Global Playground launched fundraising efforts for the upcoming Vietnam project on Nov. 7 with a kick-off event at the College of William & Mary hosted by Professor of Hispanic Studies George Greenia and Tom Wood.
In one evening, with a mix of faculty, administrators, Williamsburg community members, undergraduate and law students in attendance, Global Playground raised $8,168. The event was sponsored by Vinson & Elkins LLP, a law firm in Washington D.C., who donated $5,000.
“We had about 45 people there, which was excellent,” Greenia said. “It really shows how people rise to a level of personal commitment.”
The fundraiser emerged from a conversation between Global Playground Chairman Doug Bunch and Greenia in D.C. in September.
“Doug did most of the organizing, things came together very quickly,” Greenia said. “We realized between Doug and I when we built our complimentary list that there were scores of people involved with Global Playground in Williamsburg.”
President of the College of William & Mary Taylor Reveley, former Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler, Student Assembly President Kaveh Sadeghian, and many other notable members of the campus community attended the event. Both Bunch and Domestic Fellow Ryan Drysdale visited Williamsburg for the fundraiser.
“It was one of the first opportunities I had had for the students to interact around a cause not only with other students, but with other professors, other administrators, and with other members of the community,” Sadeghian said. “It was a novel way for students and members of the community to engage with a cause relative to the way that we have typically done this on campus.”
Greenia agreed that it gave students a chance to learn in a different way.
“Its extremely valuable for undergrad and grad students to see how these things happen and how they are run so when it is their turn they see how to step in,” Greenia said. “You learn to be comfortable in that situation and know that it is okay to ask for money. You see what inspires the generosity of others.”
Greenia noted the recent success of Global Playground as an aspiring message to people and students on campus who hope to start successful projects of their own.
“I have been here for thirty years, and I have seen a number of student initiatives that emerged with great expectations and great commitment, but sort of folded when people graduated and moved on,” Greenia said. “This is a rare instance where it has only grown since it has been out of college.”
Reveley was also impressed with Global Playground’s growth.
“Global Playground’s recent efforts in Vietnam seem to be off to a very promising start,” Reveley said. “This project has the potential to do an enormous amount of good. It comes as no surprise, in light of Global Playground’s splendid track record, that its recent fundraiser in Williamsburg went extremely well.”
The guests in attendance at the event spoke to the wide range of people that are attracted to Global Playground on this campus and in the overall community.
“It was created by William and Mary students and continues to attract the interest of a broad spectrum within our undergraduate and graduate communities, from classical studies, to government, to religious studies, to modern languages, to the law school; it has earned the active support of an astonishingly large number of faculty and administrators as well,” Greenia said.
Although this was Greenia’s first direct involvement with Global Playground, he admires the organization.
“Their reach is truly global, which means it retains its flexibility and responsiveness to specific local situations without becoming engrossed in a single social or political situation,” Greenia said. “The mission focus is savvy and tight: education and children, period.”