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Washington and Lee University

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Charleston, WV :: Appalachian Culture, Coal Mining and Poverty

Meet the Trip Leaders

Robert Knuth '14

Hey guys, my name is Robert Knuth and I am a rising junior from Virginia Beach, Va. This is will be my third year in a row going to Charleston on a volunteer venture trip, and I cannot even begin to describe how much fun you will be having with Rachael and me. As a first-year, I did not really know what to expect, but after this trip I became so interested in the poverty program that I currently plan on minoring in poverty along with double majoring in Economics and German. When you don't see me on the main floor of the library socializing, hopefully I'm down in the quieter sections of the library studying. Usually that isn't the case, however, and instead, I'm probably in the pool swimming as a member of the Varsity Men's Swim Team or at my fraternity's house gossiping and/or eating. This summer I plan on serving those who are less fortunate than myself as part of a Shepherd Alliance Summer Internship in Boston or Austin. See y'all in August!

Lucy Smith '15

The Charleston, WV trip offers participating students the opportunity to engage in hands-on service work with impoverished members of the Charleston community. Working primarily with the Covenant House, students work on projects that offer direct service to homeless and working poor adults.

Additionally, students learn about the underlying causes behind the poverty under which some Charleston residents suffer. Particular emphasis will be placed on learning about the area's rich and complex coal mining history. Students will hear from local experts with varying opinions on questions such as: What are the benefits of coal mining? What are the environmental costs of mining? What are the ethical questions surrounding labor and environmental issues related to coal mining? Students will need to be prepared to hear competing viewpoints, to have their assumptions challenged, and to learn about an area of the United States with unique and important cultural heritage.

Questions or comments? Please contact Jenny Davidson, Coordinator of Student Service Learning, at or 540-458-4669.

Maximum Number of Participants: 15