The Sustainability Leading Edge trip aims to:

  • Create an environment where members of the incoming class can get to know each other.
  • Introduce students to definitions of and issues related to sustainability and sustainable development.
  • Expose students to the local natural resources and the beauty of our region.
  • Connect incoming students with upper-division students, W&L staff, and community members who can provide information about the different ways to get involved in sustainability both on campus and in the surrounding community.

Depending on the size of the group, we may split into two subgroups. However, all participants will come together for various activities and shared meals during the week. Everyone will be exposed to activities such as: guest speakers, a tour of campus sustainability initiatives, a combined field trip to a local agricultural operation, and meals straight from the W&L Campus Garden and other locally sourced eateries. Topics of discussion may include sustainable food, water, development, environmental justice, alternative energy, and more. Discussions will be complemented with trips to the beautiful surrounding area. At the end of the week, students will discuss their various definitions of and experiences with sustainability. This activity will take the form of a competition on who can design the best sustainable community.

*This trip does spend time outside and being physically active. We will be exposed to late-summer weather (heat and rain), insects, and other natural elements. Please be prepared to carry water with you, wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and go on walks/hikes that will last around two hours each time.

"As a current junior, The Sustainability Leading Edge trip continues to be one of my favorite and fondest memories at W&L. I made my best friends on this trip and loved meeting students who care just as much about sustainability as I do. I learned so much about sustainability on campus and in general, and it's an experience I'll hold with me for the rest of my life." 
-Michelle Nguyen '25

I really enjoyed being a part of a Leading Edge trip because it allowed me to ease into being on my own so that I didn't feel too overwhelmed or lost when transitioning to college. It was also a lot of fun, and I got to have a lot of really cool experiences with the people who would become my closest friends.
-Wren Opela '25

Questions or comments, please contact Kim Hodge at