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.

Community Engagement 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.

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.