Impact Week successfully kills three birds with one stone. The annual, week-long philanthropic and engagement effort saw an uptick in applications this year — a clear indication of its growing relevance on campus.
The first goal of three: Impact Week supports William & Mary brilliantly. Students voted for their favorite proposal and also donated $5 or more to a list of William & Mary entities (i.e. the Fund for William & Mary, the William & Mary Scholarship Fund, etc.) If a particular fund didn't catch their eye, there was a write-in option — allowing the student to donate five of their own dollars to specific organizations/causes on campus. All the while, undergraduate giving and participation to W&M is rising — no matter the vote or donation beneficiary.
The second goal that Impact Week accomplishes is promoting charitable giving to the Williamsburg community. This year, the Community Partnership for Adult Learners (Cpals), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Kappa Sigma Fraternity hope to help adults learn English as a second language, teach middle school gentlemen life lessons/skills and assist the locally impoverished, respectively. While contributions will result in donations and volunteer hours, they also create lasting partnerships with active William & Mary students. Our symbiotic relationship with Williamsburg thrives on Impact Week and these types of community engagement efforts.
The third goal, and my personal reason to give, serves as a reminder that change starts with us. Everyone is busy. There is much to do and not enough time in the day. William & Mary students know this well and take it as a point of pride to be spread so thin. For this reason, it is incredibly easy to let slip from our minds the idea of some people having less, through no volition of their own. Impact Week reminds us of this. The less fortunate, who always outnumber our estimates, rely on organizations like these to help them get through trying times. They may be preparing for a job interview, curious about smartly navigating a curriculum, or wanting to keep their family warm and fed through the cold months. I encourage you, W&M alumni, to give in order to support not only the city that welcomed you as a college student, but also those less fortunate whom you have shared a place to call home with.
Impact Week is achieving all these goals. Its importance lies in its impact. This one philanthropic effort benefits William & Mary and the general Williamsburg community. If you have already graduated, whether an alumnus or alumnae, retired in Williamsburg or an international young professional, you must feel as if Impact Week is a far away effort. Geographically, yes, but it revolves around a place, the university, much closer to your heart. So I’ll finish with an excerpt from John Donne: “Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”