It is no secret that Wawa is not only an integral part of the College of William and Mary community, but for many of us, it is a second home that holds fond memories of freshman hall bonding, mac and cheese and late-night coffee runs. It is cheap, available 24 hours and for many students the college experience would not be the same without it. That is why when Wawa approached the College about problematic behavior displayed by students during late night weekend hours, the Student Conduct Council wanted to take on this issue.
Anyone that has been to Wawa late at night on the weekends knows that it is incredibly busy. Overcrowding has always been a problem, but as of late, employees have expressed concerns about increased disrespectful behavior. This includes stealing, yelling at workers, loitering and fighting inside the store. There have even been reports of customers directly insulting some of the employees. This behavior is unacceptable. Many of us on the Council as well as in the College community have worked in the food and service industry before, and understand that the public can sometimes be difficult to handle. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced disrespect in these positions first-hand and can empathize with Wawa employees.
It would be unfair to generalize all students at the College as people who might be engaging in this kind of behavior. With that said, the minority of students who are engaging in this behavior reflect on the College in a way that many of us are not happy with. The large William and Mary presence at Wawa implies that even if students are not directly responsible for this behavior, they are probably witnessing it.
In other words, this becomes about accountability. We as a community need to be more self-aware and mindful of our behavior, not only as students at the College, but also as compassionate human beings. The College’s values include being respectful and empathetic to others, both of which are crucial in cultivating the unique One Tribe, One Family environment that makes us who we are. With that being said, it should not be a matter of adhering to these institutional values but should be a matter of embodying basic human values. Kindness, courtesy and civility are universal concepts that everyone can understand and support.
Wawa is, without a doubt, an integral part of the College community. It holds a special place in many of our hearts and for that reason should be nurtured, cared for and treated properly. The bottom line is, Wawa employees do not deserve this kind of behavior, and we as a campus need to recognize that.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, visit the William and Mary Student Conduct Council’s Facebook page for our whiteboard campaign and video about students’ reactions.