A Goodwill Mission – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A Goodwill Mission

Throughout the end of February, first-year Amanda Ward coordinated an effort to collect items and put together care packages for U.S. military forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now two thirds of the way through April, she is able to rest assured knowing not only that her packages made it overseas, but that her altruism is widespread and appreciated. “I was really surprised the first time I received an e-mail from the troops that received care packages,” says Ward. “They really appreciated our efforts. It makes my day knowing that I am doing something that is important to these men and women and that I am helping in my own small way.” Ward, whose father is in the military and currently serving in Iraq, has pursued these interests since the beginning of the Iraq conflict. She was involved in a high school club that compiled care packages monthly and felt that this was an important project to tackle. “These military members are amazing,” she said. “They are risking their lives every day for us, and I felt that we should do something in return for them.” Her project drew a surprisingly strong response from a campus that is generally opposed to the war. Citing that you don’t have to support the war to support the soldiers, she made clear the importance of bringing aid and cheer to our fellow citizens, “I have heard stories about soldiers who are upset about the lack of support they receive from home. It is important for them to know that there are students who support them and are thinking about them.” With essential support from the Rotaract Club, Ward and fellow HWS students were able to put together care packages containing gum, candy, air fresheners and licorice among a vast array of items – one soldier in particular responded that the venison jerky was a big hit. Ward notes how easy it is to do the little things that express support. Moreover, she stresses the importance of being there for the families left at home. “Many soldiers are thinking about them constantly,” she says. “And it would be a great relief to them if they knew their families were being supported by their neighbors and others in the community. Once again, the key thing to remember is that you do not have to be in support of the war to support the troops.” Thinking back to the response from the HWS community, Ward concluded; “People talk about how they think our country is going in the wrong direction- so if you think this way then get involved and do something to change it. From what I’ve see of the dedicated students on this campus, anything is possible.”