April 30, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
I still cannot believe that my time here at William & Mary is coming to a close. It’s the end of the semester, and TOMORROW is the last day of classes! I have one class at 10am that will be THE last class that I sit in as an undergraduate student at the College. Where did this year go?!
Since the new set of summer Admission interns will be starting in a couple of months, my blog will sadly also be “graduating” and leaving along with me. SO, I’m going to use it while I can.
One highlight from recent weeks is my incredible rock climbing class trip to the Shenandoah National Park. All semester, I’ve been climbing the indoor rock walls in Adair Hall in preparation of this big weekend trip. Believe it or not, I climbed a 120 foot cliff! (There are pictures to prove it, which I might try to add later.) I’ve definitely had an amazing semester being able to take classes that have challenged me in so many new, crazy ways that otherwise I doubt I ever would have experienced.
There have been many events such as my fraternity’s spring formal and the age-old tradition of the King and Queen Ball that happens each year under a huge white tent in the Sunken Garden. I also had my 22nd birthday celebration last week where I was able to catch up with old friends.
Everything about my last semester has been fantastic, and I’m so excited for what’s next. In just five weeks, I will be packing up my life and moving to Phoenix, Arizona to do Teach for America. I will be teaching elementary school, and I’m so excited to join the Corp to personally contribute toward the battle against educational inequality.
To wrap up this post, I want to share why I originally chose to attend William & Mary–the same thing I said at the end of my very last campus tour today… When I was doing the college search (which seems so long ago now), my visit to William & Mary outshined every other school I visited in that I truly felt that students here care deeply about the school and each other. The level of engagement and involvement here is unparalleled, and I feel like I am a member of a tight-knit community and family. I am going to miss this place terribly, and I don’t know if anything else will ever compare to the sense of belonging that I have felt these past four years.
March 20, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
So, I know I haven’t blogged in awhile. This last semester of senior year has been ridiculously busy–but mostly in a good way. There are so many updates I could share, but I want to start with a major change that took place at the beginning of the semester.
I’ve mentioned the organization known as UCAB (University Center Activities Board), the campus programming board that brings big events to campus, in my blog several times. After the University Center was renamed to be the Sadler Center last year, UCAB decided that it was also ready for a change.
After a semester long process of obtaining feedback from students and members of the organization, narrowing down options, and brainstorming options for UCAB’s new image, the organization decided on a new name that was kept secret during winter break while graphic designers were working on a new logo and identity.
At the beginning of this semester, we unveiled AMP: Alma Mater Productions. The name comes from William & Mary’s nickname of being “the Alma Mater of a Nation“. The new name and image is more professional and is just plain cool in my opinion. Check out our revamped website at web.wm.edu/amp.
February 17, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
If you take a tour of our campus, a reoccurring theme will be the emphasis on tradition at the College. With such a rich and long history, William & Mary truly takes pride in its yearly customs. Participating in the same ceremonies as so many students who have come before me makes my connection to the College even stronger.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to pick favorites amidst so many traditions, but the Yule Log Ceremony is at the top of my list. Each year at the end of the fall semester, students gather in the Wren courtyard to usher in the holiday season and take a much needed break from studying for finals. At the event, students are given a holly branch upon their arrival that would later be thrown onto the burning yule log in the Wren Great Hall. The area is illuminated by torches that are scattered throughout the courtyard. It begins with representatives from cultural and religious groups on campus reading the various holiday stories. The Vice President of Student Affairs also shares a poem entitled “‘Twas the Night Before Finals”. Then the President of the College, clad in a Santa Claus costume, reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas to the student body. The presidents of the two honor societies that sponsor the event, Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), speak as well.
As president of ODK, it was my job to explain the history of the Yule Log right after President Reveley left the stage which was definitely a tough act to follow. I explained how the log was at one time burned throughout the 12 days of Christmas and shared that the tradition was started at W&M back in 1930 (despite some changes since then). It was so strange–and at the same time really neat–standing at the podium and seeing the Yule Log tradition from a “behind-the-scenes” perspective.
Check out a video from Yule Log!
Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is a society of juniors and seniors of the College who are honored for their superior scholarship, outstanding leadership, and exemplary character.
February 3, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
You see, Homecoming at William & Mary is like Christmas to me. It comes once a year, and I get to see people that I love and have missed terribly. It’s the one time of year that W&M alumni can act like they are back in college and no one will judge them for it. As an actual undergrad, I get to have fun with them while they’re pretending. Since joining a fraternity, I suddenly have many years worth of alumni coming back for Homecoming, and it’s always interesting hearing their stories of how the College has changed since their time.
Several weeks before Homecoming this year, I received an email from our class president, Kevin Dua, saying “Congratulations! You’re royalty.” Apparently, there is a Homecoming Court each year with a male and female representative from each class, and I was nominated and picked to be the male Senior Class Representative! At first I thought it was a joke, but when Kevin in the weeks before homcoming kept calling me “King” and outlined my “royal responsibilities” at homecoming, I new it was legit.
Keshia (my royal partner in crime) and I participated in the Pep Rally that involved donuts, string, and us making fools of ourselves. We also rode in a convertible on the day of Homecoming in the parade down Duke of Gloucester street in Colonial Williamsburg. It was quite the spectacle–especially since one of the two cars was MIA, and all 8 members of the court had to ride in a single car. The entire court was presented on the football field at half time, and Keshia and I each received an engraved plate as the senior representatives. The whole thing seems so silly, and I remember laughing a lot when I told my friends and family from home about it. However, I can say that I will never forget this homecoming and how much fun I had. I absolutely can’t wait for next year when I, myself, will be a returning alumnus who pretends to be a college student again!
January 29, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
Before this spring semester started, I decided that I was going to look for a part-time job to earn some extra money before I graduate. Literally right after I made this resolution, I recieved an email from someone in Admission asking if I wanted to be a phone worker. The job is basically what I did this summer when I wasn’t conducting interviews, which is PERFECT. I accepted, and I am currently down in the Admissions Office basement for my second day of work for the semester.
Being down here makes me even more nostalgic about the summer I spent in Williamsburg and my fellow interns–two of which have now already graduated! Two days ago, all but one of the interns showed up to help with an Information Session for perspective 2009 Senior Interviewers (and that’s only because Marques no longer lives in the ‘burg). Although we all know that no one can possibly live up to us, there will soon be NEW interns–a crazy thought for me.
It’s pretty boring down here in the phone worker room (or “dungeon” as we call it), but I have the summer intern playlist and the anticipation for our newly established Intern Dinner dates on Tuesdays to keep me going.
January 16, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
My favorite (while at the same time most challenging) class last semester was Ad and Marketing Communications, which is offered each fall in the Mason School of Business. On the first day of class, Professor Rahtz informed the class that we are an advertising agency–my section being the Gold Agency–and that we would be working with real clients who have real-world marketing needs.
My team was assigned to the client I was really hoping for: the Green Leafe, which is my absolute favorite place to go out. Green Leafe Inc. recently opened another location in New Town and is planning to open a new venue called The Underground located beneath the current Leafe downtown. It is going to be a nightlife option unlike any other offered near campus with more of a night club and lounge atmosphere.
It was our job to make recommendations about the product in terms of the design and layout of the space and also a marketing campaign for its launch. I really enjoyed working with the owner of the Leafe during the project. My team appropriately came up with the slogan “Don’t go out. Go under.” that really emphasizes how new and different the venue is going to be. I think students are going to love it, and I’m just disappointed that it won’t be finished before I graduate…
Check out the Mason School of Business website.
January 14, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
Each year my fraternity picks one William & Mary lady to be our “sweetheart”, which basically means that she’s fantastic and friends with most all of the brothers. Last semester, I aspired to also have the same title for one of the sororities on campus that I personally love. So, at one of their meetings, I made a cheesy sign and brought all of the sisters fruit snacks. It worked, and I couldn’t have been more excited to be Alpha Chi Omega’s Sweetheart!
One perk of being the sweetheart is that I get to attend their date parties and formals each semester. One was at the Virginia Aquarium, and another at the Williamsburg Community Center where I was officially presented as sweetheart with a red carnation in hand. I will also be pictured in their sorority composite this year, which is pretty sweet.
Last semester was one of the toughest that I experienced academically, but I was able to still maintain that all important balance of academic and social life. I think that William & Mary’s reputation for rigorous academics can often lead people to believe that students don’t have that much. I can safely say that this misconception is false.
January 11, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
Back in early October, nine members of the University Center Activities Board (UCAB) Exec Board, piled into a school van at 4:15AM to begin our journey to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the 2008 NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) South Conference where about 60 programming boards from the southern region of the United States were present.
UCAB is William & Mary’s primary programming board and is entirely student run. We organize most of the major events on campus ranging from concerts, slam poets, and comedians to famous speakers and a large-scale end of classes bash. We attended this conference not only to represent the College but also to seek out potential performers and talent to bring to campus this spring semester. We attended showcases, educational sessions on how to be a better board, and had some fun while we were at it. Genny (Publicity Chair) and I (Director of Public Relations) even presented an Ed Session to students from other universities about how to deal with common PR problems affecting programming boards. As you can see, I was pretty excited to be there.
Prior to Chattanooga, programming boards were able to submit applications for awards with the top one being the Board of Excellence (BOE). A small number of schools (William & Mary being one of them) were then chosen to make a presentation to judges at the conference. On the last night there, all of the attendees gathered for the closing banquet and awards ceremony. When the BOE award presenters began to talk about the winning school, mentioning a programming board of 150 members with new sustainability initiatives and an iconic squirrel mascot, we could not contain our excitement. William & Mary’s UCAB is NACA South’s Board of Excellence for 2008, which is a huge honor! Also at the banquet, Katy, our Director of the General Board, was given the 2008 Student Leader Award, and it couldn’t be more deserved.
We made the 11 hour drive back to Williamsburg with a necessary dinner stop at Chipotle, and we couldn’t wait to tell the rest of UCAB and William & Mary about the prestigious award.
January 8, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
After the whirlwind that was orientation last semester, my next major focus was fraternity recruitment. Before classes began, the Greek community hosted “Meet the Greeks” on Yates Field to give the incoming freshmen a chance to get to know the fraternities and sororities on campus.
Each Fraternity sported new Rush t-shirts and took advantage of the opportunity to meet men that were new to the college and also potential recruits. As you can see, my fraternity decided on a Top Gun throwback shirt.
Fraternities use an informal recruitment process that involves each fraternity hosting several open houses at the same time to allow interested men to see what each one is all about. They host campus-wide social events to meet potential new members and also to provide a social outlet to the whole campus. Unit C’s dance parties included themes ranging from the 80′s to Pirates (my personal favorite).
The fraternities later decide who would make positive additions to their organization and offer those men a bid to join. In my second and last semester as Theta Delta Chi’s president, I was extremely pleased that we recruited and initiated seven quality men into the organization.
Going into the spring semester, my advice to anyone considering Greek life–no matter what year you are–would be to check out the open houses and social events that are offered. I can’t emphasize enough how much I have benefited from the Greek system during my time at the College. I’ve gained valuable leadership experience, made so many new friends I might not have met otherwise, and (most importantly) have had so much fun.
Check out W&M’s Greek Life Website
January 7, 2009 by Thomas Milteer
My senior year and the fall 2008 semester exploded onto the scene as soon as I moved into my fraternity house just four days after completing my internship in the Office of Admission (which I’m still often nostalgic about).
After two whole days of training, W&M’s orientation aides (myself included) anxiously awaited the arrival of the incoming class of 2012. Every orientation aide (OA) is assigned one or two co-OAs, and each group is given a freshman hall to orient. I could not have been assigned a better partner in crime. On move-in day Katherine and I, clad in our bright yellow OA shirts and sweet, pink Botetourt Complex sunglasses, blasted music on Fauquier 3rd Upper hall as our freshman guys arrived.
We spent the next four days getting to know the guys of F3U, introducing them to other freshmen halls, and taking them to all of their orientation info sessions and activities.
On the left is a picture of all of us while the guys are waiting to take their Honor Pledge in the Wren Building. This was our less serious pose. By the end of Orientation, the guys were calling me and Katherine “Mom and Dad” and even presented us with “W&M Mom” and “W&M Dad” items from the school bookstore.
At the end of Orientation and right after classes start, the OAs take their freshmen hall to Opening Convocation where our guys received their “Class of 2012″ buttons and walked through the Wren Building to be greeted by cheering upperclassmen on the other side. The picture on the right is all of us looking pretty spiffy before the ceremony.
Katherine and I saw our boys all around campus during the semester, and we also took them on a ghost tour with another freshman hall. We are anticipating many “family reunions” next semester, and I can’t wait!