Mateen, 22, is an ambassador with the Center for Advancement of Well-Being and part of Mason’s Strengths Academy, which uses Gallup’s StrengthFinders assessment to pinpoint individual and organizational talents. The rising junior is developing a program he hopes to kick off this summer of student-to-student coaching to help students identify their strengths and use them to reach academic and personal goals.
Spring Into Well-Being Is Over, but George Mason Junior Keeps the Message Alive
By Damian Cristodero
For Rashaan Mateen, though George Mason University’s Spring Into Well-Being event ran from only mid March to mid April, it sparked in him a year’s-worth of ideas.
The rising junior, a management and finance major, is developing a program he hopes to kick off this summer of student-to-student coaching to help students identify their strengths and use them to reach academic and personal goals.
A program for the next school year will bring strengths coaching to student organizations to help set priorities and promote cooperation among leaders and members.
“What it did,” Mateen said of the Spring Into Well-Being event, “was send a message to students that the university cares about you. We want you to not only be academically and professionally prepared but financially fit, physically healthy and involved in the community.”
Saying Spring Into Well-Being “exceeded expectations,” Nance Lucas, executive director of George Mason’s Center for Advancement of Well-Being, reported 13,000 Mason students, employees and faculty, as well as local community members, were “engaged” by the 90 events put on by more than 40 Mason organizations throughout all campuses, including Mason Korea.
In Fairfax, more than 1,000 messages of “what well-being looks like to you” were written on mirrors—get it?—placed around campus. More than 800 people wrote what they were thankful for on postcards tacked to a “traveling” wall that was moved around campus as part of the International Day of Happiness.
About 4,500 students responded to the Gallup Student Well-Being survey, 440 attended the Leading to Well-Being conference and 40 signed up to be organ donors, an initiative by Mason Hillel in honor of Steven Davidson, a Mason adjunct professor who died in January.
“Ultimately, it allows students to understand what a well-being university is rather than just hearing about it in campus rhetoric,” Ross Diamond, Mason Hillel’s executive director, said of Spring Into Well-Being.
Just as important, Mateen said, was carrying the message beyond the event.
Mateen, 22, is an ambassador with the Center for Advancement of Well-Being and part of Mason’s Strengths Academy, which uses Gallup’s StrengthFinders assessment to pinpoint individual and organizational talents. Mateen’s initiative of student-led coaching based on those assessments is, he said, “a way to educate and create initiatives around your natural talents— strengths— to help boost those domains of well-being so you can come out into the world a better overall person, not just a well-educated person.”
As for organizations, Mateen said they should put people in roles to help them to succeed.
“If you have somebody whose strength is strategic planning, but they are more introverted, putting them out front to engage members doesn’t play to their strength,” he said. “To engage members, you send out somebody more comfortable talking with people, like someone with a relationship-building strength.”
“He’s the real deal,” Lucas said of Mateen. “He’s curious. He’s open. He is like a sponge for learning. The remarkable aspect about Rashaan is he’s applying his learning in real settings and isn’t waiting until he graduates to make a difference.”
What a great idea.
Write to Damian Cristodero at firstname.lastname@example.org