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What's Up in Lexington/Rockbridge, plus Lower Gauley Report

3L Kelsey Peregoy reports on a recent law student outing for a whitewater rafting trip on the Lower Gauley in West Virginia. The trip was sponsored by the SBA and the Office of Student Affairs.


• What: White Water Rafting Trip
• When: September 13, 2014
• Total Time: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
• Where: Adventures on the Gorge, New River Gorge, West Virginia
• On the Water Time: Six hours
• Rapids: Everything from class one to class five.
• Rating: 10/10 stars, would definitely go again!

The Experience

Nervous energy was palpable when I exited my car in the lower level parking lot in front of the law school. It was 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning in September, and about two dozen law students stood in the lot, waiting for large white vans to swoop in and gather us all.

Today was the day – Washington and Lee Law greatly subsidized the cost a trip to go white water rafting in West Virginia. Most students, between the cost of travel and the trip itself, would not have been able to make the trip otherwise.

The vans finally showed up, and we all piled in. The vans were driven by three older gentlemen from the Lexington community. The driver of my van, who asked us to call him “Wink,” insisted on listening to the most popular radio station in the area for “us kids.” He took us nearly three hours away, deep into West Virginia.

Our trip began at Adventures on the Gorge, a multi-faceted adventure company located deep in the rugged area of West Virginia near Fayetteville, flirting with the edge of the New River Gorge. Adventures on the Gorge is a series of large buildings, all designed to look like log cabins with a dark cedar coloring. All around the outside, playfully strung through the trees, are obstacle courses with every thing from tight ropes to wooden shaped tubes, ladders, tightropes and bridges. An attendant directed us to make our way toward another part of their compound, where we got wetsuits. Twenty-three law students squirming and pulling their bodies in unnatural directions in a great effort to get into the wetsuits was the first of many great sights on the trip.

After we signed release forms, Dave, the trip leader, gave a thorough and entertaining run-down of the trip, and how to ensure our safety. Hesitant faces occasionally snuck glances at one another as he mentioned several procedures to follow if one of us were to fall out of our raft. After this presentation, we went to their storage unit, grabbed helmets and paddles, and loaded up into a converted school bus. We took another thirty-minute drive with the adventure company to the edge of the rivers we were going to be traveling, what is known as the Lower Gauley.

After getting off the bus, we met our raft guide – every raft included 7-8 students, and one guide – grabbed our rafts, and entered the water. As we began paddling down the river in numbered, simultaneous strokes at the instruction of our guide, we had our first opportunity to survey the landscape. The water of the river moved quickly, as the river cut through the side of a mountain, a sight that resembled prehistoric skyscrapers lining a watery street. Rocks in the river jutted up through the water, blocking it and causing the water to spill over it in what our instructor called “pour overs,” creating small whirl pools and under-cuts in the river.

We spent six hours navigating the underwater terrain, using only teamwork and the hollered instructions of our guide. We made our way through everything from class one to class five rapids, each of us in the pinnacle moments feeling the power of the river trying to pull us from our rafts. As we went down the easier rapids, we smacked our paddles against close rocks, and yelled in wild excitement.

After a short – but hot and filling – lunch halfway through the trip in a pre-made camp, we jumped back in our rafts for the remainder of the trip. Paddling down the river, with the indecisive September weather varying from warm to cool, one could not help but feel endless possibilities. The natural landscape above the water, and the rocky expanse that lay just below the surface, was truly wild and wonderful, and a welcome reprieve from the classroom. By the time we all exited our rafts, not a single voice sounded relieved. Every student, and especially this writer, was reluctant to leave our adventure behind.

Coming Up this Week

Here’s some fun stuff to do this week, plus stay tuned for a report on a quintessential law school event, Pig Roast!

Saturday, 9/20

Law Council/Class Agent: Making Connections Breakfast. 9am-10am in the Moot Court Lobby. Join Law Council members, Class Agents, Reunion Volunteers, and the Young Alumni Council, during a “Making Connections Breakfast.” All students are encouraged to attend for casual conversation, networking, and breakfast! A RSVP is not required, but would be greatly appreciated to help with catering prep. You may RSVP in Symplicity under EVENTS (Law Council/Class Agent: Breakfast Connections). 1Ls may RSVP to Lawcareer@wlu.edu. Business Casual attire is recommended.

PIG ROAST! (undisclosed location—the suspense builds!): Vans will run from the Law school to the site of Pig Roast. For the 1Ls that have no real idea what this event is–all will soon be revealed.

Sunday, 9/21

Honor Advocate applications due today! The Honor System is a key part of W&L’s culture and community. Take part in fostering and strengthening this unique aspect of the W&L experience, and apply to be an Honor Advocate! Applications are due Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 8:00pm and are available at:http://bit.ly/1o4uSJw. Any questions regarding the program or application may be directed to Stephen Pytlik, Head Honor Advocate, atpytlik.s@Law.wlu.edu.

Monday, 9/22

Race and Justice in America: The W&L Mudd Center for Ethics speaker series kicks off on Sept. 22 at 4:30pm in Stackhouse Theater with “The Nature of Race: Investigating Concepts of Human Difference” by Joan Miller, Professor of Sociology at NYU. Check out a complete list of topics and speakers here: http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2014-2015-race-and-justice-in-america/public-events

Nathaniel Deutsch, “‘The New is Forbidden by the Torah’: Minhag and the Radical Roots of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.” 5pm, Lewis Hall, Classroom B
Nathaniel Deustch, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is also the Co-Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and the Director of the Institute for Humanities Research, will give a talk on the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews) relationship to key concepts such as tradition, Law, and progress, as well as their parallels to, and differences from, other religious communities typically, if misleadingly, identified as fundamentalist.

Mudd Public Lecture: Ann Morning, Monday 9/22/14; 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Stackhouse Theater. Ann Morning is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University and a faculty affiliate of New York University Abu Dhabi. Her research interests include race, demography, and the sociology of science, especially as they pertain to census classification worldwide and to individuals’ concepts of racial difference.

Lenfest Season opens with Aquila Theatre’s “Wuthering Heights”, 7pm, Keller Theatre. The Lenfest Center for the Arts is proud to be the first stop on the Aquila Theatre’s annual performance tour with Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights on September 22, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the Keller Theatre. Through this tour, the group will bring its bold reinterpretation of Brontë’s classic work to thousands of arts patrons, and you can be among the first to witness the passionate love story come to life. Visit lenfest.wlu.edu or call 458-8000 to purchase tickets.

Wednesday, 9/24

Council on Foreign Relations Lunch Series, 12-1pm, Chavis Boardroom (undergrad side). Listen to a conference call with the Council on Foreign Relations. Discuss the topic afterwards with faculty, staff and students..Topic: The Impact of Technology on International Security and Geopolitics. Jared Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations, Founder and Director, Google Ideas Space is limited. Please RSVP. E-mail ritterk@wlu.edu by the Monday prior to each lunch.