In 1997, Washington and Lee University established the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability. The program prepares students as future professionals and citizens to address the problem of poverty. As a result of this interdisciplinary and co-curricular program, Washington and Lee undergraduate and law students have become involved in the Rockbridge area community in a variety of ways. Students' participation in service and applied research enhances their education and positively impacts area residents.
Inspired by the program's connection to the local community, a group of W&L alumni and friends have come together as the Friends of Rockbridge (FOR) with a goal of endowing support for these activities so they may continue in perpetuity. Their efforts are led by FOR co-chairs David H. Martin '92 and M. Kevin McCusty '80. Foundational members of FOR have pledged or given between $10,000 and $150,000 in three- to five-year pledges to reach the group's $1 million goal. Others have become participatory members of the Friends of Rockbridge, donating in accordance with their means. All gifts will permanently support the work of W&L students in the Rockbridge community, and public recognition of the Friends of Rockbridge endowment will testify to the support W&L alumni provide to the community that helped nurture them during their time on campus.
For more information or to join the efforts of the Friends of Rockbridge, please contact Shepherd Program Director Dr. Harlan Beckley or Nancy McIntyre, Director of Development for the College:
Dr. Harlan Beckley, email@example.com, 540-458-8164 or 540-460-1713
Nancy McIntyre, firstname.lastname@example.org, 540-458-8291
W&L's Campus Kitchen works to address poor nutrition and lack of companionship in Rockbridge County. Student volunteers recover unused food from stores, restaurants and W&L and VMI's dining services, and then use it to prepare and serve meals to local residents. Supported in part by the Campus Kitchen Project in Washington, D.C., the W&L Campus Kitchen has served more than 50,000 meals in four years. The program enables students to dine with clients in need and to learn about the important work of non-profit agencies in promoting better health for citizens of all ages.
Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation Programs immerse incoming students in a week-long service and learning project. These orientation trips take students to needy communities in Virginia and surrounding states to build and repair houses, work with Head Start, learn about public policy and community initiatives, and more.
Nabors Service League (NSL) is a student-run clearinghouse that connects student volunteers with local opportunities for service and promotes discussion of civic needs. Each year NSL involves more than 400 student volunteers in local projects. Alternative Break Trips are one of NSL's signature programs. Rather than heading to the beach for spring break, small teams of students travel to cities to work on service projects. The destinations of these trips are driven by community-minded alumni, who recruit and host teams of W&L students to work with agencies in their communities.
The Bonner Leader Program nurtures a small number of highly committed students for careers (and lives) as leaders who serve the needs of their community. The program requires 900 hours of intensive service and leadership over two academic years and summers. It fosters relationships with Bonner students from many different schools and discussions about their work. Participants receive a financial stipend and support for enrichment activities from the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, N.J.
Community-Based Research (CBR) takes the classroom into the community by enriching academic study with learning through relevant service and enables students to apply their academic education through research into community needs and initiatives. Under the guidance of faculty, W&L students produce documents that offer solutions that benefit our most vulnerable citizens.