGMU Exclusive: Opioid Crisis Symposium

On April 19, a slew of researchers, scholars, and politicians visited George Mason University to propose solutions toward ending the opioid crisis in Northern Virginia.

By: Jackie Reed

FAIRFAX, VA – On April 19, a slew of researchers, scholars, and politicians visited George Mason University to propose solutions toward ending the opioid crisis in Northern Virginia. At 8:15 a.m., panelists, researchers, and politicians gathered in Dewberry Hall to begin the all-day symposium.

Opening the dialogue was William Hazel, senior advisor for strategic initiatives and policy at Mason. As former Virginia Secretary for Health and Human Resources, Hazel is greatly familiar with initiatives that fight against the opioid crisis. First speaker after Hazel’s introduction was David Wu, the university’s provost and executive vice president. Wu emphasized Mason’s commitment to developing “trans-disciplinary research” – starting at the collegiate level can have an impact on public health issues today.

After Wu’s introduction, governor of Virginia Ralph Northam presented his call to action to eradicate such an epidemic, by defining it as the “largest challenge” Virginia faces today. He stated, “we lost 1,227 – 1,227 Virginians to opioid overdoses in 2017. And I would like to tell you that the numbers are going down but they are not.”

As a governor and a physician, Northam explains how attainable narcotics are, whether prescribed or sold otherwise. “Access to heroin is not difficult in this day and age, and as you know, that heroin is now often laced with either fentanyl or par fentanyl, which is about 100 times as potent than fentanyl,” Northam said. Once consumers have access to these drugs, even after one use, they can become addicted.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.” Wilson Compton, deputy director of NIDA, considers the market increase of drug usage and exposure as “an extraordinary situation.” Compton noted, “Dr. Hazel and the governor reminded us that this did start with over-prescribing. That was the spark that started this fire – through a really well-intentioned desire – treat pain more effectively. That is our goal. We need to make sure that we do a good job of taking care of patients with pain.” Because of the easy access and prone nature to drug addiction, physicians and pharmacists have an integral role in educating patients and preventing misuse of such prescriptions.

Prevention, acute management, and general management are the main takeaways from the symposium. Programs hoping to eradicate the epidemic require innovation, collaboration among several perspectives, and dissemination of backed and current statistics.

Feature Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

WGMU Exclusive: Patriot Activities Council (PAC)

By: Christian Hernandez

WGMU’s Christian Hernandez hosts an interview with Regine Victoria, director of programming for GMU’s Patriot Activities Council (PAC).

PAC hosts a variety of events and programming. Their active student leadership team works to lift spirits and bring the Mason community together.

More information can be found at si.gmu.edu/pac/.

Feature Photo By (GMU Student Involvement/Official Website).

WGMU Exclusive: Alpha Phi Omega

By: Robert McGreevy

WGMU’s Robert McGreevy hosts Kevin Embrey, member of GMU’s Alpha Phi Omega.

Alpha Phi Omega is an inclusive, co-ed fraternity that promotes leadership, fellowship, friendship, and service.

More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/apogmu/.

Feature Photo By (Alpha Phi Omega/Facebook).

WGMU Exclusive: Society of Professional Journalists

By: Josh Biedrycki

WGMU’s Josh Biedrycki hosts an interview with Lauryn Cantrell, president of GMU’s Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

The GMU chapter organizes industry events that connects students to media professionals who work in broadcasting, journalism, and media news outlets. Such opportunities offer insight into the media field through networking, socials with other campus SPJ chapters, conferences, and workshops.

More information can be found at gmuspj.blogspot.com/?m=1.

Feature Photo By (GMU SPJ/Facebook).

WGMU Exclusive: Patriot Pantry

By: Quianna Marissa

WGMU’s Quianna Marissa hosts an interview with Gary Hooker, Director of George Mason University’s Patriot Pantry.

Founded in December 2014, GMU’s Patriot Pantry (originally called the Pop-Up Pantry) is housed under GMU’s Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC). Mainly run by volunteers, they provide access to food items, toiletries, and school supplies to in-need students. The office strives to educate the Mason population about food insecurity and homelessness.

More information can be found at ssac.gmu.edu/patriot-pantry/.

Feature Photo By (GMU Patriot Pantry/Facebook).

Cold War Kids Set To Perform At GMU’s Homecoming Week


Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Cold War Kids

Students: $20, $30
Faculty, Staff, Alumni: $30, $40
Guests: $40, $50


Thurs, Feb 8
Doors 7:30 pm // Show 8:00 pm
GMU’s Center for the Arts // Fairfax, VA



By: Jackie Reed

For over a decade, California-based soul rock band Cold War Kids has performed on countless stages, made festival appearances, released viral singles, and taken the indie scene to uncharted territories. Now, they will be the first-ever performance group at Mason’s Homecoming Week.

Anthony McLean, marketing and communications coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement, shared that having a concert for Homecoming Week was in hopes of acclimating new students to Mason, whilst maintaining consistent awareness about what their office offers. “We’re trying to think of new ways that would be more exciting to students”, said McLean. To keep a constant flow of programming between Welcome Week and Mason Day, they figured that adding a show in-between these large-scale events is another opportunity for students to explore their campus in a way unseen before.

Cold War Kids started their musical career with their debut album Robbers & Cowards (2007), a hidden gem completely trickled with anthems and coffeehouse classics. The band made attempts to change their style between albums Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) and Mine Is Yours (2011), but it was not until hits like “Miracle Mile” and “First” to where the band started to top indie charts. It’s all thanks to their fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013) and fifth album Hold My Home (2014), for their greater audience reach. With influences from Modest Mouse and Florence + the Machine, their newest album, LA Divine (2017), is a piano-ridden setlist that plays off of familiar guitar riffs and beach pop undertones. They recently finished up their LA Divine tour in the U.S., and are taking their tour overseas and to music festivals later this year.

Go to Homecoming Week’s event page for full ticket information.



MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Talks #RealNews At Mason


Host of MSNBC’s Hardball Chris Matthews opens up this year’s Mason Communication Forum. Photo By (Kaitlyn Koegler/Office of Student Media).

On Tuesday, October 24, host of MSNBC’s Hardball Chris Matthews opened this year’s Mason Communication Forum with a conversation addressing “fake news” and journalism today.

The conference, named #RealNews2017, was an interactive event that enabled students to exchange insight about today’s “social-mediated world”, first illustrated by Matthews. Though “fake news” has become a hot topic circulating throughout social media platforms, news outlets, and even in 3 a.m. tweets, it is not a new concept. It has always been here.

Today, consumer-run, unedited content initiatives contribute to the disparity among opinions and a misinformed populous. Driving unfiltered ideas and revealing raw content is an unprofessional yet tempting move, all of which can lead to deviance away from the truth. And that is what makes up the role of a journalist today. They strive to repair consensus, expose the absolutes, and inform the public with honesty and clarity.

According to Matthews, there are three rules to journalism. One, is to peer-review and edit. “This is what separates journalists from B.S.”, Matthews said. Second, is to embrace diversity. Viewpoints are no longer linear, and tending to multiple audiences should be made a priority by professionals entering the journalistic field. Last, is “to have to want to make it.” Quality writers attain a passion driven by the truth.

Following Matthews’ keynote address was a panel discussion and speed table sessions from distinguished media professionals. His introduction set a foundation that continued the on-going conversation of what journalism is now. Modern coverage means unveiling the truth, checking the facts, remaining honest, and tuning out outside forces which populate the inter-web today.

Video coverage brought to you by Mason Cable Network: https://youtu.be/pmD61iMYTbM

WGMU: Turtle of the GMU Role-Playing Club

Role Playing Club LogoDJ Ariana Havens interviews Turtle from Mason’s Role-Playing Club to talk about his passion for tabletop role-playing games, the club itself, his best role-playing stories, and when and where they meet!

Interested? The GMU Role-Playing Club meets Saturday nights from 9PM-12AM in the Hampton Roads 6th floor common room. Find them on their page on getconnected.gmu.edu, or email Turtle at J-C-R-O-M-A-R-2-[AT]-MASONLIVE[DOT]GMU[DOT]EDU

The Megaphone Podcast: Sosan Malik

20170929_131104On this week’s episode of The Megaphone, Igor interviews Sosan Malik.

Sosan is one of the editors-in-chief for IV Estate. They talked about student motivation, and she gave good suggestions about how to be an effective student leader and how to motivate your staff. Give it a listen!

Listen HERE:

TEDxGeorgeMasonU “Revival” and Recap

TEDxGeorgeMasonU Conference.docx

Attended by Basma Humadi (Fourth Estate), Igor Stojanov (OSM Media Fellow), and Jackie Reed (WGMU Radio). Photo Courtesy of Igor Stojanov.

By: Jackie Reed

After months of planning and collaboration, the re-scheduled TEDxGeorgeMasonU spring conference was hosted in Dewberry Hall on September 10. With great patience and organization, the board of members crafted a remarkable conference that embodied the idea of “Revival”, referring to both the event and the conversations enveloped within the afternoon meeting. Several students and faculty gazed their attentions to intimate presentations set forth by prolific speakers across Mason’s many disciplines. The underlying questions arose: What is revival, and how can we cultivate change in a proactive way?

Concepts ranged from topics in politics, education, technology, culture, and beyond. The afternoon kicked off with an introduction from co-directors Rohma Hassan and Aisha Shafi. Though the conference was postponed, their hiatus helped the TEDxGeorgeMasonU board members fixate on the “Revival” theme. Hassan and Shafi were elated to share that after months of coordination, they are prepared to reinstate the conference’s return in following years.

Dr. Richard Rubenstein opened up the conversation with his presentation, working to resolve destructive conflicts. The university professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs explained “partisan moralism”, an idea in which people of separate parties will invest in their own beliefs to make judgements about others. Rubenstein said that there is a natural tendency to “demonize” opponents, and because of this, coming to agreements typically will become violent. The professor believes that “non-violent radicalism” is the way to promote significant change in conflicts. Not just to represent a sense of diplomacy and resolution, but a sense of character, too.

Following the university professor was singer-songwriter Brian Bui, a member of GMU’s Music Production Club. His sensitive aura was complete with original songs like “Rollercoaster” and sing-a-long head-bobber “Wanna Get To Know You”. The soft guitar and honest lyricism are rooted in his experiences. His singles on relationships and self-love awakened listeners, leaving all inspired and gratified.

After a brief break, the discussion continued with Dr. Julie Owen, and her talk about how identities can shape leadership into efficacy. The associate professor of Leadership and Integrative Studies emphasized that leadership should be taught in the classrooms. “If we don’t teach leadership, what’s the alternative?” she asked rhetorically. But a part of teaching leadership is also teaching efficacy, which means building confidence and doing meaningful work. To reach satisfaction in work, it would require having a “vicarious experience” and identity awareness, exercising “active mastery” through case studies and community engagement, and understanding physiological states and the meaning of well-being.

Leadership can also be seen as continuing on despite limitations, whether physical, mental, etc. That is something that photojournalist Giles Duley elaborated on in his video presentation, “How a reporter becomes a story”, showed on a projector after Owen’s gripping conversation. Duley is a journalist who got tired of celebrity shoots and switched over to photographing in conflict zones, like Ukraine and Bangladesh. As a triple amputee, he expressed that “losing your limbs does not mean losing your life.”

Another break, but this time, with lunch. Sodexo provided attendees with a catered lunch, coffee, and Turkish treats, like baklava.

Then, Dr. Beth Cabrera took center stage. The author, scholar, and “First Lady” of George Mason shared her stories of mothering in Spain, alluding to her family and its impact on her well-being. 1 in 3 Americans are lonely, according to Cabrera’s research. A multitude of situations factor in, like digital dependency, societal pace, family dynamics, and more. To deviate from feeling lonely, Cabrera suggests that positive relationships will contribute to our well-being proactively. It is a “survival instinct” to look for conflict or negate something, but ultimately, “our well-being is up to us.”

Lyndsay Mikalauskas, another member of GMU’s Music Production Club, serenaded the audience after Cabrera’s invigorating speech. Her inner strength really showed through in originals like “Perpetual” and “60 Milligrams”. Her dreamy vocals and reverbed guitar riffs connected to her experiences with mental illness and sexuality, all of which captivated listeners. 

The last live speaker was Dr. Feras Batarseh, a research assistant professor under the School of Geography and Geoinformation Science. With historical context, he described how artificial intelligence can be used to transform policy making. Because the government handles information through federal agencies and big businesses, given information has an unspoken bias and may not fully account for the opinion of the American people. With angst, he suggested that the federal government can govern the public transparently through data collection and analytics from open source domains.

The conference ended with a video of “The pursuit of ignorance”, led by neuroscientist Stuart Firestein. He used wittiness and unaltered comedy to explicate the importance of active curiosity. Drawing from his work as a professor, he learned that “we don’t talk about what we know, we talk about what we don’t know.” He compared concepts like the iceberg theory, the onion theory, the “magic well” theory, and even the “ripples on a pond” theory, to mark his own definition of knowledge. With more knowledge comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes more questions, leading to more discovery.

Across multiple disciplines, speakers and attendees drove conversations that encouraged critical thinking. There is no linear answer that defines “revival”, because it can be considered within separate contexts. The conference activated collaborative discussions which acted as catalysts for change among several social issues, ideologies, and concepts.

Special thanks to board members Rohma Hassan (co-director), Aisha Shafi (co-director), Huong Cao (marketing director), Mouniker Nauduri (treasurer), Sabrine Baiou (discussion leader), and Sara Heming (faculty advisor), Sodexo, and production crew for putting on a insightful conference.



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