William and Mary

Family Weekend

Parents Weekend and Ted Cruz

September 25, 2013 by

This past weekend was Parents Weekend! My mom flew in on Thursday night, and we met for dinner after class. On Friday morning, I took off from work and we started our tour of Washington. I took her to the Eastern Market neighborhood, expecting the massive farmers market that I had witnessed the weekend before. It turns out that the outdoor vendors are only there on the weekends, and on weekdays only the indoor produce and meat vendors are there. Still, she got a taste of how cool that part of town is. Then we walked to the Hill. I showed her the Capitol Building, and took her inside Russell Senate building, where I sit in on a few staff meetings every week. Russell is home to many senator offices, so it was fun walking around and seeing their names on the gold plaques. We came across an office swamped with reporters and official-looking people, only to see that it was John McCain being bugged about something.

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On Friday, my mom went to class with me. One of our speakers was a lawyer from the Department of Commerce, and the other worked at a nonprofit organization called Accion. Both were very interesting, and above all, passionate about their jobs! It’s reassuring to see W&M alums in great positions.

After class, the W&M DC office held a reception for the parents and students. THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD! Smooth brie cheese, rich cake balls, sizzling kabobs – fantastic!

After the reception, my mom got her first taste of the horrors of the Metro. First, the blue line was delayed, so by the time it got to the station, hundreds of people were waiting on the platform to get on. Somehow my mom and I squished on. I’ve seen the Metro full, but this was like in the cartoons when people’s faces are smashed up against the glass. We made it a few stops, cramming more and more people in. Then we smelled something terrible. My mom turned to me to ask what it was, and I sarcastically responded “the train must be on fire”. Turns out, I was right. There were so many people on the train, an electrical fire started underneath us, and everyone was kicked off at the next stop. Finally, after much delay and smoke, we made it to my mom’s hotel, where we met an old family friend and had dinner at a cute Lebanese restaurant.

Saturday morning began with a Costco run. I went in needing only three things, and came out with none of those things, instead five other items (Costco bulk sized). The second best part of Parents Weekend is having your family stock you up on food for the semester. (The first best part is just being with family.) After filling my fridge, my mom and I headed to the Newseum for the day. Even though we got the tickets for cheap through the DC office, it still would have been worth it to see the museum for full price – it was awesome. The purpose of the Newseum is essentially to tell history through the eyes of the reporters and journalists who witnessed it first hand. There was a display of pictures from the days of Camelot, and an exhibit of souvenirs from various FBI investigations. There were also pieces from history, like the very top tower of the World Trade Center. One of my favorite displays was the Berlin Wall. One side was clean, while the other side was covered with graffiti symbolizing the turmoil and unrest occurring on that side. I was awestruck to be that close to a piece of history. Another memorable part of the Newseum was the footage reporters got of the 9/11 attacks. It was incredible how close they were willing to get to the debris, and eerie to witness their reactions as events unfolded. My mom liked the replication of Tim Russert’s office – she was a huge fan of his.


After the Newseum, my mom and I walked to Clyde’s at Gallery Place for dinner. Again, the food was fantastic – crab cakes and spinach pastries. After dinner the group went to a show at the Reagan Center called Capitol Steps. The comedians make fun of politics and happenings in Washington. My favorite skit was when they replaced the words from Grease the musical with lyrics about Greece the country and how it is failing economically. It was surprisingly non-partisan: they poked fun at both sides of the aisle.

On Sunday morning, my mom and I headed back to the Newseum to soak up a little more of the exhibits. We watched a documentary about how the Holocaust was largely ignored by the US press because of the anti-Semitism at the time. It was moving. News about the Holocaust was only printed about once a year on the front page – most of the focus was to WWII. If only the press spoke out more about the killings, thousands of lives would have been saved. It made me realize the power of the media. Also, we went to the Pulitzer Prize picture gallery, which was again very emotional. While a few of the pictures documented victory and progress, many depicted war and violence and death. It is truly amazing the power of a picture.

After the Newseum, my mom and I walked through the Mall. The National Book Festival was going on, but it was overwhelming so we didn’t stop. I showed her the Washington Monument and the White House, and then sent her on her plane back to Texas. It’s tough going to school so far away from my family, so it was great getting to see my mom over the weekend.

As I was about to leave work on Tuesday, I got an email from the internship coordinator that he got us passes to go see Ted Cruz filibuster about the Continuing Resolution and ObamaCare. All my office left, and I started heading to class, but after about a block of walking, I realized that there will probably never be a time in my life where I get to sit in on a Senate filibuster, so I turned around and joined them. It was a weird experience – I thought since Senate was in session and a filibuster was going on, the chamber would be full. However, the only people in there were Ted Cruz, a senator from Alabama, the scribe, and a presiding chair. Ted Cruz kind of just rambled, but it was cool to see the formalities of it. They called him “Junior Senator from Texas” instead of just Senator Cruz. I’m excited to see how the CR unfolds in the Senate this week. Below is a sample of what we witnessed in the Senate Chamber Tuesday night…

Cupcakes, Tea, and Ghosts… Oh My!

October 29, 2012 by

It has certainly been an eventful two months here at the Colonial Williamsburg House. What with encounters with William Randolph’s ghost (or so we think) and two successful shindigs, we officially consider ourselves members of the Historic Area. One of these days we will manage to invite the Marquis de Lafayette to tea… but until then, we’ll continue to enjoy our time watching the various colonial generals ride by our humble abode.

Here is a synopsis of our CW adventures thus far:

Family Weekend Open House

On Saturday, September 29, we hosted an open house for students and their families. Despite our off-the-beaten-path location, at least thirty people visited our house. Much of our time was spent answering questions about the history of the building and how we were given the opportunity to live here; however, the highlight of the event was watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the family of a friend of one of our Spotswood buddies. We were watching the film on ABC Family before our first visitors arrived, and it inadvertently became a form of entertainment for our guests. Oompa Loompas, anyone?


Our guests watching Willy Wonka

Afternoon Tea

On Sunday, October 21, we hosted an afternoon tea for students. Although only two of our friends attended the event, we enjoyed our time drinking Earl Grey, eating scones, and – surprise, surprise – watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on ABC Family. Thanks to Maggie and Hannah for stopping by!


Lauren’s Halloween cupcakes for our Afternoon Tea

William Randolph? Is that you?

Each Friday night, we watch Ghost Adventures while eating cookies or pizza. While we thoroughly enjoy watching the crew scream at invisible beings, we never expected having supposed paranormal experiences of our own. First it was the clapping of horses’ hooves in the middle of the night. Then it was the chuckle right in the ear. Next it was the sigh, the groan, the television turning on by itself. Could these be signs of William Randolph’s presence? We can only speculate.

Until next time, stay safe and dry from the hurricane!

Family Weekend and Fundraising

September 29, 2011 by

Another busy week has begun for Tribe Gymnastics-lots of midterms for everyone and four mornings in a row of morning cardio! Gotta love it! We all had a fun-filled weekend this past Friday through Sunday as our families were in town for Family Weekend! Our parents came to the gym Friday afternoon to watch us practice and we all enjoyed spending time and catching up. Saturday, our parents put together an amazing tailgate in the Yates parking lot for the football game. Molly’s parents roasted a pig and all of the food was amazing! We had everything from burgers and dogs to pasta salad and pumpkin bars! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the tailgate and came to share an awesome meal with us! Despite the Tribe’s loss to JMU and the persistent rain, we all had a terrific family weekend and were sad to see all of our parents leave Williamsburg.

In other news, we are currently raising money for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk to Cure Diabetes. The walk will be Saturday, October 15th and we are excited to raise some money and get out there and walk for a cure. If you are interested in donating, please visit www2.jdrf.org and chose to donate to any one of us by simply typing in a first and last name of any team member or enter in the team name, which is William & Mary Women’s Gymnastics under “donate to a walker”. Our team goal is to raise $1,500! In addition, this weekend we will be doing the ropes course here on campus, as it was rained out a few weekends ago. Let’s hope for some nice weather-pictures will follow!

Although it is only the first week of October, our Green and Gold Intrasquad is in sight and our team has been looking great in the gym! Caitlyn has been catching her jaegers and I must say that our bar group is looking pretty impressive! Katie has been becoming very consistent with her triple series on beam and Allie has been working a very cool new combination on beam as well – a wolf jump to an immediate punch front. As for myself, I have been getting back in to doing double layout full outs off bars and a new triple series on beam! Lots of exciting stuff for the Tribe!

We wish junior co-captain Molly good luck and a speedy recover as she undergoes surgery this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

One Tribe, One Family.

Kristin Milardo

Merging our real families with our Tribe families

September 26, 2011 by

This past weekend was Family Weekend here at the College.  As a junior, I still look forward to my parents arriving, showing them my favorite spots on campus, and of course– being taken out to eat every meal for an entire weekend!

Family Weekend at William and Mary is special.  It is not just for freshmen, in fact it seems as though upper classmen appreciate seeing their families even more as they have rigorous course loads and anticipate relaxing family time.  The College offers tons of activities for families to participate in such as an a capella showcase, a walk through of President Reveley’s home, Greek open houses, philanthropic endeavors, sporting events, and the traditional home football game with alumni tailgates.  The weekend is not complete without a stroll down DoG Street, lunch at the Cheese Shop, and a trip to the Prime Outlets.

Three years into my college career, I have found that my favorite part of Family Weekend is the opportunity to meet the families of the people who have become my Tribe family.  From my roommate to my sorority sisters to my classmates, I love meeting the people who have helped to make them who they are today.  Casual run-ins or planned lunches, it is truly special to merge our real families with our Tribe families.  Family Weekend comes at a time when we have settled back into college life and it is always a good reminder of who we are, where we come from, and how we got to where we are today.

Caroline Kotila, Class of 2013

You know when you’re in DC when…

October 11, 2010 by

On fall break, or the lack thereof and my internship:

Fall Break is upon us. Well sort of. I still plan on heading into NBC come Monday. I figure it’s always good to show you care about the work you’re doing — even if it’s your break. The way I see it, my producer (Michelle Perry) and correspondent (Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent/Host of Andrea Mitchell Reports) don’t have fall break, and I’d rather help them out. It’s always exciting to be there!

Speaking of NBC — I haven’t been disclosing information about what goes on behind the scenes for some very good reasons. I signed a really long confidentiality agreement the first day I got there, agreeing that I wouldn’t blog or disclose any of the information I’m working on or have been observing. Everything is “off the record” in their speak. And it makes sense. NBC is competing with other network channels and much of the ongoing research is sensitive information. The agreement itself was around, I kid you not, oh, 20 pages or so — and that’s me being modest, it might have been more.

What I will tell you, very broadly of course, is that working at a network has its perks. Interning for MSNBC (the cable outlet of NBC), also known as “the place for politics,” offers a unique perspective on how news is created, firsthand. I also get the amazing opportunity to meet high profile figures who have made important contributions to our country. I try not to be too awestruck, but there are times when I think, “Wow, I read about this person in my government textbook.” Alright, I’ll be honest — it gets me every time. But I just keep my cool and stay professional.

On the culture shock of DC vs. Williamsburg:

In the realm of study abroad programs, I see W&M in DC as the the perfect solution to anyone who wants a breather from Colonial Williamsburg but who doesn’t want to make the huge commitment of going overseas for a semester. It’s a domestic study abroad, if you will. You can even visit campus from time to time, which is a lot more difficult to do when you’re in a foreign country. But here’s what no one ever told me — the culture shock still applies.

On the weekend of my sister’s birthday, I went down with a couple of other fellow program students and we all experienced something similar. We became anxious, claustrophobic, and tense. “Where’s the nearest Metro station?!” One of my friends joked. But in all seriousness, it took me a good three to five hours to adjust to the pace of life back in CW. As we drove 25 mph, down Jamestown Road, the three of us peered outside our windows to see how things had been faring without us. It was exciting to see the freshmen roaming about on campus. It was just as amusing to see so many familiar faces. While DC may not be a huge city, it is metropolitan and you can easily get lost in the sea of unfamiliar faces.

While we’re on the topic of DC, let’s quickly touch upon the Metro rail system, or the Metro. It’s the subway system in DC and runs on five colored lines: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Orange. It’s known for being one of the cleanest subway systems in the nation due to the strict no eating law, but it isn’t without its flaws.

First of all, the recent metro fare hikes (for maintenance issues) on top of the peak hour rates (times when people go to work) have been making my transit to work a whopping $7 per day. When you factor in class sessions and site visits, transportation costs easily becomes my biggest money eater. Secondly, there is a lot of maintenance on weekends which can add up to 30 minutes of your travel time. Many of the escalators are being worked on (this was actually the subject of a few local news stories this past summer).  And, the greatest irony of all: While reading the lighted advertisement about why rats aren’t a problem in DC’s underground transit system, I saw a tiny mouse squeaking it’s way to a crack. It might not have been a rat, but it most definitely was a rodent. And the only reason I didn’t squeal myself was because the mouse was so tiny — like the ones you see being fed to the snakes at pet stores. Now, the rats I’ve seen on DC’s streets are a whole different story. They are HUGE. Like squirrels almost. DC’s squirrels. Yep. But the thought of them is repulsive, so I’ll move on.

Family weekend:

I was a little sad that my last family weekend wasn’t back on campus. But only for a few minutes. The DC family weekend was pretty busy if you chose to participate in all of it. My mom signed us up for everything, so we ended up having a busy weekend. The DC family weekend included a joint class/parent session at the Newseum and an evening reception on Friday.  Brunch at Clyde’s and an afternoon Shakespeare play, “All’s Well That Ends Well” on Saturday.  Finally an alumni led tour guide of the National Art Gallery, followed by lunch in their cafe on Sunday. It wasn’t exactly a restful weekend, but it was nice to experience all of the events with your family. It gave them a taste of the city life — DC Lite.

Family Weekend gone too soon…

October 7, 2009 by

Here we are approaching Fall break already and I have had barely any time to reflect on the great experiences of Family Weekend. My dad and step-mom flew out from California and boy was I excited. I remember how I couldn’t wait for Family Weekend when school first began and now I can’t believe it is already gone. These experiences go by so fast. I don’t even remember blinking. As fast as they went, they were pretty special.

My parents stayed in the beautiful Kingsmill resort, thanks to the gracious discount they got just for being the parents of a William and Mary student. Their first night here we walked around campus and ate dinner at the Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. The cheese shop closed just after we got our food, so we had to eat outside. Guess what happened next…. torrential downpour. Yes, Williamsburg has a sense of humor. However, my parents and I had a blast eating sandwiches and drinking old fashioned root beer on the patio of a deserted, wet CW.

The rest of the weekend entailed various events, including a convertible drive down Colonial Parkway, dinner at the great Yorktown Pub with a peaceful beach view, concert of William and Mary Choirs and Orchestras, delicious Italian ice cream from Rita’s, and a lantern tour of ancient campus. Saturday we took a tour of the Jamestown settlement, went canoeing on Lake Matoaka, took a walk through CW, and ended the night with a victorious win for Tribe football. My dad and I are football fanatics, so this was my most anticipated event to share with him. It was just a bonus that we won the game against Delaware, leaving the Tribe 3-0! Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, went to church, and ended the weekend with a somber goodbye.

A few things I learned/relearned over Family Weekend:

  1. Goodbyes are awful!
  2. William and Mary students get free admission to the Jamestown settlement and museum with their student ID. This goes for the Yorktown settlement as well.
  3. Tribe football is doing great this year!
  4. There is too much to see in this community of ours. It will make your feet, legs, and back hurt for days if you try to see it all.
  5. Cracker Barrel is open at 6am even on Sundays, which is a shock for Williamsburg since everything here closes early and opens late on Sundays.
  6. I love my daddy!

GO TRIBE!!! Have a safe and fun break!

Family Weekend Reception

October 4, 2008 by

Hello, William and Mary!

We want to cordially invite you and your families to our home this weekend. The residents of the CW House are holding a reception on Sunday, October 5th from 11-1 p.m. in our home. It’s an informal event, so feel free to drop by to see the house, learn about Colonial Williamsburg and enjoy some delicious food. It’s a small white house with green shutters on the corner of Botetourt and Nicholson Street, a block off of DOG Street. If you’d like directions, please email us at wm.cwhouse@gmail.com. We’d love for you all to come!