Students have a lot of flexibility in fulfilling the service component of the Warren Wilson Triad. For example, students may tutor once a week or do community gardening throughout the school year or summer. They may also sign up for service trips during break periods.
One service trip over spring break had a 13 Wilson people, including one staff member and two student leaders, doing hard time on the Appalachian Trail. The labor included maintaining eroded sections of trail, installing steps and water bars, and working on cribbing.
Instead of fickle-weather spring camping, the group went 5-star in heated cabins at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains. The NOC is a haven for kayakers, bikers, and "through" hikers -- people hiking from Georgia to Maine on the AT.
During the week, the students worked as the sun shined or the rain poured. Some of the challenges included getting enormous rocks out of the earth, wielding heavy tools all day, and cutting down trees on steep ground.
Each student brought his or her own unique set of skills to the group work environment. Sophomore Jason Carter, an outstanding member of the campus forestry crew, used the art of chain sawing to fell trees that would be used to support eroding trail, in hopes of saving more trees. And everyone contributed in different ways to preserving and improving part of the famed 2,100-mile footpath.
Written by sophomore Vanessa Emery.