Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Community Engagement is the bridge that connects the Washington and Lee campus to surrounding communities, be they local, regional, national, or global. Here students get hands-on experience, as well as the opportunity contribute to the greater good by collaborating, learning, and growing together with the community in mutually-beneficial ways.

Community engagement complements and enhances learning that takes place in the classroom. It is often through community engagement that students experience connection to the larger interdependent world, find meaning, and make an impact. This is also where many students discover their personal, professional, or civic identity and find a sense of purpose.

Elements of Community Engagement: First-Year Orientation, leadership Programs, Work Study with Local Community Organizations, Internships, Community-Based Learning Courses, Student Organizations, Alternative Spring Break, Study Abroad Programs, Nabors Service Days, Volunteer Opportunities through Engage W&L

By the Numbers

  • The W&L community logged 28,465 hours of service to the local community in the 21-22 Academic Year.
  • 73% of graduating 2022 seniors believed that because of their community-engagement experiences, they had a personal responsibility to use what they have learned to improve society.
  • 77% of graduating 2022 seniors believed that because of their community engagement experiences, they felt confident that they will be able to apply what they have learned to work towards solving real world problems in society.
  • 80% of faculty believe that they have a responsibility to serve in the community.
  • 46% of faculty were members of a board of directors for a nonprofit, professional, educational, cultural, social service, charitable, or religious organization.
  • 64% of faculty agree that W&L is collaborative in its approach to working with the community.

Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Community Engagement logo

Washington and Lee University Receives National Designation for Commitment to Community Engagement

W&L is one of 15 private colleges and universities to receive the 2024 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

Leadership Programs

Through leadership programs, students match their passion for community engagement with opportunities in programs designed to help them realize their leadership potential and develop their capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely.

Community-Based Coursework

With our close ties to the community, our commitment to education, and our mission to prepare students to be engaged, responsible leaders, we provide a unique environment for service and civic engagement in an academic setting. Students have a wide variety of courses to choose from that integrate learning and mentorship in reciprocal and mutually beneficial ways.

Student Service Organizations

W&L boasts over 100 student organizations and clubs, many focusing on special interests, activism, multicultural and diversity groups, and/or community engagement, and others dedicated to service activities both in the local community and beyond.

Internships & Alternative Breaks

W&L offers internships that provide meaningful and practical work experience related to community engagement and service. During the semester and summer, students have opportunities for career exploration and development and to learn new skills. Alternative Breaks throughout the year are a unique way for students to serve and learn about real issues impacting people and cities around the country. Alumni host students, who spend the break serving and learning around a specific issue.

Work Study

There are a variety of on-campus and off-campus jobs students can apply for through either the Federal Work Study or university work-study programs. Many students are awarded work-study as a portion of their financial aid package. W&L's work-study program employs students in several areas of campus including academic, administrative, and athletic offices.

Learning in Action

By learning in, with and about communities, students develop critical intellectual and civic virtues consistent with the Washington and Lee University mission.

Washington and Lee Students Selected for Congressional Hunger Center Internships

Sai Chebrolu ’26 and Valentina Giraldo Lozano ’25 are among 13 students chosen for the Zero Hunger Internship program.

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Ben Bankston '25

Leading By Example

Ben Bankston ’25 is finding opportunities at W&L to challenge himself in and out of the classroom.

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Jay Margalus tackes his Design Thinking class for a site visit at the Virginia Innovation Accelerator.

CBL Faculty Collaborative Generates New Community Connections

The 2023-2024 academic year at W&L saw the proliferation of several new course offerings for students through a new faculty development initiative offered by the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL).

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Students in Accounting 452 VITA program Winter Term 2024

VITA Program Returns

Washington and Lee students are applying their accounting skills in the community as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

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Washington and Lee University Receives National Designation for Commitment to Community Engagement

W&L is one of 15 private colleges and universities to receive the 2024 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

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Goluboff Announced as Interim Executive Director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium

The professor of cultural anthropology will serve a dual role leading Community-Based Learning and the SHECP Consortium.

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WLSC students at Blue Sky

W&L Student Consulting Group Makes Connections on Campus and in the Community

Students in the Williams School consulted on a number of projects including marketing, research and social media strategy for businesses and organizations.

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W&L’s Fran Elrod Quoted in NPR Segment on the Blue Ridge Mile Clinic

Elrod serves as the university advisor to the program that supports clients in navigating the required steps toward obtaining or reinstating a driver’s license.

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Lending a Helping Hand

Washington and Lee students gain new perspectives after internships through the Shepherd Program.

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OMA art program at Kendal

Opening Minds Through Art

W&L neuroscience students recently partnered with an innovative art-making program offered at Kendal at Lexington.

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CBL’s Faculty Collaborative Creates Connection Across Campus

CBL’s new initiative is an opportunity for faculty development, student collaboration and deepening partnerships with the surrounding community.

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W&L Presents “Blacks and Jews in America: An Invitation to Dialogue”

Terrence Johnson, professor of African American religious studies at Harvard University, will discuss his latest book on March 1.

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