Service Learning

Environmental Studies program service learning one-credit courses engage students in serving the Rockbridge community through their coursework. Service-learning courses ideally require twenty-four hours of service per term, maintenance of a journal, and a final graded reflective paper demonstrating student' understanding of the relation of service work to environmental themes.

These courses are intended to complement the Introduction to Environmental Studies 110 course, which you should have already completed. It follows a service-learning process, which combines teaching, learning, and reflecting. Students may select from a variety of service learning placements and, within those placements, from a variety of service projects and focus themes.

Environmental Education- Students will work with Boxerwood Gardens, an Arboretum and Nature Center in Rockbridge County. Boxerwood is a non-profit organization that provides environmental education experiences to visiting elementary, kindergarten and pre-school classes, especially related to habitat, soil, and water topics. Students will typically work with one class (and teacher) per day from Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County.

University Sustainability- Students will work with the Environmental Management Coordinator collecting data on a selected project from among many projects to increase sustainability of the Washington and Lee campus. Projects may include (among many other options): helping with University Sustainability Committee, helping to establish a permaculture garden on the main campus grounds, alien invasive species control on back campus, green dorm competitions (energy, waste minimization), trash audits. Students may also propose their own University Sustainability project for instructor approval.

Community Sustainable Agriculture- Students will take an active, learning and working role on a local, small-scale organic farm, working closely with knowledgeable, thoughtful and impassioned farmers who provide their sustenance and livelihood from growing, preserving and sometimes selling organic produce, eggs and meats. Students will also have the option to work with Rockbridge Grown, a local producers affiliate in Rockbridge County, whose mission it is to promote the sustainable production and consumption of local agricultural products and services in order to nourish regional economic, environmental and physical health.

Community Conservation Outreach- Students will work with Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC) whose mission is "to promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural resources and cultural heritage through education, advocacy, and action in order to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future inhabitants of Rockbridge". Involvement may include: advocacy, education and action, participation in RACC projects, involvement in water quality issues, organization and planning of annual RACC community cleanup, helping to design and create an "energy kit" available and accessible to community members who could "check out" to measure home energy consumption, participation in the governance/maintenance of the organization, and an option for service on the board of directors. Students may also submit their own ideas/passions for projects to RACC.