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Students spend Fall Break giving back

While some students spend their Fall Break traveling or hanging out with friends, groups of Warren Wilson College students used that time to make a difference in the community.

Community engagement is a graduation requirement at Warren Wilson. The projects fulfill that requirement and prepare students for lives of social and civic involvement.

At a Habitat for Humanity build sites across Asheville and Weaverville, students worked for a week building affordable housing for those in need.

At Christmount Assembly in Black Mountain, students spent the week prepping the gardens for fall and winter, among other projects.

The gardens are used during summer programming for Camp Lakey Gap, a camp for students on the autism spectrum, Sunshine Retreats, a program for those with developmental disabilities, and Fern Way Farm & Forest Programs, a forest and field-based outdoor learning camp.

“As a nonprofit, we don’t have a lot of staff. The work the students are doing is invaluable, in terms of time and care,” said Katey Rudd, the Fern Way Programs Director at Christmount. “It brings a peace of mind, knowing that the land is being cared for appropriately.”

The Warren Wilson students took on projects such as cleaning out the medicinal garden and pollinator garden, harvesting the last crops, planting cover crops and aerating the soil, as well as building a deck that will be used for educational programming.

“We are learning a lot, doing good things and doing good work, and it feels rejuvenating,” said Dakota Ward, a sophomore at Warren Wilson and student leader of the Christmount team. “I’m happy that I need to do community service to graduate. It gives you a good excuse to get out into the community. The school has so many good community partners that it feels really easy—I know that I have so many opportunities to do that. I feel more connected to the school and to the community because of this break trip.”