William & Mary

SHOWing up for the ’burg

Because who doesn’t like playing with kittens and serving their community?

  • SHOWing Up:
    SHOWing Up:  The newest members of the Tribe family spend the last day of summer break participating in Students Helping Out Williamsburg (SHOW) Day.  Photo by Erin Fryer
  • SHOW Day:
    SHOW Day:  In just a single day, students have the opportunity to lend a helping hand by taking part in activities like socializing and making homemade toys at the local humane society.  Photo by Erin Fryer
  • SHOW Day:
    SHOW Day:  The annual event provides an orientation to the service opportunities available in Williamsburg.  Photo by Erin Fryer
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William & Mary freshmen and transfers are not just new students – they are also new members of the Williamsburg community. Each year the newest members of the Tribe spend their last day of summer break not lounging by the pool, but serving their new community by participating in Students Helping Out Williamsburg (SHOW) Day.

The event provides an orientation to the service opportunities available in town. Students are able to join one of 10 projects each designed to show a unique element of their new home while making an impact through service.

In just a single day, students partake in activities like:

  • Socializing kittens and making them homemade toys at the local animal shelter.
  • Planting strawberry plants at Williamsburg Botanical Gardens.
  • Helping install insulation as part of a Housing Partnerships project.
  • Completing craft projects with adults with special needs.
  • Performing trail maintenance at a local park.
Lending time, energy and talent to do some good in the world is a crucial element of William & Mary’s ethos, and it’s something that attracts many of our students to the university.

“We hope that SHOW Day gives our students a taste of service that will lead them to further community engagement, whether they volunteer regularly or come up with new ways to offer their gifts to the world,” says Melody Porter, director of the Office of Community Engagement.

For students looking to take a deeper dive before their first day of classes, there’s the 7 Generations program, which offers a crash course in local issues before the students even attend orientation. The program focuses on important social issues in the area, like poverty, sustainability and civic engagement.

7 Generations, which is named after the Iroquois proverb that “in every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations,” splits the students into three groups that each live and work together over the course of seven days.

"7 Generations facilitates students building and serving the community by having their first introduction to William & Mary come through the lens of community engagement,” says Elizabeth Miller ‘11, OCE’s assistant director. “From the beginning they see that they are now part of the Tribe family, but they also recognize that they have neighbors and a community off campus that they can build relationships with as well."

SHOW Day and 7 Generations are just two examples of ways students can make an impact in the community. Visit www.wm.edu/oce to learn more about programs offered by the Office of Community Engagement (OCE).