Celebrating Active Citizenship

Closing her letter to students this year, Melody Porter, Director of The Office of Community Engagement, wrote:

Your actions this year and throughout your lives are powerful. We are so impressed and glad to be community with so many people who have done the daily work of care and advocacy. You know that it has changed you, and we know that it has changed our communities for the better. We all know that active citizenship is what will make us strong in the days and weeks ahead. So we want to thank you for all you have done and will do in pursuit of active citizenship.

There is plenty of active citizenship work in the days ahead, and we will make our communities stronger, healthier, and more connected by working together. Celebrating that commitment matters, and in OCE we continued our tradition of honoring students with end of year awards.

faces of award winners

Tradition of Service – Anna Rader

Anna stands out as an exemplar of active citizenship, demonstrating a deep commitment to justice-work, self-reflection, and collaborative efforts for change.

Walk the Talk – Emily Xu, Marc Chabonier, Alanna VanValkenburgh, Caitlyn Whitesell, and Driscoll Taylor

  • Throughout her time at William & Mary, Emily has strengthened the culture of active citizenship and social justice both within alternative breaks and on campus.
  • Marc demonstrates a sustained commitment to thinking critically and globally while acting locally with attention to genuine relationships.
  • As a co-founder of the Neurodiversity Student Group, Undersecretary for Neurodiversity, and research assistant in the Autism Lab, Alanna became an important bridge to resources and opportunities for many at William & Mary.
  • Recognizing that even in her own communities, not all felt welcome, Cailtyn stepped up, focusing outward and leading by example to show that including everyone strengthens community.
  • Motivated to address injustice and inequity in education, Driscoll has created positive change through his leadership in Distinguished Gentlemen Mentoring, Griffin School partnerships, and WJCC public schools summer enrichment camps.

Spirit of Service – Sara Martinez and Ifeoma Ayika

  • Sara has dedicated herself to creating sustainable change in under-served communities and encouraging others to incorporate both service and justice into their lives.
  • Ifeoma uses her skills in understanding historically marginalized communities to push for and create more inclusive spaces at William & Mary.

Freshman Service – Tayli Shekelton

Tayli has already centered her William & Mary experience around community service, including volunteering with The Arc, Avalon, Riverside Doctors Hospital, and Habitat ReStore.

You can read the full citations and see the award winners, as well as see other memories for the past year, in OCE’s digital yearbook.

(P.S. Head to the last page for some throwback photos of OCE stafff)

Categories: Community Engagement & Service, Diversity, Faculty & Staff Blogs
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