William and Mary Digest: Nov. 8

Contact Reporterwwright@vagazette.com

Soledad O’Brien to speak on campus

Students at the College of William and Mary can see reporter Soledad O’Brien speak on Nov. 14.

She is the university’s Andrews Distinguished Fellow in American Politics and will speak about the importance of diversity in both television news and in everyday American life.

O’Brien is the anchor on nationally-syndicated show “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.”

“Soledad O’Brien clearly honors journalism’s charge to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,’ ” President Taylor Reveley said. “She has worked personally and professionally to make a difference for the better. Her devotion to mentorship has been striking. She knows its power to transform lives and to help close persistent achievement gaps in our society. We have much to learn from Ms. O’Brien; she will be an excellent Hunter Andrews Fellow.”

The late Hunter Andrews, a former state senator, started the fellowship in 1998. Last year’s fellow was former presidential speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson.

When: Nov. 14, 7:45 p.m.

Where: Sadler Center, 200 Stadium Drive, Williamsburg

Campus Cursive brings cheer, encouragement to students

Amy Olejniczak has founded the college’s chapter of Campus Cursive, meant to give students a chance to encourage each other via hand-written notes. Students can nominate other students they think can use a pick-me-up.

“I had no idea people would be so receptive to that,” Olejniczak said. “It just goes to show that everyone needs a little bit of encouragement. It’s also testament to the power of the written word, especially in an era in which technology is moving so quickly and with college students being so busy and moving in a million different directions. It can be very nice having something lasting and permanent, assuring us that we are on the right path.”

Olejniczak patterned her idea after an international organization called More Love Letters. The tight-knit feel on campus helps promote the organization and explains much of its popularity, she said.

“One of the things I like most about William and Mary is the fantastic sense of community we have here. People look out for one another and they want to show others that they care.”

To inquire about joining or recommend someone to receive a letter, email chapter representatives at cursive@email.wm.edu.

Conference on effect flooding could have on regional economy

Coastal flooding is already affecting military operations in the Hampton Roads area, said U.S. Rep Rob Wittman on Oct. 27 at the fifth annual Virginia Coastal Policy Center Conference. The college’s law school hosted the conference.

“On average, about nine days a year, the (Norfolk) base is affected by recurrent flooding,” Wittman said. “The same at Norfolk Naval facility where we have to make sure that sailors can get back and forth to their ships either for training or for deployment.”

Reoccurring flooding is directly tied to the military, and thus the Hampton Roads economy at large, university President Taylor Reveley said.

“William and Mary cares about the military; we also care very much about the health and welfare of Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole,” Reveley said in a prepared statement. “Failure to effectively defend the coast of Hampton Roads, if it led to the forced departure of the military bases located here, would be a severe blow to the economic and social fabric not just of Hampton Roads, but all of Virginia.”

Elizabeth Andrews, director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center within the college’s law school, said the state is susceptible to flooding and the onus is on both the private and public spheres to work together.

“We have the land sinking from subsidence, and we have the waters rising and we have extreme weather, and sometimes inadequate storm water systems,” Andrews said. “It takes planning ahead, it takes implementation authority and it takes funding.”

Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.

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