The Office of Inclusion and Engagement (OIE)
The Office of Inclusion and Engagement supports the university's mission by striving to foster a culture in which all members of the community feel fully welcome and able to participate in everything Washington and Lee has to offer. Toward this end, OIE develops programs that explore, promote, and celebrate the increasingly diverse backgrounds of our students, faculty, and staff, including OIE Day, which celebrates the office and the various student organizations that provide support and education.
2020-21 speakers include:
- Author Ibram X. Kendi;
- Author and journalist April Ryan;
- Author, political commentator, public intellectual, and educator Eddie S. Glaude Jr.;
- International poet and performance artist Ebony Stewart;
- Disability rights activist Judith Heumann;
- Diversity consultant Rev. Jamie Washington.
The OIE's professional staff are assisted by student leaders in a variety of capacities:
- OIE Ambassadors support student-driven diversity programming, including “Communi-teas” on topics ranging from DACA to “the language of diversity” and a DE&I Book Club in partnership with the Harte Center.
- OIE liaisons connect representatives from the Greek community with the office for programming and partnership;
- There are two student representatives of OIE to the Student Affairs Committee;
The Center for Inclusion and Engagement: Planning is underway for the new Center for Inclusion and Engagement (CIE) in the John W. Elrod University Commons, with construction to begin in June 2021. The CIE is scheduled to open in Fall 2022 as a centralized location at the heart of campus for all of the Office of Inclusion and Engagement's services, including student programming, office space for OIE staff, and space for W&L's lending library and food pantry.
- The Diversity/First-Gen Working Group, composed of student representatives, faculty, and Student Affairs staff, shares information and ideas and aids in the facilitation of addressing issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in student life.
- The Class Deans offer support and serve as resources and advisors for student organizations.
- The African American / Black Alumni Mentoring Program seeks to connect our current students with W&L alumni across the country. Mentors provide a wide array of support and guidance as well as strategies for obtaining internships, graduate school admissions, and post-graduation career opportunities, augmenting existing programs and services at the university to ensure student success.
- The Office of Student Affairs also provides financial and staff resources to meet a variety of student needs:
- The Angel Fund provides financial support for students who have experienced a major loss of personal property, death or severe illness of immediate family member, or sudden loss of parental support.
- The Laptop Lending Program allows students to apply for a laptop loan in times of need.
- The Campus Food Pantry, in partnership with Campus Kitchen, aims to alleviate food insecurity among students by providing emergency food to those in need.
- The Textbook Lending Library, in partnership with the Low-Income First-Generation Team (LIFT), loans free textbooks to students.
- The Career Closet provides interview attire for students to borrow.
- Free coats, hats, and gloves are available for students in need.
- A low-cost shuttle is available to transportation hubs at breaks.
- Funding is available for summer internships, travel for interviews, and career trip scholarships.
Campus Housing and Dining
- To create a more equitable housing experience, campus laundry services are free, and the university has a single rate for campus housing regardless of room type (single, double, triple).
- No-cost meal service is available during every break except the long winter break.
- No-cost campus housing is available over breaks for students who need it.
Residential Buildings and Social Spaces
- Created Sankofa House to provide residential and social space for students of the African diaspora and their allies
- Created Nuestro Hogar Latino to provide residential and social space in which Latinx cultures, issues, and identities are promoted and acknowledged
- Renovated Chavis House and established it as a residence for members of Alpha Phi Alpha, the historically Black Greek fraternity
- Renovated Casa Hispanica
- Renovated Red House as the LGBTQ Center
- Established gender-neutral bathrooms around campus
- Washington and Lee is proud to have a wide variety of student organizations that support, celebrate, and bring awareness to diversity in our community and beyond. These organizations are made up of students passionate about current issues, heritage, culture, and individuality.
- The Leading Edge Pre-Orientation program offers a one-week Freedom Ride trip, which takes incoming students to Southern cities with rich connections to the Black freedom struggle, where they examine how racial injustice, resistance, and memorialization impact 21st-century community building.
- First-year orientation includes expanded resources for first-generation students.
- Funding is available for cultural immersion trips during school breaks.
- The Student Affairs Office provides financial support for student-run programming including Friday Night Underground; community dinners; the Multicultural Student Association’s Diversity Day and Black and White Ball; SABU’s annual Black Ball; the Gender Action Group (GAG), LGBTQ Kick-off Picnic, and Coming-Out Day; and the First-Generation Student Day celebration.
- The university hosts an annual community Parents and Family Weekend Dinner,
- Diversity and Implicit Bias training is offered to all first-year undergraduate and law students, sophomore members of Greek organizations, the Student Judicial Council, the Executive Committee, Student Affairs staff, the President’s Council, new employees, and new supervisors. Additional departmental and organizational training is available on request.
- Active Bystander Training equips students to intervene when people make racist, homophobic or sexist comments, identifying problematic situations or behaviors that have the potential to escalate to dangerous situations.
- Safe Zone Ally Training is available for faculty, staff, and students interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ identities and being recognized as a university-sponsored ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
- A 13-member steering committee is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the diversity training and educational initiatives W&L provides for faculty, staff, and students, including first-year students, student leaders, Greek letter organizations, and athletes.