Appalachia: Fair Trade Learning

Immerse yourself in a region in the midst of a reinvention.  Step out of your comfort zones into a landscape rich with natural resources yet struggling to survive and challenge your assumptions of rural communities as you learn to be an agent for change in your own community.

March 4-11, 2020

Williamson, a coal mining town in Mingo County, West Virginia, once boasted a population of over 50,000 residents. With the help of the thriving coal economy in the mid-20th century, jobs and education were accessible and abundant. In recent years, however, like much of rural West Virginia, Williamson has suffered the coal mining industry’s collapse. Added to the town’s troubles were a series of terrible floods, and subsequent de-populization. Williamson has also suffered from the devastating effects of the opioid crisis that has plagued much of the United States in recent years. As the town struggles to keep its population above 3,000, the community faces an uncertain future, and must create ways to redefine itself. 

In partnership with the non-profit organization Amizade, and the organization’s commitment to Fair Trade Learning, students will participate in a week of sustainable service learning in Williamston and neighboring Appalachian towns. There will be opportunities to engage with community partner organizations that emphasize sustainable development, participating in projects relating to education, agricultural and economic sustainability, and community health. Students will be given ample time to reflect on their work, as well as consider how principles of the sustainable, relationship-driven progress exemplified here might be applied to bettering their own communities. 

List of 1 items.

  • Cost

    Current cost is based on the posted price of flights available at the time of trip planning. There is the potential for this to change. Participants will be alerted to any changes at time of trip sign-ups.

    Families will receive a list of all MANDATORY vaccines that are required.  All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines. 

Know Before You Go

Program Leaders
Autumn Sinai, Instruction and Engagement Librarian
Paula Clancy, Director of Library Services
Christopher Hyson, English Master

Photo ID Required For Travel

Students must submit a copy of the photo ID or passport they will use while traveling on this program.  The copy of the photo ID or passport must be submitted when the required signed documents are returned.  

All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines. Families will be charged for any trip related routine vaccines administered on campus.

Sign Up

This program is open for the entire School community. Participants should be flexible, patient, open to a new culture, hard-working, and able to handle themselves professionally in delicate community situations. 

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student surveys, Housemaster/Advisor recommendations, medical fitness for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing.  Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.

Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:

Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.