George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

The MIX hosts its grand opening

September 25, 2017   /   by John Hollis

Students are shown inside The MIX space during the inaugural Mason Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator program. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

The MIX will make its official debut on Wednesday when George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera joins Virginia’s Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, regional business leaders, and members of the campus and community to celebrate the grand opening of the new, student-centered collaboration and event space.

Conveniently situated at the heart of George Mason’s Fairfax Campus, the 14,000-square-foot facility is a place where student innovation and experimentation come to life on a daily basis. The building, which was erected in 1967 as the university’s original library, features ample space for co-working, multidisciplinary collaboration and experiential learning with more than 90 tabletop surfaces and an array of different work stations, including 3-D printers, vinyl cutting machines and heat presses.

“It’s all about collaboration,” said Sean Mallon, Mason’s associate vice president for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We want the MIX to be a place where creative and innovative collisions happen every day.”

The event, which begins at 4 p.m., is also a kickoff celebration for Growth4VA, a larger statewide plan that aims to boost Virginia’s economy while expanding access to more high-paying jobs and retaining the state’s lofty business ranking. Mason is one of several schools joining with the state effort, along with VCU and Old Dominion.

Mason is the latest in a growing number of schools seeking to transform open work areas into a 21st-century collaboration hub, joining the likes of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, George Washington, New York University and others. The idea is to encourage students to develop their entrepreneurial, problem-solving and collaboration skills by working together.

The MIX launched this summer when it hosted the inaugural Mason Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator program, but the grand opening was scheduled for September to allow more students and faculty to attend, Mallon said.

Throughout the year, the MIX will host dozens of university-sponsored events, with a focus on multidisciplinary and collaborative activities that bring together multiple stakeholder groups. It will host events and programs aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation at Mason, in the Washington, D.C., area and beyond.

“It’s an open space for everybody,” Mallon said. “It doesn’t belong to any one unit within the university. It’s a university resource, much like the library is a university resource.”