The Columns

My W&L: David Robinson ’15

— by on September 5th, 2016

David Robinson '15

“I remember feeling so clearly the importance of individual responsibility, integrity and respect in the daily lives of Washington and Lee students.”

When I arrived on campus three years ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I was in the right place, that I made the right decision to spend the next four years at a small liberal arts school in Lexington, Virginia. That feeling has not waivered since my first year on campus and, in fact, it has grown stronger. Furthermore, that small liberal arts school in the Blue Ridge Mountains proved to be so much more than that.

Every year, the incoming first-year class attends a Student Governance Orientation, where they are introduced to the idea of student self-governance at Washington and Lee and the student governing bodies that we have on campus. One of such bodies is the Student Judicial Council (SJC), which I lead as chairman this year.

Last month, during the Student Governance Orientation in Lee Chapel for the 2014-2015 academic year, I had the opportunity to speak to the Class of 2018 about the SJC and its unique role on campus.

As I was sitting on stage with the other speakers waiting for my time to speak, I remember feeling so clearly the importance of individual responsibility, integrity and respect in the daily lives of Washington and Lee students during their time on campus and beyond. In fact, these things have come to comprise the tradition of honor and respect that makes Washington and Lee such a special place. I decided to run for a position on the Student Judicial Council during my first year on campus, knowing that there would be nothing more rewarding than being able to play a role in upholding that tradition.

It is not a group of administrators telling students what to do or how to behave, but rather it is their peers, classmates and friends that enforce the standards of responsibility, civility and appropriate conduct on the campus of Washington and Lee. This is the very essence of student self-governance.

One of the components of student self-governance is the responsibility that upper-division students have to communicate this tradition of respect, responsibility and integrity to each incoming class. It is this very act–the act of communicating the traditions to each new first-year class–that has stood the test of time and has created the W&L that we have today. I feel so fortunate to have been able to play a small role in that tradition this year through my involvement with the Student Judicial Council.

Three years ago, I sat in Lee Chapel with the rest of the Class of 2015 staring down the next four years. Once my time in Lexington has come to an end, I know that I will take with me so much growth and so many conquered challenges, but more importantly, so many rewarding experiences. And for that, I will always be grateful to this W&L community.

Ask any student on this campus and they will tell you that their time here has been so much more than just “four years” and Washington and Lee so much more than just “that liberal arts school in Lexington, Virginia.”