Mason in the News

Posted: April 24, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Saturday, April 18, Chicago Tribune

Prom on a Budget: How Schools, Parents and Teens are Striving to Save on Year’s Big Dance

“This year, with a faltering economy, such memories [of the high school prom] come at a steeper cost. Now is not the time to drop hundreds of dollars for one night. To cut costs, schools are changing venues, aggressively negotiating prices, doing their own decorations and offering shuttle-bus services. Students are doing their part, making their own dresses, going dateless and finding other ways to scrimp. Proms are deeply rooted in tradition, giving teenagers a fancy send-off into adulthood, said Amy Best, a sociology professor at George Mason University, who has written a book on the topic. ‘We’ve constructed a narrative around prom,’ Best said. ‘We have said, ‘it’s a night to remember, a night that can’t be missed.’ High school students are inundated with that message. If they don’t go, they will have a big gaping hole in their memories. We’ve created a circular, self-propelling narrative that helps push itself.’”

Saturday, April 18, Washington Post

Growth in Jobless Rate Slows Across Area

“Bureau of Labor Statistics data also show that Maryland’s unemployment rate rose to 6.9 percent from 6.7 percent and Virginia’s to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent. The direction of the March rate in the District and pace of the increases in Maryland and Virginia stand in stark contrast to the sharp jumps in unemployment that occurred as recently as February. But Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, said the number of people who have left the labor force in the three jurisdictions is higher than the number of people who joined the ranks of the unemployed. He said, based on his estimate of the BLS data, that 2,600 people in the District, 5,900 in Maryland and 7,100 in Virginia are not showing up in the numbers. ‘It could be that some of the long-term unemployed have quit looking or the newly unemployed are so discouraged they’re not looking,’ Fuller said. They’re thinking, ‘I’m not going to get a job, why should I try?’”

Wednesday, April 22, Washington Post

To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green

“It seems foolproof: nonprofits using the power of the Internet to raise money through a clever Facebook application. After all, the web earned gobs of cash for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. And besides, going online means sending fewer fund-raising letters, which makes it appealing to penny-pinchers and environmentalists alike. But it turns out that approach doesn’t always work. The Facebook application Causes, hugely popular among nonprofit organizations seeking to raise money online, has been largely ineffective in its first two years, trailing direct mail, fund-raising events and other more traditional methods of soliciting contributions. Alan J. Abramson, an expert on philanthropy at George Mason University, estimates that less than 3 percent of all fund raising is done online. ‘Nonprofits raising money through the web is growing, but it’s still pretty small,’ he said.”

Wednesday, April 22, U.S.

10 Secrets to Finding Happiness During the Recession

“How can we truly feel happy right now, in this moment when our 401(k)’s and house values are tanking? When our jobs are threatened or already lost? U.S. News posed this question to leading happiness researchers to find out what tools we can employ to stay upbeat in gloomy days. While it’s true that some lucky folks are born with sunny dispositions, others, according to the latest studies, can learn to be happy. How? ‘We need to move away from the concept of trying to fill our days with frequent pleasurable moments and fewer negative moments,’ explains Todd Kashdan, a professor of positive psychology at George Mason University and author of ‘Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life.’ ‘What truly provides satisfaction is having a meaning and purpose in life, which is doubly important in the midst of this current economic nightmare.’”

Thursday, April 23, Washington Post

Bringing Development Into Focus

“Arlington County recently completed a 53-minute documentary detailing the history of its fight during the 1960s and ‘70s to put as many Metro stops in Arlington as possible and avoid the suburban sprawl typical of neighboring counties. Zachary Schrag, a George Mason University professor who wrote a book about the history of Metro, said Arlington’s approach was indeed different from those of neighboring communities. ‘Arlington saw ‘smart growth’ before other jurisdictions did,’ he said, not only because the county pushed for more Metro stops but also because it fought an initial plan to build the Orange Line entirely along Interstate 66. That would have been cheaper at the time but would have bypassed the county’s commercial corridor and hurt plans to revitalize the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.”

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