How to pursue your passion

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September 11, 2009

2:34 AM

When people hear the word “constitution,” most associate it with the document that details the foundation of our government. However, at the College of William and Mary, a constitution about cupcakes is not uncommon.

A “cupcake constitution” at the College embodies the foundations of the club Cupcakes for a Cause. In order to start one of the many student organizations on campus, the only requirement is for interested students to write a constitution outlining the details of the club.

“We ask students to create a constitution,” Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Constantine said. “Once they write one, then we set up an appointment. It’s really an informative time for students to share ideas and to ask questions.”

For Sarah McKinstry ’12, writing a constitution about cupcakes was the beginning of a new club that has already grown to 200-plus members. Cupcakes for a Cause is dedicated to raising money for the non profit Cancer Care for Kids organization, which provides free, professional support to children and teens affected by cancer.

The cupcake constitution, provides a basic outline for its creators to use in starting their new club at the College. It includes the club’s mission, purpose, officers, membership requirements and election process, along with other information. As the process goes for all clubs, a club can begin operation after its constitution has been approved.

“If the constitution looks good, they will get a letter that says their organization has been recognized,” Constantine said. “We give all of our organizations an e-mail address and we add them on our website.”
McKinstry began Cupcakes for a Cause over the summer and was able to raise awareness by posting advertisements in the student happenings e-mails. The club’s main event this fall is Cupcakes Week, occuring from Sept. 21 to 27. Throughout the week, club members will be baking and selling cupcakes around campus.

“We are going to sell cupcakes on the Terrace, the Marketplace and Sorority Court,” McKinstry said. “We are going to have tables set up and be selling cupcakes all week.”

Although the club was just formed this semester, McKinstry already has many volunteers signed up to help. Elissa Wiese ’13 signed up for the club because it is a cause that is important to her.

“I signed up for it because I lost an uncle to cancer,” Wiese said. “I have always been involved in Relay for Life and other cancer fundraising events. This just seemed like a fun way to raise money for a good cause.”
The OneLife Campaign is another club focused on cancer awareness that has started this semester.

“The OneLife Campaign was formed in memory of Jacob Nisbet ’10,” Chair Ryan Cerone ’10 said. Nisbet passed away last year. “After his death, I felt like this is an opportunity to do something good. The organization is centered on raising awareness for lymphoma, fundraising for research and making positive changes in the lives of those who have lymphatic cancer or are directly affected by it.”

Cerone felt that the College supported his efforts to start The OneLife Campaign.

“One of the great things about William and Mary is if you have a cause and really believe in it, the faculty and staff will really help,” he said.

William and Mary students tend to join multiple organizations, resulting in few additions to their packed schedules. “Many people on campus are involved in so many things.” Cerone said, “I got so many e-mails saying I want to come but I have such and such to do.”

Annah Mackin ’10, another member of the OneLife Campaign, agreed. “It’s a little difficult to get interest because there are so many groups on campus. We weren’t able to publicize a whole lot.”

There are over 400 student organizations on campus ranging from honorary societies to cultural clubs.
“We do not limit how many organizations we have at the College,” Constantine said. “Throughout the course of the year, we have about 20 to 25 organizations that start.”

Other new clubs this semester represent the diverse interests of the student body. One new club, Independent Feminist Fund, actually raises money to support other clubs.

“This is a group of students that really are looking to raise money and awareness for groups on campus that are feminist-friendly,” Constantine said. “A lot of people spend so much time trying to raise money for their organization, so this club is going to raise money for other organizations.”

Other new clubs include Operation Smile and a black pre-health professional organization. The black pre-professional organization is designed to create a support system for black students at the College.
“It is an organization that tries to provide knowledge, skills and support to African-American students aspiring to go into the medical field,” Constantine said. “It is so students know that there are other people who they can get helpful information from.”

Clubs can be formed at any point during the year.

“I’m sure I will see many more [new clubs] throughout the course of the year,” Constantine said.

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