Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Dane Boston '08

Hometown: Dunedin, FL

Major: English with a concentration in Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Bonner Leaders
  • Chamber Singers
  • Writing Tutor
  • Canterbury Club at R.E. Lee Episcopal Church
  • Volunteer Venture

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Volunteer at Magnolia Center (day program for developmentally-disabled adults)
  • Spring Term Abroad in Ireland, 2007
  • Shepherd Alliance Summer Internship, 2005

Post-Graduation Plans: At this point, I plan to earn a Master of Divinity and be ordained in the Episcopal Church.

Favorite W&L Memory: Co-founding and leading the new Volunteer Venture trip to Washington, D.C. I was thrilled to meet an excited, dynamic group of new freshmen and introduce them to life at W&L and each other through the experience of serving food insecure citizens in Washington.

Favorite Class: Chaucer, Dante, and Langland: Vision and Life, taught by Professor Ed Craun. It was exhilarating to be in a class that combined my interests in literature, theology, and poverty.

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“No man is an island, entire of himself.” --John Donne

I read that quotation long before I ever became an English major at Washington and Lee. It seemed to me to express one of those profound, abstract truths about the way we’re all connected to one another and matter to one another. My four years in Lexington have taught me that there’s nothing at all abstract about Donne’s words, and have given me the opportunity to live in a way that fosters and feeds those essential connections between human beings. Working with the Shepherd Program and especially through the Bonner Leaders volunteer organization, I have come to understand more and more just how wonderful it is to be involved in mankind.

Washington and Lee completely changed my perspective on what it means to be a volunteer. Like most high school students (perhaps all college-bound students in these days of extensive resumes and graduation requirements), I had enjoyed performing many hours of volunteer work before I arrived in Lexington. My first, absolutely invaluable experience as a W&L student was doing service work with other entering freshman in Roanoke, Virginia as part of the Volunteer Venture pre-orientation trip. The trip introduced me to the study of poverty and human capability, and I began to look on my service work in a new light.

The co-curricular and extra-curricular service that I enjoyed in my freshman year changed the course of my life. First, my participation in the introductory Poverty 101 class, as well as the Field Work in Poverty class, challenged my preconceptions about poverty in the United States and forced me to consider what it means to work with impoverished people. Second, my acceptance into the Bonner Leader program presented me with the daunting goal of completing 900 hours of community service work in two years. Finally, my summer in Washington, D.C. as part of the Shepherd Alliance Internship Program gave me the opportunity to live in community with formerly homeless women in one of the most remarkable shelters in the United States.

The wonderful thing about W&L is the way it's allowed me to combine my interests in poverty and service with my love for literature. My undergraduate years have established a strong foundation for the reflection and work I will do in my vocation as an Episcopal priest. The interdisciplinary nature of the Shepherd Program helped me to view the problem of poverty from many angles, even within my English major. As a Bonner Leader, my substantial service commitment obliged me to become deeply involved in a day program for developmentally-disabled adults in Buena Vista, Va. My service work at Washington and Lee has brought me cherished memories and lasting friendships on and off campus. The lesson I will carry with me from my coursework and my service work is that “all mankind is of one author and is one volume.” W&L has prepared me to read that book, and to treasure the story it tells.

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