Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L’s Nabors Service League will host its 11th Annual Day of Service

Washington and Lee University’s Nabors Service League (NSL) will hold its annual day of service on Saturday, Oct. 3. This day was organized by students to honor the memory of Jonathan Nabors, a W&L freshman who died in a car accident in 1999 coming back to campus after Winter Break.

“In Nabors short time at W&L he was a friend to all. It was his spirit of optimism, love and friendship that the Nabors Service League aspires to embody,” said Samara Francisco, general chair of NSL.

Through this annual day of service students, faculty and other community members participate in a variety of projects in the community. Past projects have included children’s festivals, construction work, gardening, painting, cleaning and more.

Students will gather at 1 p.m. on W&L Cannan Green and will work until 4:30 p.m., after which they will reconvene on campus for dinner and music.

Nabors Service League strives to promote and encourage a spirit of service and to connect service with learning. NSL is, in addition to a community service organization, a network — connecting large numbers of potential volunteers from varied backgrounds and with memberships in a number of student clubs and organizations. NSL strives to bring together service-oriented individuals to discuss needs of the Lexington and Rockbridge communities and how Washington and Lee University can help to meet those needs.

Any questions can be answered by Samara Francisco or Rosemary Kelley, the publicity chair. Francisco may be reached through email at franciscos10@mail.wlu.edu or 901-826-1611. Kelley may be reached through email at kelleyr10@mail.wlu.edu or 703-579-7398.

Sharon Squassoni to Lecture at W&L on Nonproliferation Issues

Sharon Squassoni, a senior associate in the Nonproliferation Program with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will give a lecture in the Johnson Lecture Series at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. in Room 345 of the Elrod Commons.

She has been analyzing nonproliferation, arms control and national security issues for two decades. Her research focuses on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear energy.

Squassoni’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “The Obama Nuclear Agenda.” She will discuss a number of related arms control issues including nonproliferation in Iran and North Korea.

Squassoni came to Carnegie from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). As a specialist in weapons of mass destruction proliferation, she provided expert analyses and advice on policy and legislation to members of the United States Congress.

Prior to joining CRS, she served for nine years in the executive branch, beginning her government career as a nuclear safeguards expert in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Her last position at the State Department was director of Policy Coordination in the Nonproliferation Bureau.

Squassoni has contributed to journals, magazines and books on nuclear proliferation and defense. Her most recent publications include “The Iranian Nuclear Program,” a chapter in Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Future of International Nonproliferation Policy (University of Georgia Press, 2009); “Nuclear Energy: Rebirth or Resuscitation?” Carnegie Report, February 2009; and “The New Disarmament Discussion,” Current History, January 2009. She is the recipient of various service awards and a MacArthur fellowship.

Her areas of expertise include nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, nuclear safeguards, nuclear energy, NPT compliance, arms control, national security, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

Squassoni received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany; her M.P.M. from the University of Maryland; and her M.N.S.S. from the National War College.

Legal Rebels Invade Law School

The American Bar Association Journal has embarked on a cool new project that is anything but buttoned down. It’s called the Legal Rebels Project, and it’s designed to profile 50 innovators and the innovations that they’re undertaking to remake the legal profession in response to the economic meltdown. The project is using lots of social media tools, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc., along the way and, what’s really cool is that Lexington was one of their early stops. The Legal Rebels team visited the School of Law last week, interviewed Mary Natkin, assistant dean for clinical education and public service, and two third-year students and posted a profile on the Legal Rebels’ page. The posting includes the video interviews. You can a behind-the-scenes look at the visit on The Brief, the law school’s blog. The 3L curriculum continues to draw raves in the legal profession and is what undoubtedly brought the Legal Rebels to town. Here’s a link to the Legal Rebels post.

W&L Sophomore Member of U.S. Champion Goalball Team

Imagine a three-pound ball coming at you at 50 miles an hour from 40 feet away. Now, imagine that you are blindfolded and have half a second to deflect the ball.

That’s the challenge Washington and Lee University sophomore Matt Simpson faced when he played on the United States team in the under-19 World Championships in goalball in Colorado Springs this summer.

“It is definitely an intimidating sport if I think about it,” said Simpson, whose U.S. team won the championship by beating Canada in the finals.

Goalball is a sport for the visually impaired. It was invented in Austria after WWII to help rehabilitate blinded war veterans and is played internationally around the world, with 30 to 40 countries fielding teams. In the United States it is played competitively at the club, youth, state and national levels, with about 25 states having teams. There are European and world championships, and goalball is the only team sport for the visually impaired in the Paralympics.

The Paralympics are under the umbrella of the International Olympic Committee. They occur every four years a few weeks after the Olympics, with thousands of participants with physical and visual impairments representing a hundred or more countries.
Simpson said the game is a bit like soccer or handball. It is played in a gym with a wooden floor on a court that is 18 meters by 9 meters. The court is marked with lines of tape with string underneath so the players can feel them. There are two teams of three people-a center, a left wing and a right wing. The wings do most of the throwing of the ball which is underhand like in bowling. The center covers the center of the court and focuses mainly on defense.

The players must wear hip, elbow and knee pads to protect them from the floor because a lot of diving is involved. All competitors are blindfolded so no one has an advantage and partially blind athletes can play.

Matt Simpson in action in Colorado Springs

The hollow ball, which is about the size of a basketball, is made of rubber and plastic with bells inside it.

Each team stays at its end of the court and the players use the sound of the ball to judge its position and movement and try to throw it into the opponents’ goal using different plays and strategies.

Simpson plays center because of his size-he’s small and quick. He said that rather than try and catch the ball, because it’s going so fast, the players block it.

“I have a little bit of vision left, and I have played without a blindfold and it is very scary,” he said. “But when I put the blindfold on I forget about it. I don’t have time to think about the speed when I’ve got half a second to react.”

Correct form is essential. “If you’re doing something incorrectly you’re going to break a finger or a nose,” said Simpson. “I’ve jammed my fingers a lot, and broken a couple of fingers at different times, but never anything too bad.”

Another essential is quick reactions and a good sense of hearing. “As the center, I’ve got 14 feet to cover and I really need to have a great reaction time because the ball’s coming at me very fast. I’ve got to extend my entire body and get to the right place, so I really need a good sense of hearing.”

Simpson, who is the recipient of a prestigious Johnson Scholarship at W&L, has been playing goalball for eight years and has an impressive track record in the sport. He was an all-American twice in high school goalball, and his youth team took second at nationals. He has been playing adult goalball for the last four years, with his adult team taking third at nationals in 2008.

After his team’s victory in the under-19 World Championships, Simpson’s goal is to make the adult national team and play at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

To help him in that goal, he has been working closely with Christopher Schall, W&L’s associate professor of physical education, director of W&L’s fitness center. He helped Simpson develop a lifting program and worked with him on speed and agility. Simpson can be found training several times a week in W&L’s auxiliary gym, where he has taped down a segment of the court to practice throwing and defensive drills.

Below, a video sample of goalball from Australia:

W&L Alum Leading Research in Kenya

As a Washington and Lee student in the late 1990s, one of

W&L Hosts Cultivating Sustainability Conference

In these economic times, it makes sense for institutions to buy their food locally. Every dollar spent buying locally yields $1.80 in economic benefit to the local area and the state, according to Chris Carpenter, special projects coordinator at Washington and Lee University.

W&L is the leader in promoting this type of sustainability program, with 27 percent of W&L’s food products coming from local sources, said Carpenter, adding that he expects that figure to increase this year.

Encouraging other institutions to follow W&L’s example is a major reason for the Cultivating Sustainability conference to be held at W&L on Wednesday, Sept. 30. “This is a very important event for local stake holders in the building of a regional local food economy and how institutions affect that system,” said Carpenter, one of the conference organizers.

Institutions such as public K-12 schools, universities and hospitals will learn about the critical role of their institutions in helping the state develop a local food economy. They will also discuss the challenges and successes associated with such an effort.

Hosted by W&L’s Dining Services, the conference is expected to attract school nutrition and food service personnel, school and university officials, local legislators, administrators, farmers and producers, and anyone involved in food system development.

Featured speakers include:

  • Larry Yee, co-founder of the Association of Family Farms and Agriculture of the Middle Task Force;
  • Ron Doetch, executive director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute;
  • Doug Davis, director of food service for the Burlington School District in Vermont;
  • Barbara Harman of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center;
  • Frank Holland, local foods and sustainability coordinator for U.S. Food Service;
  • Mike Martin, food service director at Ferrum College;
  • Christopher Carpenter, special projects coordinator at Washington and Lee University Dining Services;
  • Andrea Early, school nutrition director for Harrisonburg City Public Schools Nutrition Program;
  • Katrine Rose, school nutrition director for Prince William County Schools;
  • Lynda Fanning, dietician with the Virginia Dietetic Association;
  • Louise Mitchell, sustainable foods coordinator for Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment;
  • Don Kendall, marketplace manager for Washington and Lee University;
  • Bryan Kelly, executive chef at the University of Virginia;
  • Scott Wood of Cavalier Produce.

Washington and Lee University, Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability (FAIRS), Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), Standard Produce Company, and Whole Foods Market are sponsoring the conference along with the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The conference will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register, call the Virginia Cooperative Extension at (540) 432-6029. The registration cost, which includes a locally grown lunch, is $20 before Sept. 28 and $30 after that date.

Listen to W&L Law Professor's Bioethics Discussion

With health care reform the center of contentious debate these days, and contributed a chapter on the Jesse Gelsinger, who died 10 years ago at age 18 as the victim of a gene therapy experiment that went awry at the University of Pennsylvania. Gelsinger was the first American to die while participating in gene therapy research, and, Wilson contentds that very little has changed in the last decade to protect those who participate in future studies. She was the author of an opinion piece on the subject in the Arizona Daily Star.

“Remembering Robert E. Lee” Presents Lecture by Noted Civil War Scholar

The 139th anniversary of the death of Robert E. Lee will be observed on Monday, Oct. 12, when the Lee Chapel and Museum at Washington and Lee University presents a lecture by noted Civil War historian Gary Gallagher at part of its yearly Remembering Robert E. Lee program.

Gallagher’s presentation, which is entitled “Robert E. Lee Confronts Defeat: Duty in the Wake of Appomattox,” is free and open to the public at 12:15 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium.

Prior to the lecture, Gallagher will sign copies of his books at 10:30 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Museum Shop.

An expert on military aspects of the Civil War, Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author, co-author or editor of numerous important books on the subject, including “Causes Won, Lost and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War,” “Lee and His Generals in War and Memory,” “The Confederate War,” “The Wilderness Campaign,” “Chancellorsville,” “Lee the Soldier” and “The Fredericksburg Campaign.”

Gallagher is editor of the “Civil War America” series and the “Military Campaigns of the Civil War” series of The University of North Carolina Press as well as co-editor of the multi-volume “Littlefield History of the Civil War Era” series. He is president of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War sites and leads frequent battlefield tours for students and the public. His recent research has focused on ways modern interpretations of the Confederacy were influenced by Lee, Jubal A. Early and Douglas Southall Freeman.

A graduate of Adams State College of Colorado, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to teaching at U.Va., he was professor of history at Penn State. He has received many awards for his research and writing, including the Laney Prize for the best book on the Civil War, the William Woods Hassler Award for contributions to Civil War studies, the Lincoln Prize and the Fletcher Pratt Award for the best nonfiction book on the Civil War.

Six months after the surrender at Appomattox, in the fall of 1865, Lee was inaugurated president of Washington College. He served in that capacity for five years until his death on Oct. 12, 1870.

MetroLex Makes Coolest Small Towns List

The October issue of Budget Travel magazine has a feature on America’s 10 Coolest Small Towns. Lexington is right there between Cayucos, Calif., and Beaux Bridge, La. What constitutes cool in the magazine’s view: “Every now and then, you stumble upon a town that’s gotten everything right—great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. These 10 spots have it all, in perfectly small doses.” The Lexington blurb, subtitled, “right out of Norman Rockwell,” cites five of the town’s businesses: Hull’s Drive In, 1868 Magnolia House Inn, P.S. Pumpkinseeds, George and Bob, and the Red Hen. Surprisingly, there is no mention of either Washington and Lee or VMI. 

Visiting LL.M. Students Hope to Bring Better Life to Afghanistan

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