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Welcome Back, Students! The W&L campus is buzzing with life again as students arrive for athletic practice, Pre-Orientation trips and other adventures to usher in Fall Term.

Freedom Ride

Freedom Ride is an immersive, one-week Pre-Orientation Trip that invites first-year students on a journey to southern cities with rich connections to the Black freedom struggle, where they examine how racial injustice, resistance and memorialization impact 21st-century community-building.

This year’s trip included lessons about Lexington’s role in the civil rights movement and rich discussions about films like “Freedom Riders” and “Summer of Soul,” as well as a day trip to the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, Virginia, which is considered the birthplace of the student-led civil rights revolution. The students also took a day trip to Greensboro, North Carolina, where they visited the International Civil Rights Center & Museum and the February One Monument, and refueled with a delicious lunch at Dame’s Chicken and Waffles.

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Appalachian Adventure

Appalachian Adventure gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves and meet fellow first-year and upper-division students, all while hiking the Appalachian Trail. It’s W&L’s most popular Pre-Orientation Trip, with several groups making the trek this year.

Keeping up the pace and practicing survival skills like filtering water and cooking meals on-the-go make for some pretty tight bonding experiences. And this year’s group even stuck it out during a nasty storm! If they can survive the AT on a dark, rainy night, college will have nothing on them.

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First-year students got a chance to explore archaeology in their own backyard during the Archaeology Pre-Orientation Trip this week with W&L research archaeologist and instructor of anthropology Don Gaylord.

After spending the beginning of the week touring James Madison’s Montpelier and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, students came back to campus to learn more about the history of Lexington and W&L. In these photos, Don Gaylord takes them on a tour of the Liberty Hall ruins and other locations on back campus. You can also see students getting hands on experience looking through artifacts that were discovered during archaeological digs in the vicinity of Liberty Hall and surrounding structures.

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Volunteer Venture

Service-minded first-year students started making a difference in the Lexington community almost  as soon as they finished unloading their belongings on Move-In Day. It’s all part of Volunteer Venture, one of W&L’s weeklong pre-orientation programs for incoming students. With Volunteer Venture, students are introduced to poverty themes in Lexington and surrounding communities. Those themes include food and housing insecurity, childhood and education, social determinants of health, and law and justice.

In these photos, students get oriented to the program by participating in a scavenger hunt and hearing from Professor Howard Pickett, director of W&L’s Shepherd Program for the Study of Poverty and Human Capability, and alumna Shiri Yadlin ’12, director of Just Homes, a nonprofit that helps faith communities address homelessness in D.C. Volunteer Venture students have also spent time this week working on a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Lexington, and later this week they’ll visit nearby cities to learn about social issues in other communities.

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W&L scholar-athletes have been trickling back over the past three weeks to reconnect with their coaches and teammates and take part in some pre-season training and practice. Here we have men’s soccer scrimmaging with VMI, and football and women’s field hockey gearing up for the start of their seasons. 

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Stay tuned to this page and @wlunews on social media for more photo albums this week!