The College of William & Mary’s annual “I am W&M” week will kick off this Saturday.
The week of events celebrates the diversity of the campus population through a variety of activities, discussions and performances.
“I am W&M week was started by the Diversity Initiatives cabinet in the Student Assembly Executive about three years ago and has become a tradition that the SA keeps up with every year,” said Brianna May ’12, the assembly’s secretary for diversity initiatives. “The point of the week is to highlight important (diversity-related or multi-cultural) events throughout the year that the students of the College have worked on or been involved in.”
The week will begin on Saturday with Sarah Kay’s Project V.O.I.C.E. at 7:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Auditorium. The project, which stands for Vocal Outreach into Creative Expression, seeks to inspire self-expression through spoken word poetry, according to its website.
On April 10, a panel discussion about the Lemon Project will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Chesapeake A room of the Sadler Center. The panel will feature three members of the Lemon Project committee and three students who have been conducting research for the project, which is a long-term research initiative that is examining the College’s history with slavery and its relationship with the African-American community through the Jim Crow era.
The next day, a panel discussion focusing on diversity in the social and Greek realm will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Tidewater A room of the Sadler Center.
Another panel discussion will be held on April 12 from 4 to 6 p.m., this time focusing on community service. That discussion will be located in the Tidewater A room of the Sadler Center.
On April 13, an LGBTQI Pride Festival will take place in the Crim Dell Meadow from 3 to 5 p.m.
Finally, the week will end with a Mosaic Concert for admitted students and the public at 7:30 p.m. in the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium.
“The Mosaic concert will showcase a multitude of student organizations that perform for students, the community, and the admitted students who will be on campus for ESCAPE (a program for multicultural admitted students) and DFAS (the day for admitted students,” said May.
Throughout the week, the Student Assembly will be selling T-shirts for $5, with $3 going to defray the cost of shirts next year. The other $2 will go into a fund that will help assist students in needs of financial help. That fund will be administered by Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler. The shirts will be on sale April 9 in the Sadler Center and on April 14 at a to-be-determined location.
The T-shirts will say “I am W&M,” but the letters in those words won’t be made using any ordinary font.
“This year Kaveh (Sadeghian), our SA president, sent out an e-mail to the College asking for submissions to fill in the blank: ‘I am __________.’ Using the words that the faculty, students and staff filled in, we came up with the design for the shirt,” said May.
According to Sadeghian, more than 990 people submitted 11,500 words. Of those words, about 5,000 were unique words or phrases. They were all incorporated into the design, “in an attempt to visualize all that comes together to create the Tribe,” Sadeghian said.
Sadeghian also put the submissions into a word cloud in order to see the most prominent words that were submitted. Some of the most-submitted words include creative, passionate, happy, loved and loving.
A Facebook cover photo design was also created for the William & Mary community to use throughout the week. The design includes an arrow that points to the Facebook profile picture, indicating that they are W&M, said Sadeghian. He used opposite colors on the color wheel to "symbolize how things may be opposite but they are still complementary,” he said. “The stripes are also influenced by gay pride symbolism, although the colors have been modified to reflect W&M.”