Community is central to the William & Mary experience. From Orientation to Commencement, students develop critical skills and a deeper sense of belonging when they engage in the work of positive social change through direct service, advocacy, and leadership. We see this every day in The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) as we pursue our mission connecting William & Mary and community to support students’ development as active and educated citizens.
And while many of the opportunities for community engagement look different during a pandemic*, our W&M commitment to service persists. In fact, since the pandemic began, William & Mary has expanded resources for students to engage, particularly through W&M GivePulse.
Through W&M GivePulse students might sign up to:
- Volunteer on Tuesdays at the Williamsburg Community Garden
- Gather a group of friends to complete a Service Saturday project
- Virtually to support individuals with disabilities
- Join any of OCE’s sustained programs including Branch Out Alternative Breaks, Griffin School Partnerships, and Williamsburg Engagement
As students plan, facilitate, and complete projects they learn to work with others, build relationships across difference, manage logistics, problem solve, communicate to diverse audiences, and sometimes even handle power tools**. They practice group development, collaborative goal setting, and seeing from others’ perspectives. Students apply their knowledge and critical thinking to significant real-world challenges. They integrate what they learn in the classroom with the expertise of communities to understand and address complex issues and root causes.
In their own words:
“OCE programs make me feel like a member of the Williamsburg community, rather than simply a student.”
“OCE has made me a leader, an active citizen, and an advocate for social justice, as well as giving me incredible friends and the most rewarding experience of college.”
As William & Mary continues to navigate and adapt to pandemic conditions, OCE remains committed to furthering community-driven social change, especially supporting vulnerable populations hardest hit by the pandemic. We do this working side by side (sometimes in person and sometimes in Zoom squares) with community member and students. We encourage any students who wants to learn, grow, engage, and contribute to positive social change to join us in this work. Getting started is as easy as a click.
* The Office of Community Engagement continues to prioritize outdoor and distanced volunteering and requires volunteers to abide by W&M masking policy regardless of whether the project is on-campus or off.
**With training and support of course!