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The award, which is annually given out by the Office of the Governor of Virginia, selects one individual or organization per category out of a state-wide pool of candidates. All candidates must be nominated for an award in one of three categories for individual achievement awards and five categories for group achievement awards.
The Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity won an award in the "Outstanding educational Institution" category, which is awarded to groups of volunteers that are serving in or from an educational institution, according to the website of the Office of Volunteerism and Community Service for the state of Virginia.
Alpha Phi Alpha, a five to eight member, historically African-American fraternity on campus, was recently given the award for the service work that the group has done and the impact it has made in the Williamsburg community.
"I am extremely proud that the chapter has been recognized for all of the hard work we put into the community," said Will Morris '11, fraternity president. "This award is a culmination of 35 years worth of service we have put into the William & Mary and the local Williamsburg community since our chapter was chartered on this campus in 1975."
The fraternity itself prides itself upon several service activities that they participate in throughout the year, including a weekly after-school mentorship program held at area middle schools and programs that help the elderly in a local senior citizen home. The group is also instrumental in participating annually in the Alan Buzkin Memorial Bone Marrow Drive and the "Stand Up" Service Week Campaign sponsored by the College's Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship (OCES).
"With the myriad of initiatives we are involved with in the community it is hard to single out one that we can call our greatest accomplishment," Morris said. "That being said, if I was forced to choose, I would say that our initiatives towards underrepresented, at risk-youth through mentoring is our most commendable striving."
The fraternity was first nominated by the OCES, but an independent awards committee formed by the Governor's Advisory Board on National and Community Service ultimately made the final decision on the award recipients.
"This award, of which, only a handful in the state of Virginia were given, accurately represents our ongoing commitment to the community," Morris said, highlighting the values of excellence, leadership and reliability that the fraternity holds dear. "We have been responsible for implementing workshops, curriculum, and other activities and we play a vital role in connecting campus and community resources for the benefit of our youth. We devote a great amount of time and energy into quality chapter programming that revolves around youth."
Morris said that for him personally, community service is important quite simply for the benefit it does for the surrounding community as a whole but also for the benefits that it gave him.
"I serve because I believe in love for all mankind, I believe that investing time and energy into the community will be result in bountiful dividends," Morris said. "I want to be able to say that my life is worthwhile; I desire to affect change in multiple ways for the better. My model of affecting change operates on a pillar of hands-on service. To me, this type of uplift is the most tangible and rewarding."