During my freshman year at William and Mary, I was part of the Sharpe Community Scholars program. I had applied for the program on whim after getting a postcard about the program in the mail. It was the best whim I’ve ever followed.
The Sharpe program is made up of 70 incoming freshman each year at William and Mary. These students exhibit a passion for service and social justice and a dedication for solving community problems. Placed together in a dorm in the Botetourt Complex, the students undergo a year long program that combines a community based service project with their academics. With many different focuses to choose from, student groups explore community health issues, environmental issues, concepts of citizenship, and the education gap to name a few.
Freshman year I was in the class Citizenship and the Community. This class changed my life. Having entered William and Mary a physics and philosophy major, I quickly switched to government and American studies. My experience with the Sharpe program changed by academic goals, my career goals, and my general life goals. Exposed to social justice issues I had never heard before and encountering statistics on citizenship apathy, I began the road to a life of public service. My senior thesis this year (a 100 page research document some students choose to produce) is focused on citizenship education and engagement, a topic tied directly to my experience with Sharpe.
Since my freshman year, I have continued my involvement with the Sharpe program. As an upperclassman Community Scholar sophomore year, and a program assistant and teaching fellow junior and senior year, I have done what I can to help the program flourish. Reflecting on the huge impact the program had on my life, behaviors, and personality, I’ve felt it only right to give back to the program as much as it gave to me.
Allison P Anoll, Class of 2009
Senior Tour Guide