Leading Edge

Students who participated in Leading Edge programs recall the time as one of their best college memories.

First-years will choose from the many program tracks this year: Appalachian Adventure, Volunteer Venture, Sustainability, Archaeology, Freedom Ride, Beyond LEADership, Around the World in Five Days, Making Meaning, From Queer to There: An LGBTQ+ History Tour, Wellness Adventure, Home Is Where The Art Is, Threads of Connection: Fiber Arts Exploration, or Designing and Making. Each will prepare you for an amazing experience as a First-Year student at Washington and Lee.

Leading Edge programs take place at the beginning of First-Year student orientation. The programs are small and inviting, a testament to the atmosphere of W&L. Leading Edge provides incoming First-Year students with the opportunity to begin their college career with friends, a sense of community, sharpened teamwork skills, and a memorable, meaningful, and challenging experience. The College Board recommends these types of programs as a "great way for new students to get acclimated to their new environment and meet others with shared interests" in low pressure settings. Leading Edge programs engage incoming First-Years from the start of their undergraduate experience, emphasizing the community aspect of college life.

Questions? leadingedge@wlu.edu

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.


The Leading Edge program in archaeology will introduce a select group of incoming first-year students to the research program in historical archaeology at Washington and Lee.

Around the World in Five Days

Around the World in Five Days helps students, who have grown up primarily in the U.S. and never traveled abroad beyond the borders of North America, explore with cultural activities, field trips and restaurant experiences, what it means to prepare for an "engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society." This is not a program for international students or for those who have traveled extensively outside North America. If you do not fit the criteria, you might be removed from the program. This week, based in Lexington, will inspire you to travel and study internationally and engage with our diverse community on campus during your four years at W&L.

Beyond LEADership

Beyond LEADership provides students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills and knowledge, as well as become familiar with the W&L community and campus!

Designing and Making

The Designing and Making program aims to introduce students to the technologies available in the campus makerspace (the IQ Center), how to design and make things, and show how professors use these technologies to support their academic and research goals.

Freedom Ride

You will spend five days exploring black history and culture by discussing significant civil rights points of interest in Atlanta, Georgia; Athens and Monroe, Georgia; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Farmville, Virginia.

From Queer to There: An LQBTQ+ History Tour

Join us on an adventure up the East Coast as we explore LGBTQ+ history in the country's biggest cities. Experience the Stonewall Inn, the National Archives, and many queer-owned restaurants and shops!

Home Is Where The Art Is

Home Is Where the Art Is a Leading Edge Trip is to increase students’ awareness of the arts on campus, create an arts community, build their confidence as artists, and identify their interests, skills, and experiences.

Making Meaning

The Making Meaning trip invites students into an immersive, experiential exploration of how people create spiritual & religious communities in which they can seek and find answers to some of life's biggest questions.


Sustainability introduces new students to sustainability issues in and around the W&L community.

Threads of Connection: Fiber Arts Exploration

Welcome to the world of creativity and craftsmanship! Our Threads of Connection program is designed to introduce students to the creative world of the fiber arts, including sewing, quilting, spinning, knitting, and crochet.

Volunteer Venture

Volunteer Venture allows participants to build meaningful relationships and explore issues related to poverty, injustice and opportunity through service with community-based agencies, guest speakers, and group discussion.

Wellness Retreat

Wellness Retreat is an introduction into many types of wellness (emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual)

Contact Us

If these resources do not answer your question, do not hesitate to reach out.


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