Skip the Balloons This Valentine’s Day – Johnson Center “No Balloon” Policy

Heart-shaped balloons are a nice way to show your Valentine you care, but please keep these out of the Johnson Center this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is here, spring is on its way, and love and celebrations abound. It’s the perfect time of year for gift-giving, but there’s something to keep in mind. If you’re planning on giving your sweetheart their Valentine’s gift in the Johnson Center, by all means bring the flowers – but make sure you skip the helium balloons.

Balloons are not permitted in the Johnson Center

Why not? No, Student Centers staff aren’t buzzkills. Helium balloons have the potential to set off the JC fire alarm system.

Zachary Pope, Director of University Life Safety and Emergency Management for the Environmental Health and Safety Office, explains, “The Johnson Center has a ban on balloons because there are fire protection detectors that emit a ‘beam’ from one detector to another to create a network. Their purpose is to detect smoke by interrupting the beam.”

Pope said, “If a balloon were to be accidentally released and traveled up to the top of the atrium area and broke one of the beam detectors network, the building would have to be evacuated until we could get the smoke evacuation system reset.”

The smoke evacuation system is difficult to reset, due to the fact that it is placed on the roof of the Johnson Center. Keeping helium balloons out of the JC entirely is the best way to prevent you, and the hundreds of other people in the JC, from having to stop in the middle of your lunch to evacuate the building.

Other campus buildings, such as The Hub and SUB I, don’t have the same restrictions, so if you want to give someone balloons, it’s best to exchange gifts in one of those buildings.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Johnson Center Atrium Kiosks Get a Makeover!

New year, new semester, new look for our kiosks!

Over winter break, Student Centers student employees designed brand new covers for the Johnson Center Atrium kiosks. Mason’s Print Services printed and applied the artwork to the kiosks, and they turned out great.

We created these covers not only to brighten up the Johnson Center but also to better spread the word about all the services that we have to offer the Mason Community, like banners, lockers, Corner Pocket, Event Services, and more!

Student organizations, Mason departments, and external groups reserve over 1,900 kiosks every year through Student Centers, and the Atrium kiosks are the most popular kiosk location. Now the kiosks look great both while bare and while covered with an organization’s table cloth!

Take a look at the beautiful covers below, or swing by the JC to check them out in person!

If you would like to reserve one of these kiosks, please visit our kiosks page, or consider one of our many other advertising opportunities!

Thanks, Raamezah, for your great design work!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Building Status

Monday, January 16, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Most university offices, stores, restaurants, and campus buildings are closed. The only restaurant scheduled to be open is The Globe, which will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The Johnson Center (JC) will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight. Inside the JC, The Bookstore will be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and the Express convenience store will be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. No other offices, restaurants, or stores are scheduled to be open on that day. The Hub and SUB I will be closed.

On Tuesday, January 17, the university will return to a Winter Break Schedule listed here.

Dewberry Renovations

Dewberry Hall is one of the most popular event spaces on campus, housing many exciting events every semester. We always try to keep our facilities looking their best to provide the Mason Community with excellent event services. This semester, we’ve given Dewberry Hall a makeover!

Student Centers made about $25,000’s worth of renovations to the event space, including…

  • Added black trim to the walls
  • Painted the columns and touched up the walls
  • Replaced older lights with new ones
  • Refinished the floor
  • Polished, refurbished, and replaced the floor receptacle covers
  • Replaced bulbs in the ceiling lighting fixtures
  • Installed new wood thresholds in the floor

Take a look at the new changes below!

Workers removed finishes and dirt that had built up for years and brought the flooring back to its original beauty.

Workers removed finishes and dirt that had built up for years and brought the flooring back to its original beauty.

Dewberry Hall, on the ground floor of the Johnson Center, is a versatile and attractive meeting space.

Dewberry Hall, on the ground floor of the Johnson Center, is a versatile and attractive meeting space.

Lots of behind-the-scenes work goes into putting on events and meetings in Dewberry Hall.

Stage lighting gets checked out as part of regular maintenance.

A lot of dirt gets into electrical floor conduits. And they get stepped on. Restoring them to proper condition is a regular task.

Safety first! Those lights are heavy!

The floor receptables, which catch a lot of dirt, were returned to their like-new brass finish.

The walls got a new coat of paint, as well.

Wall sconces provide indirect lighting.

Dewberry is an attractive, versatile meeting space, on the ground floor of the Johnson Center.

Visit Event Services if you would like to hold an event in Dewberry Hall.

Before You Go: Prepare Your Space for Winter Break

As You Leave for Winter Break…

…help The Mason Community reduce our energy use by taking the time to ensure these few simple tasks are done before heading off to your well deserved break.

Pull The Plug

Photo of hand unplugging an appliance

Please turn off and unplug anything that uses electricity around your workstation and in your office.

“Phantom loads” add up fast and can account for almost 10 percent of energy use per year! Unplug things like:

  • Power strips
  • Computers/monitors/printers/fax and copy machines
  • Coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves and space heaters
  • Task lighting (such as desk lamps)

Note on refrigerators: after unplugging make sure you leave the door open to prevent mold.  You should also put a towel down at the bottom of the refrigerator to catch any melting ice or residual water.

Turn Off…

  • What you cannot unplug
  • Main lights if you are the last one out the door


Remove Perishable, Living, and Food-Related Items

Coming back from vacation to a horrible smell from rotting leftovers is probably not the best way to start the new year.  Before your last day of this year in the office, take a few minutes to:

  • Empty the refrigerator
  • Toss all food items in your office and surrounding areas
  • Take plants home with you over the break (they would thank you if they could)

Close And Shut All…

  • Windows and blinds in your workspace

Closed windows with the blinds closed can prevent 25-50 percent of heat loss!

Check In

  • If you have any questions about closing of the Student Centers buildings, write or call 703-993-2921.
  • Let your Student Centers team know if you see issues which should be addressed within your work space or around the public spaces of the Student Centers buildings.  The best way to report work orders is through our work order form found at

Taking the time to complete these few steps can be a tremendous help.  Thank you! Have a safe and happy holiday.