Student Assembly President Yohance Whitaker ’16 remembers his freshman days all too well and wants to share what he has learned since his first day with the class of 2019.
Whitaker said he wants new students to welcome the community of the College of William and Mary and its familial atmosphere in order to experience all that the College has to offer.
“One of the pieces of advice I can give to the incoming class of 2019 is to fully embrace William and Mary,” Whitaker said. “I found that the William and Mary community and the William and Mary family is truly accepting. It’s comprised of the greatest students that I have ever met … Come here with an open mind and open arms and really engage.”
Whitaker focused on the College community’s ability to help each other and make sure that new students understand what that community means.
“Each person has a responsibility to uplift one another and to really make sure that when we say One Tribe, One Family, it is not something that is just a saying,” Whitaker said. “It is something that we really mean.”
He encouraged students to attend the Student Organization and Activity Fair, scheduled for Aug. 25, to become involved with some of the student organizations on campus. However, he recognized that choosing from 475 organizations can be daunting for new students, especially if they have no idea where to begin. He emphasized choosing organizations that fit an individual’s interests and seeking out the many leadership positions offered through the College’s student organizations.
“Follow the passion that got you here,” Whitaker said. “Run for Hall Council, run for Student Assembly elections, which will be in late September … I would hope that the incoming class takes advantage of the many opportunities to get involved.”
Additionally, Whitaker, who has been involved with the Student Assembly since his freshman days, shared some more specific advice for those students looking to run for SA positions.
“Get to know as many people as you can,” Whitaker said. “When you’re running for a position, you want to be known as someone who is approachable, someone who is friendly. There will be a Student Assembly table at the Student Activities Fair during orientation week, so if you have any questions, stop by.”
According to Whitaker, the SA looks to help new students adjust to life at the College by advocating for them and being transparent with its procedures, which were two of his campaign promises last spring.
“Making our William and Mary family larger and making sure that everyone is comfortable at William and Mary is really important to all of us,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker said that class senators, the class president and the executive branch will all be working to give the incoming class the best freshman experience possible this academic year.
“We’re really excited and have been planning for a while,” Whitaker said. “We’re looking forward to having all of our new students: transfer students, graduate students and freshmen.”