William & Mary’s Values in Action awards, established by two anonymous donors, recognize student organizations, faculty and staff who epitomize the university’s values of belonging, curiosity, excellence, flourishing, integrity, respect and service.
Stephen Trefethen, lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and volunteer volleyball coach, was selected to receive the spring faculty and staff award from a pool of nominees across the university. Student organization awardees included Active Minds; Alpha Phi Alpha Inc.; the American Bosnian Collaborative Project; the Black Student Organization; and United Against Inequities in Disease.
Values in Action Awards are given out in both the fall and spring semesters. Individuals receive $2,500 each, and student organizations $500 each.
Faculty & Staff
Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Volunteer Women’s Volleyball Coach
Volunteering year-round with Tribe Women’s Volleyball while maintaining a full-time teaching schedule, Trefethen embodies the W&M values of excellence and service. Known to the team as “Prof,” he motivates scholar-athletes to achieve their best on the court and in the classroom.
“Stephen has gone above and beyond ever since he arrived at W&M,” a nominator wrote. “He has not missed a single volleyball activity, including all the lifting/conditioning, practices, matches, team bonding and volunteering in the community.”
Trefethen has played a crucial role in the development of the libero position group for W&M Women’s Volleyball, with the team ranking second in the Colonial Athletic Association this season in serve receive, his area of specialty. Working one-on-one with libero Anna Porter ’23, he was instrumental to her success this year in earning Second Team All-Conference honors.
Active Minds exemplifies the value of flourishing by providing activities and support to enhance well-being among W&M students. Through open discussion, the organization also helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Active Minds holds bi-weekly club meetings where students engage in conversation about their mental health journeys. Members are encouraged to check in on their peers and share information about campus mental health resources.
The organization’s initiatives this year included a collaborative presentation with the Innocence Club on the intersection of mental health and incarceration; workshops on meditation and balance; and a bake sale supporting the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for the LGBTQ community. In the spring, Active Minds introduced Wellness Walks through Colonial Williamsburg, promoting the value of exercise in maintaining good mental health.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kappa Pi Chapter
The official motto of Alpha Phi Alpha calls for members to be “Servants of All.” The Kappa Pi Chapter at W&M lives out the value of service through its many activities on campus and in the Greater Williamsburg area.
Every Friday, for example, brothers of the chapter volunteer at Blair Middle School in a mentorship program, Distinguished Gentlemen. Kappa Pi has also collaborated with the First Baptist of Church of Williamsburg and the Let Freedom Ring Foundation to educate students about local Black history.
Projects this year included a political education panel to encourage civic engagement, featuring Virginia state delegates and a former Williamsburg vice mayor, among others. The chapter also held a hot chocolate fundraiser and donated over $400 to the March of Dimes.
American Bosnian Collaboration Project
The American Bosnian Collaboration (ABC) Project promotes the value of respect by bringing together W&M and Bosnian students to foster cross-cultural understanding and work towards positive change for the youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Established in the late 1990s and based at W&M’s Global Research Institute, the ABC Project provides a fully subsidized summer program for Bosnian children. W&M students co-teach with students from the University of Sarajevo, helping the children build skills such as tolerance and nonviolent communication.
Post-pandemic, W&M students were able to return on-site to Sarajevo for the summer 2022 program. Each class of Bosnian children presented a final project to their peers, including a play, “Our Kingdom,” about a society built on mutual respect for others and the environment.
Black Student Organization
Highlighting the value of belonging, the Black Student Organization works to foster connections among Black students at William & Mary and provides opportunities for individuals to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
The organization’s flagship event is Stompfest, a step show competition involving Black sororities and fraternities, as well as dance groups such as Afrodite and Ebony Expression. This past fall’s Stompfest, held at the Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre, attracted the largest attendance in event history.
Other activities this year included a Black Expo, showcasing student-owned businesses, a résumé workshop in collaboration with the Cohen Career Center and a Hidden Figures Instagram series. This spring, the organization introduced “Sunkissed Sunken,” a weekly social gathering in the Sunken Garden.
United Against Inequities in Disease
Recognized for the value of service, United Against Inequities in Disease (UAID) collaborates with local partners to improve community health and educate W&M students about health inequities related to socioeconomic factors.
This year, UAID partnered with two community organizations targeting food insecurity. Members volunteering at the Williamsburg House of Mercy, a local food bank, hosted food drives, participated in food and clothing distribution, and worked directly with clients to discuss housing, nutrition and other issues. Another group volunteered with the Student Health Initiative Program, creating lesson plans to promote healthy eating habits for students in elementary, middle and high schools across Williamsburg. Through these service activities, W&M students are empowered to achieve meaningful and sustainable change in health outcomes for Williamsburg residents.