Student Clubs and Orgs
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!
January 25, 2013 by Ryann Tanap
For all of you preparing for graduation, listen up. I have some valuable advice for the class of 2013. To the classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, don’t worry! You still have time. However, this advice is certainly just as applicable to everyone at the College, so you may proceed.
- Slow down. How, you ask? Well, if you’re anything like the rest of the TWAMP population, you are taking 21 credits, juggling part-time jobs and running a handful of organizations and organized sports teams. Breathe. Where is the time that you reserved just for you? I know it pains you to hear this, but this is your last semester as an undergrad student. Drop a few commitments; no one will judge you. Please do your all-too-precious mind a favor and learn to do things that make you happy. Once you enter the “real world” – which by the way, isn’t as scary as you think – you’ll be much more busy. Take this time to relax. We all know you’re a professional at multitasking, but don’t overwork yourself for no reason. You’ll have plenty of time to work (say, the rest of your life).
- Exercise! I know that the “gym” may not be in everyone’s vocabulary, but who says it has to be? Spring semester is upon you, and so are copious amounts of sunshine and fresh air. If you know that you don’t have time, make time! Remember, you’ve just dropped some of your extracurricular commitments. Go on a run (jogs and walks count too) around campus. Take a bike ride around CW. Grab some friends, head to Lake Matoaka and rent a canoe or kayak at the boathouse. It’s free with your student ID. And even if you haven’t been to the Rec Center yet, there’s no better time to start. Sign up for a Zumba class, or ask to join a friend who frequents the Rec. Your body needs exercise, so stop holding back.
- Spend your time with the people you love most. To my dear brilliant and radiant social butterflies: I know you love making new friends. That’s great! But just remember: Commencement is in May, so reach out to friends you’ve made along the way, or have unintentionally lost touch with. After Commencement, you won’t be able to knock on your hall mates’ door to ask them to join you for dinner. You won’t be able to go on a late night trip to Wawa with the friends who’ve camped out at Swem with you during exams. You won’t be able to wake up your roommate at 3am to tell her about your night out, or about that job offer email that found its way to your inbox. This is your time to be with those who brighten your day, with those who you’ve made lasting friendships with. Your time at W&M is finite. So who would you rather spend it with? I want you to imagine their faces. That person (or group of people) that just came to your mind? That’s who you’re going to call right now. You’re going to make plans to catch “The Hobbit”, which you haven’t been able to see since you’ve been busy. You’re going to drive to their dorm or apartment to pick them up so you can grab froyo together. You’re going to agree to meet for tomorrow’s yoga class. After all, you have more time, especially since you’re not attending (or running) five meetings this evening. Right?
- Attend campus events! Speaking of extracurricular activities, instead of running a bunch of clubs, why not attend other organizations’ events this semester? This is your chance to check out events you’ve always wanted to see, but never had the time to do so. There are always guest speakers and entertainers, fundraisers (selling delicious treats of course), and performances around campus this time of year! I know money may be tight, but when else do you have the opportunity to attend an event for less than $15 (or even better, for free) and not have to drive 45 minutes to get there? I recommend FASA‘s Annual Culture Night, which will be held on the evening of February 8th. The show (filled with exciting dance numbers, musical performances and stellar acting – all rehearsed in a matter of weeks) is in the Commonwealth, and is followed by a delightful Filipino feast. Tickets go on sale the week before the show in Sadler, or you can contact the President, Dannie Angeles, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information. Okay, that’s my shameless plug for this blog post. But seriously, you should go!
- Check out the Williamsburg Winery. Are you 21 or older? Perfect! Just bring your ID you can join a free tour and wine tasting! If you want, pay $5 to keep the wine glass. Tours are held on Mondays through Saturdays from 10am-4pm, and on Sundays from 11am-4pm. I recommend you grab your freshman hall mates and head to the winery’s Gabriel Archer restaurant for lunch, then top it off with a lovely tour!
- Cherish these last few months at the College. It’s easy to wish your classes and work would vanish. But this community (that I hope you’ve grown to love as much as I still do) is truly unique. Where else can you leave your laptop and TI-83 for hours on a study table in Swem, while you jet off to philosophy class in Wren? Where else can you lose your wallet (containing your ID, credit cards, cash and insurance information) by the Units on a snow day, and have it returned to you in just a few days time? Where else do the Dining Services staff sing as they cook and serve your lunch? It truly is the little things, so take some time to acknowledge and appreciate them.
Now go forth, friends! Embrace and love every minute you have in the ‘Burg. You won’t regret it.
November 12, 2012 by Aaron Barksdale
At W&M not all the learning happens in the classroom. I have been fortunate to take some fun and unconventional classes through the kinesiology department at the College. Adventure Games, Ropes Facilitation, and Outdoor Leadership, just to name a few, are all taught on our campus ropes course. It has become my favorite place on campus because of the memories I made from doing silly activities from hula hooping to Frisbee tossing, tree climbing to zip-lining, and tightrope walking to high-top swinging. Although the classes are designed to be a good time, I’ve learned a lot about leadership such as: collaborative teamwork, effective communication, innovative thinking, and critical responsiveness.
My appreciation for leadership growth offered by my classes on the ropes course prompted me to work there. I began facilitating programs on the course that challenged groups to accomplish tasks both individually and as a whole while learning and having fun. Following up my love of the ropes course, I began working at a rock climbing gym in my hometown. Rock climbing is an exciting sport that encourages intelligent and creative thinking. After a year of climbing and working at the gym I became hooked and decided to a rock climbing course at W&M.
The rock climbing class was so much fun! Despite having experience, I learned a lot from my peers and professor about technique. In class we practiced knots, indoor climbing, outdoor rappelling, and climbing safety. The course culminated in a field trip over Fall Break to Shenandoah National Park where we went climbing and repelling on natural rock. We trekked through a portion of the Appalachian Trail to our first spot called Mount Stony Man for rappelling. Although we were prepared to climb in drizzling weather, a lightening storm cut our time short.
The following day we went to Mount Marshall for a day of real rock climbing. We set up anchors at the mountain summit and then prepared ourselves for adventures with harnesses and belay devices. Climbing the rock was much different than the rock wall at the gym in Adair Hall, home to the Kinesiology Dept., and rock wall at the SRC (student rec center). It was thrilling, and I believe each member of our class, including me, surpassed expectations for how well they thought they would do. The trip was a lot of fun and I continued to make great friends and lasting memories—I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend my Fall Break!
W&M has many different learning environments, and offers a wide array of diversity for students’ interests. The ropes course is one of many, but the dance studio, Lake Matoaka, and scuba diving pool are others. While at the College I encourage you to find new ways to engage and learn outside the traditional classroom setting.
October 22, 2012 by Skyler Paltell
This is likely to be my first serious blog post, but gluten free living is an important topic to me and a small number of other W&M students. Gluten-free seems to be sweeping the nation at the moment—it is evident from the “organic” aisle at Food Lion—but most people seem to think it is some sort of new-fangled weight loss phenomenon. To be gluten free means to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat and wheat products, like bread, baked goods, and many types of alcohol.
There are two reasons why someone may be gluten free—a.) they saw how much weight Miley Cyrus lost and they had to try it out for themselves or b.) they have a condition called Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. I feel like most college students, myself included, belong to the latter category, since who would voluntarily give up pizza and soy sauce without just cause? Celiac disease is a condition in which the body attacks itself when you eat gluten, essentially destroying your small intestine, among other things. Gluten intolerance is the same basic principle, but less severe and with fewer long-lasting effects.
I went gluten free two months ago. I never found out if I had Celiac, since that involves an endoscopy and that sounds horrifying, but I find that I feel healthier when I don’t eat wheat. I also had to cut out dairy, eggs and soy at my doctor’s advice, since it is pretty common to have other allergies in addition to gluten. I won’t lie—it is really hard. Healing from any kind of long-term autoimmune condition is a roller coaster of ups and downs, and I have a whole new respect for college students who have battled medical conditions while at school. I’m almost positive that my body hates me. Some days I just want to go home—but I know that staying here will ultimately make me stronger.
For those who are gluten free at W&M and are struggling like I am, there are several resources that I have found to be immeasurably helpful. The first is undoubtedly the Gluten Freedom club, established this year by junior Hannah Boes (it’s her 21st birthday today—happy birthday Hannah!) We meet on Thursdays to hang out, snack on gluten free nom-noms, take trips to Trader Joe’s, and go out to dinner. It’s great to hang out with people who know what you are going through, and trust me when I say these people are all awesome.
The second is Larry Smith from Dining Services. He was excellent at helping me navigate the dining halls at the beginning of this semester, so if you have an allergy—be it gluten, soy, or dairy—he is a great resource. You’ll even get your own file, which I think is pretty snazzy. I actually cook for myself now since I have so many allergies, but if you’re just gluten free or lactose intolerant you should definitely check him out.
And finally, friends and peers are a great resource. This semester I joined a sorority, and all of my new friends and sisters have been so helpful and understanding when I explain to them exactly why I can’t eat that cookie. This past week I went out to Food For Thought with some of my new sisters—they actually suggested the restaurant because they knew it was gluten free friendly! The chef made me my own meal and I even got my own special bread roll. And tomorrow, I am getting coffee with the president of my sorority—she also has Celiac disease—at her suggestion, because she knows I am struggle-bussing.
It’s not easy having a restricted diet in college, a time when most people are eating junk food right and left because they’re young and they can get away with it. I know, because I used to be among them. However, I feel like I’ve learned so much in the past few months and gained so many new friends and resources. Most people out there are willing to understand and to listen, and Williamsburg has many options for gluten-free students on a budget. As for me, managing my health has been one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced—but with the help of my friends, family, and Udi’s gluten-free muffins, I feel confident that the end of the tunnel is not so far away.
September 19, 2012 by Claire Gillespie
There is a club here called Wizards and Muggles that sorts students into a house at the beginning of the semester.
Yes, a house like Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw.
I will preface this post with a warning to all individuals under the age of 17: if you have not yet read Harry Potter and seen all the movies, get started. There have been at least eight Harry Potter references in my classes so far, not to mention just talking with friends. Perhaps this is leaning toward a William and Mary-esque specificity, but people know their Harry Potter facts.
There is also a quidditch team, which I have not seen but hear that the way it works is a person is a snitch, and you have to catch him (by pulling the flags he wears as they do in flag football off).
There is a frisbee team. There is a classic movie screening club. There is a climbing club and crew team. There is an art history magazine. There is a campus radio station. And there is service – service trips, working with children, working with the elderly, working in Williamsburg, taking weekend trips, and working on campus.
So far, I am writing for the newspaper The Flat Hat. Here is the link to my first article: http://flathatnews.com/2012/09/17/college-receives-green-light-ranking-from-fire-for-free-speech/. I have also been spending time with students from the Catholic Campus Ministries. This is great because they feed us real food. The other day, I had homemade chocolate chip pancakes.
Last weekend, I went on a the freshmen retreat put on by the Catholic Campus Ministry and we rode a ferry across the James River. I could see the Jamestown Settlement as we passed it – it is amazing to think that four hundred years ago, people came from across the Atlantic Ocean and saw this mass of trees and water that surrounds me everyday.
Another club that has been incredibly fun is Ballroom Dancing. I have learned to (somewhat successfully) do the cha-cha and two step.
And although I didn’t choose to get sorted for the Wizards and Muggles club, I can say that this school, with its proud buildings and Tribe Pride and interesting adventures, is as close to Hogwarts as real life might get.