Members of the College of William and Mary’s 323rd Student Assembly were sworn in during an inauguration ceremony held in the Wren Chapel Wednesday evening.
After thanking supporters, newly sworn-in SA President Yohance Whitaker ’16 spoke about the student body’s ownership of SA and SA’s responsibility to serve all students. It was his first presidential address.
“In my oath, I promised to do more,” Whitaker said. “I call each of us here today to do more, not less. So let us go forth, serve the College and do more.”
Whitaker mentioned plans promised in his campaign platform, including improving SA and William and Mary websites and lessening the financial burden on students with an SA textbook program.
“The programs outlined here are not just empty promises,” Whitaker said. “With our work, we will be able to produce a reality for every single student on our campus.”
College President Taylor Reveley, the keynote speaker, addressed the highs and lows of holding office in his speech.
“My point is, holding office is not always…light,” Reveley said. “But all this sounds utterly grim. Let’s think about how leading can be a joy. At its core, leadership is power. This power has the capacity to influence what happens, to get things that need to be done, to make the difference.”
Reveley emphasized that holding office can be a learning experience, offering practice in capturing people’s attention and being persuasive.
He commended inaugurated SA members for continuing the College’s tradition of service.
In his last speech as SA president, outgoing SA President Colin Danly ’15 thanked various members of SA, including Class of 2015 president Alexandria “Jo” Foster ’15, outgoing Vice President Kendall Lorenzen ’15, Chief of Staff Drew Wilke ’15 and his cabinet secretaries.
Danly likewise thanked various faculty members, such as Associate Director of Student Leadership Development Trici Fredrick M.Ed. ’05 for her help and advice and President Reveley for his leadership — and for laughing at his jokes.
Additionally, Danly directly addressed the newly-inaugurated members and stressed the importance of SA and its members’ service to the community.
“You all have taken up a great honor,” Danly said. “You have chosen to be stewards of our great College. All the hard work, all the programming, all the sleepless nights, all the seemingly pointless meetings, all this, you do for others.”
Danly stressed that SA should not forget about what he referred to as important issues — sexual assault, race relations and mental health — and should work to bring change to the campus and the nation.