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Volunteer Venture

Volunteer Venture is a one week service-learning pre-orientation program for incoming students. The program introduces students to the contributing factors of poverty in cities surrounding W&L:  Roanoke, VA; Lexington, VA; Washington, DC; Greensboro, NC; Charleston, WV; and Richmond, VA. Each area provides students with a different understanding of community and service needs, emphasizing the impact of mountain culture, civil rights, housing, and urban infrastructure on citizen well-being. Perhaps most importantly, students will become a part of these communities for a week, living, learning, and working with the individuals they serve.

Volunteer Venture 2013 trip highlights included:

  • in Roanoke, TAP (Total Action Against Poverty) clients shared testimonials of struggle and disadvantaged triumph;
  • in Greensboro, NC, students visited the International Civil Rights Museum housed in the original Woolworth building, site of the first sit-ins;
  • the Lexington trip enabled students the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of Rockbridge County through hands-on service;
  • Washington, D.C. trip participants address the reality of hunger, homelessness and policy in the nation's capital and are given the resources and opportunity to affect change.
  • Charleston, WV trip participants performed direct service work while learning about the history and impact of coal mining in the region.
  • Richmond, VA focused on the intersection of poverty and health services.

Volunteer Venture 2014 begins Sunday, August 31, 2014, and concludes Friday, September 5, 2014. Participants will move into their residence halls on Sunday, August 31, 2014, and will go through formal check-in with the rest of the class on Saturday, September 6, 2014.  Registration for the Volunteer Venture Leading Edge trips will open June 3rd at 11 a.m. EST on the Student GHQ and run through June 11th at 4 p.m. EST.  Please put these dates on your calendar and register early as the trips fill quickly.

Consistent with the Washington and Lee mission to cultivate a readiness to sacrifice on behalf of others, Volunteer Venture aims to:

  1. Create an environment where members of the incoming class can get to know each other. 
  2. Introduce students to issues related to poverty in different communities.
  3. Connect incoming students with upper class students who can provide information about all the different ways to get involved both in our campus community and in the Rockbridge area.

Volunteer Venture programs are organized by returning students, many of whom participated in the program as First-Years and look forward to being a part of this enriching experience each year. Student leaders work with the adviser for Volunteer Venture.

We look forward to your participation in this venture. We hope to make your introduction to Washington and Lee a memorable and meaningful experience. Questions or comments, please contact Jenny Davidson, Coordinator of Student Service Learning, volunteerventure@wlu.edu or 540-458-4669.