It was a different mix of people at the Blayton Building's BINGO game. Along with the "regulars" - senior citizens who live at the building - a handful of William & Mary students were scattered throughout the room, chatting, laughing and even engaging in a little friendly competition as they all waited for the next letter and number combination to be called.
"It's been pretty fun just chatting and hearing about their lives and where they're from - just normal conversation," said Tamisha Williams, a second-year master's degree student in the School of Education and a graduate assistant in the Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship (OCES). "It's something I could see myself coming back and doing again."
Williams was one of about 220 William & Mary students who participated in the Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship's annual Students Helping Out Williamsburg (SHOW) Day. SHOW Day is an opportunity for new William & Mary students to volunteer with community agencies and nonprofit organizations - not only to lend a hand but also learn a little about their new community in the process.
"I'm really excited to be here and be a part of SHOW Day," said Aaron Barksdale, a William & Mary freshman who helped with the BINGO game. "When I heard about the program, I was very enthusiastic about participating. I love community service. I was a part of it in high school, so it's definitely something I'll end up bringing to the William & Mary community and to the Williamsburg community at large."
The last SHOW Day saw a 10 percent increase in participants from the previous year. It started with a lunch where Melody Porter, assistant director of the OCES, greeted students and told them that the day would be just the first step in achieving their service goals. Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler also spoke to the students, saying that the "culture of service at William & Mary is something of which we're very proud. I hope you have a joyous afternoon."
Along with visiting the residents of the Blayton Building, SHOW Day participants painted and did yard work for Housing Partnerships, cleaned barns and pastures for Dream Catchers, helped teachers set up classrooms at Head Start, posted sustainability tips around campus for the Committee on Sustainability and gleaned food from local farms to be used in the Campus Kitchen among other things.
Senior Amanda Potter indicated that it was more than just one day of service.
"I think it's about developing habits for the new students who come in," she said. "So if they start service now and also specifically with this project, if they start the habit of thinking about conservation and thinking about sustainability on campus and how they can do that here and how it's really easy and even encourage that in other people, I think that's something that they can take forward throughout the four years and then beyond that. It's about developing habits for a lifetime."