The W&M First Year Experience

An Ambassador’s Welcome to the Tribe

November 7, 2017 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Hey y’all! My name is Katie Brownfiel, and I’m a sophomore from the land of the best pizza, Long Island, NY. I’m an English major and soon to be double major in Secondary Education, and, like most of the Tribe, I love to be involved with campus life. I participate in quiz bowl and swing dancing, am a researcher in a psychology lab, and also love to help new and perspective students. I was an Orientation Aide this fall for GGV (Lions and Eagles and Griffins Oh My!), and since last spring, I’ve been a Tribe Ambassador.

If you’ve been to the admissions office before or after a tour, had lunch with a student, or came to a Weekend Information Session, you’ve probably seen a Tribe Ambassador. Our job is to answer any and all questions you have about student life and to make you feel welcome in our second home. We want you to love William & Mary as much as we do, so don’t be afraid to ask us questions about dorms, major programs, clubs, where to find cute dogs, or the best places to eat.

My favorite part of the Tribe Ambassador program is having lunch with potential students. Over the course of an hour, I feel as though a stranger has become a friend. My favorite lunch session involved two potential students and I sharing pictures of our pets, talking about my favorite things to do around campus, and discussing the plethora of ways that they could get involved with the campus community. After lunch I gave them a tour of campus and showed them all of the places that don’t always make the tour, the secret room in Tucker, the arguably coziest place to study in the library, and the Echo Spot, as well as the buildings where they’ll be studying in future. It was incredible to see their delighted faces as they entered Blair and Adair, the central points of their majors, and saw themselves at home there.

The most rewarding and enjoyable Tribe Ambassador session for me actually happened after my hour shift was over. A high school student from California was unable to join the tour, but she really wanted to see campus. Seeing as I was done with classes for the day, I took her on a personal tour of campus. This moment meant so much to me because it reflected why I joined the Admissions team in the first place. When I was a junior and touring colleges with my family, I already knew that William & Mary was high on my list from my online research. However, the people I met during my tour were what put William & Mary at the number one spot on my list. I probably got myself lost about three times before my tour, and each and every time, without my asking, a student came up to me, asked if I needed directions, offered a smile, and showed me the way. I even had two students stop and talk with my mom and me for half an hour about their experiences on campus. While so many other schools talk about community, generosity, and compassion in the abstract, this was the first time that I’d seen it applied so broadly.

Seeing as my favorite thing to do is answer questions, I’ll close my post with some common questions.

  1. Is there anything to do in Williamsburg/campus?

Yes and yes! No matter what you’re interested in, William & Mary has something for you! We boast over 450 clubs and organizations so I always encourage students to get involved. There is always something going on during the weekends, from improv comedy shows to music concerts to movie screenings to cultural events to sports games, so there’s no excuse to be bored. On top of all that, Williamsburg has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday and a music and arts fair twice a month – just to name two of the many activities that are steps away from campus

  1. How’s the food?

While it’s not your mom’s famous meatloaf, the food on campus is actually pretty good. We have three dining halls on campus in addition to two coffee shops, two food trucks, Qdoba, Cosi, and some cafés inside the grad schools. There’s a variety of home-style, international, vegetarian, and vegan options, and, if those don’t suit your fancy, there’s tons of restaurants in Williamsburg within walking distance.

  1. How approachable are the professors?

Professors are incredibly approachable and helpful with office hours! I’ve had a professor hold office hours in the local coffee shop, and there’s a chemistry professor who brings her dog to review sessions. It’s important to remember that professors are people, too, who also love Doctor Who and Stranger Things. If you have questions about your papers, research, or a test, please seek out your professor!


Keep calm and carry on; you’re almost to Thanksgiving!

One Tribe, One Family,


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