It had been 5 years since I graduated GW... The GW community has always been part of my life, but I knew it was time for me to start giving back.
Name: Maria Fera, CCAS BA '15
City and Volunteer Position: New York, NY | Student Mentor & Thrive Guide
How long have you been volunteering for GW? What made you want to volunteer?
I started volunteering in June 2020. It had been 5 years since I graduated GW and I was looking for ways to be volunteer during the pandemic. I realized I now held knowledge and experiences that could help current students and recent graduates. The GW community has always been part of my life, but I knew it was time for me to start giving back in a way that could really help current students. I love working with students and connecting both professionally and personally. I have since have held a monthly virtual coffee student chat and have become a Thrive Guide for incoming freshmen.
What has been the most rewarding part of volunteering?
Getting to know the current GW students has been incredible. Each one brings something new to our discussions and they’re all so bright! Being able to hear about their experiences and help give my advice makes it all worth it. Many stay connected after our virtual coffee chats and I am so happy they utilize my offer to ask any and every question. The freshman I work with as their Thrive Guide, I am in constant contact with and seeing them grow is amazing!
Do you have a favorite #OnlyatGW story involving the alumni network in New York?
Everywhere you go there is GW alumni, especially in New York City. My #OnlyatGW moments in New York have been running into alumni all the time! From wearing a GW sweatshirt around my neighborhood and someone telling me it is their alma mater to running into old classmates randomly on the street (which happens all the time)!
Why is it important for you to volunteer? Do you have any advice for new volunteers?
I have been given so many opportunities and advice from being part of the GW community that it is important I stay connected with GW. I am who I am because of GW and I want current students to know that there are alumni out there who want them to succeed, just like I experienced. My advice to new volunteers is to be as genuine as possible when working with GW students. Every time I open up and tell them a story about my time at GW, they instantly open up and become more relaxed. The connection you get from those instances make for the best discussions the students really can learn from.