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Washington and Lee University Big Idea 2012-2013

Page history last edited by Josh Blair 7 years ago






     Last year, four of W&L’s sophomore Bonners decided to officially form an impact area group around a topic that they had all been passionate about even before they arrived at W&L. This group became W&L College Access. While we have always had an encompassing vision for our work surrounding this issue in the W&L and Rockbridge Community, we felt that it would be best to start off with campus education. To that end, we conducted a panel discussion on obstacles to college admission for students of underrepresented backgrounds that included admissions representatives, professors, and low income/first generation college students. Following this successful showing at the panel, we decided that our ultimate goal was to create a dynamic, and hands-on mentoring and direct service program at the two local high schools, where we help with college applications, conduct skill-building workshops, offer standardized test tutoring, and in the future pair W&L students with high school students in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.


      This year we are targeting two separate areas with our approach. The first of these approaches will be to create an inclusive group that draws in students passionate about issues of college access from all backgrounds and experiences, in order to create a dynamic and multi-faceted conversation around these issues. We want to first educate ourselves about this issue both in Rockbridge County locally, and with regard to our own W&L community, where some students hail from underrepresented backgrounds with regard to college attendance and admission. We are also going to work on campus wide educational efforts and awareness campaigns surrounding this issue.


     Our second aspiration centers on direct service efforts in the local community. To this end, we are trying both to help local high school students realize that college is an option, and show them how they can get there and also to demonstrate to Rockbridge residents that W&L students are concerned about the community as a whole, and want to be an integral part of helping the area advance and develop. W&L has a somewhat negative reputation in the community, and we hope to change this perception by demonstrating our honest desire to help in every way possible and to educate our fellow classmates on the importance of these issues. 


We aspire to create a lasting program that ties together the local community and W&L students, bonding us together over a shared desire to see local students succeed.     

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