Preserving history, ensuring smiles: Colleen Rodgers ’22 shares embracing character of the College, building community

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Colleen Rodgers '22 is in involved in various activities around campus. COURTESY PHOTO/COLLEEN RODGERS

Colleen Rodgers ’22, a history and American studies major from Northern Virginia, fell in love with the College of William and Mary after her first visit to campus. Now, after having applied to the College as an Early Decision candidate two years ago, she has both pursued her passions for history as a Spotswood Society tour guide and explored new extracurricular engagements on campus. 

In addition to her work touring visitors around the Sir Christopher Wren Building, Rodgers is also a resident assistant in Landrum Hall, the co-coordinator of Campus Kitchen and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Furthermore, she is the creator of the Instagram account @frogsofwm, which documents unique and friendly frogs spotted around the College’s historic grounds. 

Beyond photographing amphibians, Rodgers is especially devoted to her work with the Spotswood Society, which she discovered during a visit to the Wren Building during a class her freshman year.  

“For my COLL 100, freshman year in the fall, we went to Wren for a class, and then Susan Kern, who’s in charge of the Wren Building, came and talked to us about it, Rodgers said. 

After that experience, Rodgers applied for a position in the spring semester and became a Wren Building tour guide. She is passionate about sharing history with different audiences, ranging from students on the College’s campus to tourists interested in the campus’s history.  

“Being a history and American studies major, it really combines both of my favorite interests, and I really like talking to people, so it’s a really fun way to get to know the tourists that come into William and Mary,” Rodgers said.   

Rodgers enjoys hearing about the various aspects of history and the characteristics and stories of the Wren Building that different people are interested in, and delights in seeing peoples’ reactions to historical tidbits she shares on her tours.  

“One of my favorite things that’s happened is one time, around Parents’ Weekend, I had a couple come in and they said, ‘Oh our daughter’s a freshman here, and she has a class in here, I want to see what’s it like,’” Rodgers said. “So I brought them into the classroom that their daughter had, and they were so excited.” 

“One of my favorite things that’s happened is one time, around Parents’ Weekend, I had a couple come in and they said, ‘Oh our daughter’s a freshman here, and she has a class in here, I want to see what’s it like,’” Rodgers said. “So I brought them into the classroom that their daughter had, and they were so excited.” 

The Wren Building is Rodgers favorite building on campus. She is especially fascinated by the crypts lying underneath the Wren Chapel, given the permanence and significance of those buried there. Even more interesting than the crypts is the Wren Building’s vast record of destruction and rebirth, notably its tumultuous experiences of being burned down several times. 

It’s such a living building; it has experienced so much over the years. You can see the Civil War bullet holes that are in the brick and see the actual progression of the bricks as it changed, and what fires happened,” Rodgers said. “I think it’s so cool to observe all that history, and I get to share that with people.”  

It’s such a living building; it has experienced so much over the years. You can see the Civil War bullet holes that are in the brick and see the actual progression of the bricks as it changed, and what fires happened,” Rodgers said. “I think it’s so cool to observe all that history, and I get to share that with people.”  

Outside her work in Wren, Colleen is the creator and manager of the “@frogsofwm Instagram account, which captures images of frogs that students encounter around campus.  

“I had already had, coming into freshman year, an album that was ‘cool frogs of the summer’ because I would see so many frogs and snap photos,” Rodgers said.  

After recognizing how many frogs there were on campus, she followed a suggestion from her roommate to expand her personal collection of frog photos into a public account to share with the College’s community.  

“It kind of shows a lot about how William and Mary is, in general…” Rodgers said. “It makes me feel good too to sit down after a busy day and write this stupid frog post, but people are going to enjoy that and it’s going to make people happy, and it makes me happy.” 

“It kind of shows a lot about how William and Mary is, in general…” Rodgers said. “It makes me feel good too to sit down after a busy day and write this stupid frog post, but people are going to enjoy that and it’s going to make people happy, and it makes me happy.” 

Rodgers considers her page to be a useful form of stress relief and happiness, as well as a fun form of social media for students to engage with. She said she receives plenty of submissions from the community of funny frog photos to share with her followers 

“With the frogs, that’s a thing that I think is well received among students, so I guess I’m impacting them in that way by bringing a little light into their social media times.”  

While sharing frog photos is a light-hearted way Rodgers spends her time, she is also heavily involved in Campus Kitchen, where she aids efforts to maximize food security at the College and the surrounding Williamsburg and James City County communities. Despite the important roles she holds at the Spotswood Society and “@frogsofwm, she is confident that her time at Campus Kitchen has been most influential in helping other people. 

“I think the most impactful thing I do is with Campus Kitchen, and I’m actually helping to feed the community,” Rodgers said. 

Ultimately, Rodgers feels that Williamsburg’s rich history and unique identity, incomparison to other historical sites in Virginia, allow her to commit herself to so many different diverse roles on campus.  

“The efforts of Colonial Williamsburg to preserve the history of the area is definitely a huge draw for people like me who are into that sort of thing, and I think throughout Virginia you get that, but it’s different in a way,” Rodgers said.