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Washington Break: More than a Vacation Washington Break gave students a chance for learning and personal development, as well as all-out fun.

Washington Break was more than a vacation from class for W&L students; for many, it was an educational adventure. From skiing the frigid slopes to navigating the business scene in the Big Apple, students took time for both personal development and all-out fun. This year’s trips included service learning, alumni engagement and outdoor adventures.

Here’s a round-up of seven different Washington Break trips, along with some photos snapped by students and university photographer Kevin Remington.


The Nabors Service League, a student-run community service organization, took 14 students to Atlanta, Georgia. Their trip centered around refugee resettlement and immigration services, specifically in the town of Clarkston, Georgia. The students spent the week working with Friends of Refugees, a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to the large refugee population in Clarkston. The trip was a service-learning trip, with an equal amount of focus on education and service. The work was conducted at a community garden, a yard sale, and at two different after-school programs working with children from refugee families.

“I think it is fair for me to say that it was an unforgettable experience for all 14 of us on the trip, and we look forward to sharing what we learned on the trip in moving forward through college and the rest of our lives,” said Foifon Teawdatwan ’19.


The Bonner Program, a leadership development program, sent 11 first-year students to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they worked with agencies that address homelessness. The group worked with several community organizations during the stay in Charlotte, including Art Works Urban Ministry Center, a facility for homeless adults that offers programs where social workers teach art classes and provide an outlet for creativity to the homeless and an opportunity for them to sell their work.

“I have been on the Bonner Programs February Break trip every year that I have been a student at W&L,” said Peyton Powers ’18. “I love the program because I want to leave a legacy at W&L and I truly believe in leaving a place better than I found it.”


A group of 29 students interested in the fields of advertising, marketing and communications traveled to New York to receive an in-depth look at those fields. During the AdMarComm trip, they visited 17 different advertising, marketing, communications and public relations agencies, including the Twitter headquarters in NY. Most of the locations included visits with alumni working in the field, so students were able to make face-to-face connections and see first-hand experiences.

“I had an internship at a marketing agency a previous summer, so I entered my senior year believing that was the career path I possibly wanted to take,” said Amanda Witherspoon ’18. “After the AdMarComm trip, I left validated in my belief that a career in marketing, especially in New York, was where I was meant to be. The trip helped me narrow my interests. My favorite stops were the branding agencies, Redscout and Interbrand, because of their dedication to authenticity. I had always been interested in advertising, but this past week I figured out that what I like is branding. It appeals to me in the same way W&L’s Honor System does. When a brand strays from its true meaning, branding firms return it to its ‘best-self’ and help the brand display its authentic core to promote trust and loyalty in its consumers.”


Twenty-nine students traveled to New York for an intensive tour of investment-related firms. Between Tuesday and Friday, the Washington and Lee group visited 19 different firms and had the opportunity to connect with W&L alumni in that field. The firms represented the following industries: investment banking, real estate, accounting, hedge funds, sales and trading, corporate finance and consulting.

“There truly is no substitute for talking to W&L alumni in person about their careers and work, and experiencing different firms firsthand,” said `, director for employer development at W&L. “This year’s investment trip was an unparalleled opportunity for sophomore students to explore careers in finance, banking, consulting and accounting as they begin to think about their plans after graduation. We are so grateful for our alumni who took the time to make the trip an educational, inspiring and fun experience for these students.”

The students wrapped up a “week on Wall Street” with a tour of the New York Stock Exchange, getting a glimpse into the history of the exchange, which provided valuable context around the careers the students were exploring. According to many of the students on the trip,  watching the closing bell up-close was an unforgettable experience.


The Outing Club sponsors this annual adventure to the Florida Everglades. Fifteen students spent a week exploring the wetlands and taking in the scenery. Participants set up base camp on the main island, then took daily guided sea kayaking trips to other areas of the national park. Although the trip is intended mostly for relaxation and adventure, participants always get to learn a bit about interesting plant and animal life.


Five students braved the frigid temperatures of New Hampshire, where they spent their break ice climbing and skiing. Students spent two days climbing with two local guides on ice waterfalls in Conway, New Hampshire. The rest of the break was spent skiing at Wildcat Mountain and Attitash Mountain.


Twelve theatre students took a theatrical approach to their break as they traveled to Chicago, where they met with multiple professionals in the theater field and attended several professional acting classes. Students were able to spend time and share meals with masters in the field, learning and asking questions interests. Highlights from the trip included an improv masterclass with J.T. Nagle at the famous Playground Theater, as well as a performance of the world-renowned Broadway hit “Hamilton.”