Student Clubs and Orgs
April 4, 2014 by Sofia Chabolla
Admitted Class of 2018,
Congratulations on your admission to William & Mary!
Now that you have received your wonderful and exciting emails from the W&M Admission Office, it’s your turn to choose what college to attend! Yes, this is daunting, I know. I remember having SO MANY questions about what I would experience in college over the next four years. So, when making this tough of a choice, I hope that you all will think about what you hope to gain overall as part your collegiate experience. I hope you choose a place that deep down you feel that you can call home. If during your college decision making process you choose ‘Home’, I believe that your experiences and achievements will exceed your wildest imagination.
I want to tell you why, when I chose a college, William & Mary became my right choice.
Four years ago, I mapped out my goals and expectations for the next four years. Even then, though, there were so many aspects of my collegiate experience that I had no way of knowing what would happen. I was going in blind. I didn’t know then that I would have the chance to help curate a Michelangelo drawing exhibition and have my name published in a book on the subject. I didn’t know that, while studying abroad, I would watch an outdoor opera performed in Florence Italy’s Piazza Santa Croce, only a day after taking an art history class inside that same church. I didn’t know that I would spend a summer afternoon working for the Admission Office by playing a cut-throat game of kick ball against the Deans on the Sunken Garden. I didn’t even know I’d be making almost nightly study runs to Wawa for chicken strips or chips and salsa – per W&M student tradition. (But let’s face it: #Gotta_Hava_Wawa)
Here, I believe that I am able forge a path with distinct involvements, leadership roles, secret study spots, and groups of friends. As part of the William & Mary family, I am able to truly be myself and am motivated by others to succeed and achieve. Once I started college at W&M, all of the surprising moments and details of my college experience just seemed to fall into place. Here there are so many opportunities – unique and surprising and altogether pretty magical opportunities – that I have been able to take advantage of.
One of my huge time commitments here is my role on AMP or Alma Mater Productions – the campus event programming board. I am truly honored to have had the chance to run some of the major events on campus over the last four years. Some of my favorite weeks are slam packed with AMP events. I get to hear an Environmental Sustainability speaker on Tuesday, hug a llama at a petting zoo on Wednesday afternoon, listen to friends perform at a student music showcase on Thursday night, Keep up my team’s title of Trivia Champions on Friday, and go to a Wiz Khalifa concert on Saturday. After months of planning, seeing an event run smoothly and successfully is a joy. AMP has provided me with an engaging work opportunity and a busy schedule, but also with a solid group of friends and like-minded individuals who are all passionate about supporting their community and giving back to campus.
I will never forget one of my favorite nights this year, going to a sorority formal with one of my best friends. Even though I am not affiliated with a Greek organization, I have always felt so included and welcomed at any event that a Greek organization has put on. After we danced the night away, we traded our heels for tennis shoes and ran across campus to AMP’s Late Nite Glowball event. Yes, we were still wearing our dresses and bling, but those boys had to watch out; we were pretty lethal with glow-in-the-dark dodge balls. That night epitomizes for me the magical possibilities of W&M and all the opportunities that I can take advantage of each day with my friends and organizations.
This year, I also discovered the joys of brunch. I LOVE brunch. Conveniently, Williamsburg is somehow the capital of pancake houses in the United States. The number of restaurants where I can indulge in pancakes and bacon is truly astronomical. Because of this, a group of friends and I recently decided to create a “Brunch Tour of Williamsburg” in order to travel around the area testing out all of the brunch locations possible. French Toast, Huevos Rancheros, and Honey Butter’s to-die-for corncakes really are the best way to start the weekend while laughing around a huge table with my best friends and Brunch Buddies.
Another one of my favorite moments from this semester was the spring tradition of Campus Golf. The event is a Greek philanthropy where teams dressed in crazy costumes play a round of golf across Old Campus. My team decided to be Sexy Presidents. Let me tell you, it is somewhat difficult to make President Martin van Buren look sexy with a bald cap and white pillow-stuffing mutton chops at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. It didn’t help when George Washington, Honest Abe, Teddy Roosevelt and I ended up being chased around the Sunken Garden by a mob of Sailing Club members dressed as knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—all wielding golf clubs and coconuts. I don’t think I made one hole that morning of Campus Golf. That said, the philanthropy did however lead to a spring break trip with my golf caddies, my fellow presidents, and one of the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’. During campus traditions and community events, it is friends like these who have made an impact on my overall time here.
These are only a very few of surprises and moments that have made my college experience so special. I chose a school that fosters innovation on a campus steeped in tradition; a school that stresses service to the community; and a school that revels in the unique and quirky passions of its students. In being part of this environment, all of my experiences became possible.
William & Mary is my Home. I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.
So, Class of 2018, I hope in your final decision you choose ‘Home.’ Choose a college where you feel you can thrive and take advantage of all the magical possibilities available to you. And if you want to really see if William & Mary can be ‘Home’ for you, I hope that you will join the Tribe on April 12th for W&M’s Day For Admitted Students. See you on campus soon!
February 25, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
2013, my first complete year at William & Mary. Time really does fly by when you are having fun.
2013 was a busy one making many new friends, and countless memories. One of the best choices I have made here at W&M was pledging a social fraternity. I was able to participate in the Student Leadership Foundation and took some of my favorite classes of all time (make sure to snag a seat in American Politics, Emerging Diseases, or African American History since 1710).
The spring in Williamsburg is the epitome of ideal temperatures so it didn’t get better than giving a tour or playing croquet with the W&M Croquet Club. I also interned at the admission office last spring semester as well, which was an amazing experience. Going to the Day For Admitted Students was one of my favorite memories as an admitted student before actually coming to William & Mary, so it was awesome to be able to help plan the day for the Class of 2017.
Over Spring Break, I tagged along on my dad’s business trip to Portland. It was my first time traveling to the west coast. Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time made this one of my most memorable trips. I also went skiing for the first time in my entire life. While my dad and his colleagues went skiing down black diamond slopes all day, I impressed two five year olds who were learning to ski with me on the bunny slope. After coming back to W&M, my sister swung by Williamsburg for Easter weekend and I was able to show her around, introduce her to my friends, and take her to the church I attend here in Williamsburg.
After the spring semester ended, I headed home to Northern Virginia for the summer. I interned with the American Wood Council, which is the national trade association for the wood products industry. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. You will find out that although college summers are long and fun, by the end you will be excited to return to William & Mary to see all of your friends and get back in the swing of things. Highlights from fall of 2013 include welcoming the Class of 2017 during Convocation and Homecoming week. It was great to see alums return to their alma mater and cheer on the Tribe. Nothing puts you in the spirit of the Tribe better than pulling out a win for the Homecoming game.
I finished the semester off with the Yule Log ceremony. Throwing that sprig of holly on the fire and seeing President Reveley dressed up like Santa is a memorable experience! As the year came to a close, with finals behind me and the start of fresh new semester not too far in the near future, I realized that maybe ’13 was a luckier number than I had originally thought.
- Mark Bland
February 24, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
I’m sad to say that the 2012-2013 school year was definitely my hardest at W&M. It wasn’t because of my rigorous course load, my TWAMPy habit of overcommitting, or any of the problems life threw at me. It was because when May rolled around I had to say goodbye to some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to call friends. Graduation this year was terrible. It didn’t help that spring 2013 was the best of all of my W&M spring semesters. The school activities in the spring are among the best, including Holi, a Hindu festival where you throw paint powder at each other, and Campus Golf, a philanthropy even thrown by a social sorority, for which I may have wandered campus in a blow-up blueberry suit (it was very Violet Beuregarde). Spring in Williamsburg is beautiful, which meant frequent trips to College Creek, a local beach loved by students, and Jamestown Pie (I’m telling you it’s amazing!!).
It all made graduation so much harder. The very people who had made William & Mary my home for the past three years were leaving me for bigger things and I desperately wanted to be among them. It was a wake-up call. As I heard more and more people focussing on the future—grad schools, interviews, jobs, Fulbrights, Teach for America—and going out on their own in the real world, I realized that it was almost time for me to do the same. The future is scary, and as students began returning to campus that fall I realized that another year at home was a good thing.
In my opinion, Convocation is one of the College’s finest traditions. For those of you who are unaware, let me enlighten you: Convocation occurs at the end of the first day of classes, when the new students are officially welcomed into the Tribe. The incoming freshmen and transfers get all dressed up with their hall-mates and Orientation Aids to listen to the President’s welcoming address, and an angelic rendition by the choir of our Alma Mater. Once it’s all over they are ushered through the Wren Building and beyond, where they are greeted by the rest of the Tribe. I will warn you—it’s overwhelming. The upperclassmen are waiting on the opposite side of the Wren, chanting “freshmen!” and raining down high fives as the newest members of the Tribe arrive. I remember walking through that crowd almost four years ago with an unmistakable sense of belonging. Random strangers, soon to be my new family, fought for a chance to be part of my own beginning. It’s amazing being welcomed into the community with your new friends at your side, excited to see what lies ahead—in this case, a never ending line of hands and a picnic on the Sunken Garden.
As it was our last Convocation together, my freshman hall-mates met up and reminisced about the weird times in Gooch Hall, and what was to come. It reminded me that I have to take full advantage of this final year. To me, the worst part of graduating is not being able to walk across campus to see your best friends, but instead having to fly across the county, if not the world. So this fall I spent time reconnecting with old friends, making tons of new ones, and going on all of my favorite Williamsburg adventures.
Now it’s time for the end: senior spring.
My Goal for 2014: figure out what to do with the rest of my life! It’s a lofty one I know, but I have to do it sometime—ideally before I’m forced to move back in with my parents…
- Devyn Harris
February 18, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
Theodor Seuss Geisel, fondly known as Dr. Seuss, has filled each of our lives with morals and insights that most of us have grown from. As I sit in Swem library and reminisce on my 2013 memories, I would like to introduce this blog with one of my favorite quotes from this creative genius, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Through thought and reflection, this past calendar year has provided my fellow students and me with remarkable experiences. I have been exposed to unimaginable opportunities, introduced to incredible individuals, and challenged myself along the way. In the effort to commemorate this past year, I would like to touch on some special memories that I experienced at W&M.
W&M has visibly grown through enhanced academics and the creation and development of student organizations. Academically, W&M has admitted a diverse and intelligent class of 2017, advanced the W&M DC Summer Institute, and improved various departments. From personal experience, the DC institute has provided me with the opportunity to fulfill GERs and other requirements, while being flexible with my internship and summer schedule. Summer courses offer not only the short-term benefit of knocking out credit hours, but also lightening the load for future semesters. Moving forward to the fall semester, I began my finance degree at the Mason School of Business. This department, among others, has transformed to focus on students’ needs and improve both independent and group work.
Additionally, on-campus student organizations have evolved throughout the 2013 calendar year. The Greek community welcomed an unprecedented number of both sorority and fraternity members, clubs of various interests were formed, and volunteer organizations dominated the campus scene. Two highly influential volunteer organizations I would like to touch on are Camp Kesem and the William & Mary Veterans Writing Project. According to their webpage, Camp Kesem is a “national nonprofit organization that provides free summer camp to children ages 6 to 16 with a parent who has or has had cancer.” The organization has captured the interest of many leaders on campus and looks forward to hosting their first summer camp in 2014. The William & Mary Veterans Writing Project was brought to campus by an ambitious and forward-thinking undergrad. The program provides no-cost writing seminars for veterans, service members, and military family members in the local area. Each of these organizations, among many others, have developed and flourished with the help of W&M’s driven students.
Looking back on the 2013 calendar year, both W&M and its students have grown. We have faced challenges, shared unforgettable experiences, and set expectations high for the 2014 year. Reiterating Dr. Seuss’ quote, there is plenty to smile about over this past year and there are more memories to come.
- Amanda Gunderson
April 22, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
I bet you are super stoked, nervous, excited and ready to finally start your freshman year at William & Mary! If you are anything like me, I bet you’ve already picked out a few student groups and organizations that you would like to get involved with on campus. That’s great! But if you have no idea at all what you want to get involved in at William & Mary, that is completely fine as well. Commitment is great, and if you plan on continuing a hobby or activity that you did in high school then go for it! At the same time, my biggest recommendation for all of you is to try something new too!
Take this opportunity of starting over in a new place with new people to expand your limits and to let loose. Try something that makes you a little nervous, uncertain, and uncomfortable. Do something that will totally surprise your parents when you call home to talk to them. My surprising involvement was my participation in the Vagina Monologues this year. I had never done any sort of theatre production in my life and the idea of the Vagina Monologues made me a tiny bit unsettled. However, I strongly connected with the mission of the Vagina Monologues and decided to audition to perform, in spite of all of the voices inside of me telling me not to. Being a part of the Vagina Monologues was way outside of my comfort zone, but at the same time, I really liked seeing the reactions on people’s faces when I told them what I was doing. My family and friends were beyond shocked that I was in it, but they were also so proud of me. I loved challenging myself and knowing that I tried something so out of the ordinary.
My hope is that all of you will have the same sort of out-of-body experience, where you realize that you can and should join groups and organizations that may not have been something you would have done in high school. Take advantage of this opportunity to be daring and creative. It will definitely be worth the risk. Welcome to William & Mary! I can’t wait to hear about all of the new opportunities you will take advantage of during your time here.
April 22, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
WELCOME CLASS OF 2017!
We are so excited to have you here. For those of you I didn’t meet on Day for Admitted Students (DFAS) I look forward to getting to know you a little better in the fall.
Before making this post, I was going to attempt to write a long list of different pieces of advice for all freshmen over their 4 years here. While that may be possible, I think it is better to be simple and say: just be you.
I was certainly nervous coming to college. How do I meet new people? What if everyone on my freshman hall is weird? Worst of all … what if I was the weird one? These questions and others streamed in and out of my mind as move-in day occurred. Then it hit me…
All of this won’t matter. If you just act like yourself, get involved with activities you love, and be a little open-minded, you will have the time of your life at W&M—I guarantee it. Have you ever wanted to play water polo but never had the opportunity? We have that here. Have you always wanted to audition for a play but was too scared? Do it. Have you ever wanted to research a certain subject, but didn’t know how to start? Our professors can help.
College is a new beginning, a fresh start—embrace that!
See you in the fall, ya’ll!
April 15, 2013 by Andrew Schwieder
One of the activities that I picked up at William & Mary was rowing and I loved it. Coming to St Andrews there is a bit of a difference. We have to row in Perth which is about an hour away by car (which I also drive sometimes…on the wrong side of the road) and the weather is not really conducive to rowing. Some days it will literally be snowing while we’re on the water and the water could potentially be frozen if it wasn’t moving. Then there is also the fact that we don’t have a dock, not at all, if you want to row you have to walk yourself into that freezing water to launch the boat.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely perks too. Over spring break we took a trip to Kastoria, Greece where we got to train at a facility that has produced several world class rowers in recent years. We rowed basically right into the town, nestled in between several breathtaking mountains. Plus our hotel had a spa—yes the trip was amazing. Then we were also supposed to get the opportunity to row on the Thames but snow and wind cancelled the race. There are also the weekly socials on Wednesday where all sports teams meet up in the Student Union in their respective uniforms and go berserk. (The rowing onesie may be revealing but at least it isn’t a Speedo.) And of course, Thursday morning practice isn’t tough enough if you’re not nursing a hangover.
April 9, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
Drum Roll PLEASE … it’s almost here, it’s almost here, it’s almost here!! AHHHH … I am more excited than a six year old at 6:00 am on Christmas morning. We have been checking the days off our calendars, and counting down hours, minutes and seconds till Day For Admitted Students, known lovingly by the admission office and interns as DFAS.
We are excited beyond belief to have you all visit our home, and have events up and down the wazoo prepared! I wanted to highlight some of the “don’t miss” events of the day!
- The Activities Fair: So this might be slightly biased (considering John & I have been organizing it for the last two months), BUT the number one event to not miss is the Activities Fair happening from 12-2 in the Sunken Garden!! Currently there are over 125 student clubs and organizations signed up. We want to show the multitude of ways to get involved on campus and get you excited about your future at William & Mary.
- The Performance Showcase: Have you ever wanted to see ballroom dancing or listen to amazing a capella!? If the answer is yes, you will have things to check off your bucket list after watching the Performance Showcase on Saturday during lunch. We have two hours of entertainment and a few surprises!
- Screen on the Green: If you are planning to stay in Williamsburg for the evening, I would definitely make this event a priority. On Saturday night, our student-programming group Alma Mater Productions (AMP) will be screening two movies back to back on the Sunken Garden. My inside sources have informed me that the movies will be Wreck it Ralph and Silver Linings Playbook. The first movie will begin at eight o’clock with the second following after. Remember to bring a blanket to sit on and munchies to enjoy!
There are so many other fun and exciting things to learn and see this weekend in Williamsburg. Feel free to check out the schedule of events online for more information! We can’t wait to show you everything William & Mary has to offer. So bring on the masses—we REALLY can’t wait to meet you.
April 4, 2013 by Elizabeth Miller
William and Mary’s Circle K International is one of the many organizations on campus that exemplifies a commitment to community both on and off campus and serves as motivation for the work that I do in the Office of Community Engagement. I had the opportunity to speak at the CKI induction ceremony recently, and I thought I’d share with you some of what I said:
Good evening everyone, and thank you for providing me with this opportunity to speak with you. I’ll admit that at moments like this I struggle because convention says I should be here to impart wisdom or dispense inspiration, and in my nervousness about that I reverted to the TWAMPY tendency of research.
I poured over the CKI website and sent emails to some of your exec board. What I kept returning to were your three tenets of “Service, Leadership, and Fellowship.” This reminded me of one of my favorite calls to action, “Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” It seems to me that that is what CKI is asking its members to do, and it’s a challenge, first articulated by Dr. King, that CKI constantly strives to achieve.
Having settled on dangerous unselfishness and service, leadership, fellowship, I started to think about the structure of this speech. I considered a five paragraph essay with snazzy introduction, a paragraph on each tenet, and then of course a motivating conclusion. But with Dr. King’s words in my head, I was reminded that those three tenets are not separate paragraphs, they are parts of a whole. CKI is asking its members to see that service, leadership, and fellowship are tied together into one’s identity as an active citizen who wants to make the world better.
CKI provides daily opportunities to take a stand and make the world better through dangerous unselfishness. Coming together to complete 2,400 hours of service last year; having members research and share issues in our community; hosting the Children and Hunger event which thoughtfully and effectively put a focus on an important community issue. Packing the meals, raising the funds, learning from organizations about hunger—that’s dangerous unselfishness because it’s combining the power of service, leadership and fellowship. That’s what you graduating members have done and new members are joining.
Your exec suggested I tell you about my most meaningful service story, but the story I want to tell is not mine, it’s yours. It’s what you’ll do after you walk out of this fancy old hall. If that’s as a new member, perhaps it will be signing up to work with people with disabilities at Dream Catchers, partnering with Charity Water to increase access to clean safe water in international communities, or perhaps being the kind open friend that allows someone else to share their mental health struggles with you. Maybe it’s seeing something on campus or in Williamsburg that’s not good enough, gathering CKI, and making it better.
And I haven’t forgotten about those of you who will leave this hall only to walk through this building in a few weeks to whatever is next. Yours will be the story of dangerous unselfishness unleashed. In your new realm, will you join Kiwanis, register to vote, call your United Way to find volunteer opportunities, organize your alumni chapter to host a food drive for a local food bank? Will you wear your CKI pin on the days when maybe a little reminder of the fellowship of this hall will give you the confidence you need to stand up?
Because for all of us there are still so many things to stand up for, still a need for that dangerous unselfishness that service, leadership, and fellowship unite to create. I want to congratulate you, members new and old, on being a part of two historic and powerful institutions, W&M and CKI. In fact I checked, CKI was founded in 1963, which is strikingly close if you scramble the numbers to 1693. So it’s fitting to host this event here in Wren’s Great Hall. Your time at William & Mary and your future as W&M alumni can be defined by a lot of things, but an important part of that definition is your membership in CKI and is your dedication to service, leadership, and fellowship.
Thank you for developing a kind of dangerous unselfishness. Thank you for recognizing that we need life-long responsible citizens and you can be them. Thank you for putting up with my non-five paragraph essay which lacked imparted wisdom and dispensed inspiration. So let me close with that:
The time is always right to do what’s right, so hark upon the gale!
March 11, 2013 by Adam Labriny
As Spring Break comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about what an intense (yet immensely satisfying) month February turned out to be. Between Charter Day, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year AND midterms, it was definitely one of my busiest months here at W&M.
For Charter Day (that’s on February 8th!), the Student Assembly asked my jazz combo to perform during a special dinner in the Sadler Center. Since I don’t have a meal plan this year, it was great to re-experience the dining halls (i.e. an endless soul food buffet, a sick salad bar, and ICE CREAM!) Mainly, though, it was great to see my peers’ looks of befuddlement change to excitement as they realized their dinner would come with a serenade!
The next week, Mardi Gras was by far the most pressing thing on my (non-academic) schedule. In the past, I never really thought twice about Mardi Gras. I didn’t grow up with it, I didn’t understand it—it just wasn’t on my radar. However, I’ve recently had the pleasure of befriending a native of New Orleans, Naomi. Between her excitement about the holiday and the bits of New Orleans’ history I’ve picked up in my Southern Cultures class, I was determined to make an effort to learn more about Mardi Gras this year. Thus ensued a day of purple, green, and gold beads, dancing on the Sunken Garden, and (dreaming about) king cake. Success? I think yes.
With February also came the Chinese New Year! This year, W&M’s Chinese Student Organization (CSO) put on a spectacular event in PBK Hall, complete with calligraphy, dumpling making, video presentations, and a catered dinner. The event also offered the opportunity for students to mingle with Chinese exchange and international students; I was thrilled to learn more about how the holiday is celebrated in China.
The latter half of February brought with it a whirlwind of exams, papers, presentations, and obligations—in other words, it was finally midterm season (cue dramatic “dun dun dunnnnnn”). My new home became Swem. In fact, I was spending so much time in Swem that by the end of the month, I had established “study spots” around the library: the little nook near the Children’s Book section with the round, sunny window overlooking Andrews Hall and the courtyard, the strangely-placed desktop on the second floor that only a couple other people like to use because it’s vastly inconvenient, and another super-secret spot I will only divulge post graduation. (But seriously, let me know if you’re curious and I’d love to share.) I developed weird eating habits that week, too. Lunch? Who needs it—I’ll take a triple Americano and this bag of Cheez-its, please!
But as most things, midterm season came and went. Looking forward, I’ve only got half a semester left at this lovely institution, and I plan on making the most of it!