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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Tyler Tokarczyk '12

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Major: Journalism

Extracurricular Involvement: Traveller

Off-Campus Experience: Sports Intern at WGRZ Channel 2 Buffalo

Favorite Class: The Concepts of Honor with Professor Sessions

Favorite W&L Event: Christmas in the Country, Christmas Weekend

When I stepped on the Washington and Lee campus in the fall of my first year, I was unsure of what to expect and how I would fit into campus life.

I remember attending the Student Activities Fair during Orientation Week in Stemmons Plaza, looking for a club or organization to join. Enticed by a free t-shirt, I made my way to the Traveller Safe Ride table and struck up a conversation with the chair, Rebecca Koval. It was after our brief conversation that day that I knew Traveller was an organization I wanted to be a part of here at W&L. My older brother always warned me about the dangers of drinking and driving, and his advice stuck with me coming to school. The opportunity to join an organization dedicated to getting students home safely was too good to pass up. I signed up that afternoon, and was hired during winter term of my first year. The next fall I was selected to be a class representative on the Steering Committee, where I learned a great deal about the organization and helped institute the new Traveller Conduct Policy.

During my junior year, I was selected to be the public relations chair and was invited to speak at the 10-year anniversary of two W&L students' deaths in a drunk driving accident. It was at this event that I realized the real importance of Traveller to the W&L community. Adam Burchett '02 and Kristin Shelton '04 lost their lives in a fatal accident that took an emotional toll on both their families and the W&L community. I was able to join the friends and family of Adam and Kristin and listen to stories and anecdotes about each of them. Some of Adam and Kristin's closest friends told me about how they founded Traveller in response to losing their friends, and described the organization's humble beginnings. Traveller started with just a couple of student and faculty volunteers driving the geology vans for a few hours each weekend. Now, ten years later, Traveller consists of over 40 employees, owns two minivans, rents five 25-passenger buses and runs seven nights a week.

In my senior year as Traveller chair, my experience at W&L has come full circle. Speaking at the first-year orientation and working the Traveller booth at the Student Activities Fair, I realized the significance Traveller has had for me during my time here. I've gained experience being part of a team on the Steering Committee, and I have developed my skills as a leader during my time as chair. Without Traveller, it is hard to say just how different my time here at W&L would have been.