William & Mary’s Greek community is receiving national recognition for its work with the Arc of Greater Williamsburg, which provides support to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The William & Mary Panhellenic Council, the College’s
sorority governance council, has been named the recipient of the National
Panhellenic Conference’s biennial “Make a Difference” Award for its work with
Arc. Representatives from the council will receive the award at a banquet in
Texas in October.
"Receiving this award was a flattering and incredible compliment to our Panhellenic Council and all Greek students. Not only that, but it speaks wonders for the work that Arc is doing for our community," said Dani Rosen '13, a history major and member of Pi Beta Phi who serves as the council's vice president for community service. "I think that receiving the award will help a lot with popularizing more Arc events, besides the carnival. It can also help to raise awareness among the William & Mary staff about the community service work that Panhellenic does, and how dedicated Greek students are to our community."
Each spring, the William & Mary Panhellenic Council works with the rest of the Greek community to host a carnival on campus for the Arc participants. The most recent carnival, which was held this spring for the 12th consecutive year, saw more Arc participants and Greek volunteers – 300 – than ever before.
In addition to the carnival, the Panhellenic council also sponsors two to three other events for Arc each semester. These events have included bingo, arts and crafts, and dancing. The council also hosts advocacy events for Arc, aimed at helping Arc participants discuss and set personal goals.
“The Panhellenic (and the Inter-Fraternity Council) involvement with Arc is a great way to come together as an entire community of organizations with similar core values and actually make a difference in Williamsburg,” said Jordan Peterson ’13, an international relations major and member of Alpha Chi Omega who served as the council’s vice president for community service last year and is its vice president this year.
the individual chapters have their own philanthropies they raise money for and
participate in, but working as one-third of the student body has the ability to
truly affect the Arc,” she said.
Rosen said that the Arc is "an incredible program."
"It provides support and friendship for those who sometimes can be overlooked in our society," she said. "The individuals that the Arc carnival helps are unbelievably warm and funny people. When Panhellenic students offer their services to ARC they create unbreakable bonds with Arc clients. The Greek community embraces the values of friendship and support that go perfectly with what Arc seeks to do. Panhellenic students make up a huge percentage of Arc volunteers and help extend community service opportunities to the rest of our student body as well."
Peterson, who will become the president of the Panhellenic Council in 2012, said one of the reasons she became a member of the Greek community was because of its involvement with Arc, and she’s found that it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Having something other than social commitments and fundraising for the community to focus on has definitely improved the quality of the community as a whole,” she said. “Our involvement with Arc is something I've enjoyed watching grow since coming to William & Mary, and I'm thrilled that Panhellenic is being recognized for its achievement in creating an important relationship between William & Mary Greeks and Arc.”