Jasmine Martinez `23
Bienvenidas & Belonging
In late August of 2019, I walked on campus for the first time as a student. As I started to look around me, I found no one who looked like me. My hope soon turned to feelings of imposter syndrome and fear of the future, did I truly belong here? A few weeks into the semester my sister, Sara Martinez, invited me to a Latin American Student Union (LASU) general body meeting. I didn’t know it back then, but this would soon turn into my home away from home. LASU felt like a warm hug, one which I desperately needed at the time. I looked to get more involved in LASU and joined the exec board late that Spring as the Marketing Chair and I can, without a doubt, say that it has transformed my time here at William & Mary. All of whom have taught me and demonstrated the importance of an inclusive environment. An executive position that originally started as just making fliers quickly turned into an opportunity to meet new people and share stories of triumphs and challenges of attending William & Mary. Now, my goal is to extend that warm hug I once received to everyone I meet, whether it be in LASU or outside of the organization. In doing so, I remember all those who have extended their warmth to me and the critical role they played in my accomplishments.
“Boba, will you be back during summer camp?” During Kesem Fall Camp 2021, a camper came up to ask me that very question, and before I could answer, my heart flared with joy. Kesem is a national organization dedicated to creating experiences and a lasting community to support children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Camps are part of these experiences and they provide a space for campers to be their true authentic selves and feel safe to share the challenges of coping with their parent’s cancer diagnosis. From the campers themselves to working on the coordination board, my engagement in Kesem has been nothing but magical. Currently, I am a volunteer co-coordinator, and the opportunity to work collaboratively with my co’s, the rest of the coordination team, and the Kesem chapter of W&M is what truly allows the magic to exist. Our collaboration is what ensures Kesem can be the best it can be and ensures that our campers are engaged. Kesem has shown me the importance of collaboration in the face of adversity and the need for the community to ensure resilience.