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New tradition: Student to reflect on W&M's charter

  • Student speaker
    Student speaker  Meghan Moore  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Meghan Moore ’13 loves William & Mary. As a freshman resident assistant, Moore ’13 shares this advice with her freshman girls: “Try to soak it all up.” 

In her three years at William & Mary, Moore, a sociology and government double major, has done just that. Now she will use that experience to reflect on College’s royal charter during this year’s Charter Day ceremony, a new tradition at the event. 

“I love how the history is very much the nature of the charter -- It’s living and breathing,” Moore said. “It’s still going today. It’s not something we go to a little museum on campus and look through a glass and appreciate. It’s something that we see all around us, walking through the Sunken Garden, or when we see a wedding at Wren.” 

Having a student reflect on the charter is a new tradition started this year. 

“The student speaker at Charter Day helps further the goal of making this rich tradition a campus-wide celebration,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06. “The student speaker at Charter Day will add a present day student voice to the 319 year old founding document.” 

Students could apply to be selected by submitting an essay about the impact of the charter on the College as well as the College’s impact on themselves. The committee choosing the speaker selected Moore out of 17 applicants, according to Ambler.

“The student speaker selection committee thought Meghan’s speech was exceptional both in content and delivery,” Ambler said. “Her message really resonated with the students on the selection committee.”

As a high school student, Moore had her heart set on the College the moment she stepped on campus for a Model U.N. conference.

“I just went here for the competition and fell in love with it,” Moore said. “You know when you meet some people, it just feels like you’ve known them for decades? That’s what it felt like with William & Mary.”

Her love for the College ripened during her semester at the College’s Washington, D.C. campus.

“Being away from campus really allowed me to step back and realize what I value here and what I really enjoy here,” Moore said. “Also, it was a scary reminder that all of this is very ephemeral. It does only last four years, and I think that’s where my true love came out for the campus, for the people out here, for the organizations.

As a student, in addition to participating in the W&M in Washington program, she also traveled to Morocco as a part of the study abroad program and to Belize as part of the student-led service organization Students4Belize Education. Moore wrote her essay reflecting on Charter Day while on a family vacation after spending her winter break in Belize. Her essay will be the basis of her speech during the ceremony.

“I just really got to thinking about my time at William & Mary,” Moore said. “We really are incredibly lucky to go here and to have such a first-rate education. I’m so lucky to go to an institution that really prides itself on giving back [to the] community.”

While the College has grown so differently from the vision of its royal charter, which consisted of “one President, six Masters or Professors, and an hun- dred scholars more or less,” the spirit of charter continues. For Moore, talking to returning alumni and listening to their stories epitomizes this.

“It’s just so great to see that their love for William and Mary continues long past graduation,” Moore said. “Since the campus is so old, it’s not one of those things where a story that they tell is totally foreign to you. Within the nature of tradition, there’s [something] constant, but it’s always changing.”