William & Mary Alumna Believes in Impact of Giving Back

For Anna Mahalak ’12, William & Mary is not only her alma mater but represents a sense of community, tradition and her home away from home. Mahalak said that she gives and encourages others to do the same because she believes everyone has one person or activity that made a difference during their time at the university.

In honor of our For the Bold campaign, will you share one of your own “bold” W&M moments?

The last semester of my senior year, I initiated the process with my good friend and freshman hallmate to bring the first-ever TEDxCollegeofWilliam&Mary to campus! It's been amazing to see how the event has grown year after year since then. The theme of our first conference was "Historically Innovative," which I felt was very bold.

Your involvement with William & Mary did not end with your time on campus. How would you encourage others to stay involved, even years after graduation?

Getting involved with William & Mary by volunteering or planning events with your local alumni chapter is a great way to make new friends in a new city, and build your professional network and resume. You can mentor students or recent graduates in your area to help them feel connected to the campus, even if you can't always visit for Homecoming. I joined the D.C. chapter alumni board because I wanted to continue the community I experienced at William & Mary and further expand/build upon it here in D.C.

Why do you support William & Mary?

I like to give to the Gamma Phi Beta House Improvement Fund because I lived there for two years and appreciate the community of Greek life. I also like to give to the Bosnia Project, William & Mary’s longest-running service trip, which gave me an amazing cross-cultural experience.

One of the top priorities of the For the Bold campaign is to increase our alumni participation rate to 40 percent. In your view, why do you think this is important?

Having worked in higher education, I know that university rankings include factors such as alumni participation. Thus, raising our participation rate raises the values of our degrees and the standing of the university as a whole.

How have you seen your support impact the university?

By donating to the W&M Branch Out Alternative Break program, alternative breaks are more financially accessible than ever before. More students are able to participate in these trips to explore their passions and have a larger impact on the communities they partner with.