In March 2016, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will sponsor six Fulbright Foreign Student Program students, along with six Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni to participate in a week-long service-learning program in Williamson, WV led by Amizade Global Service-Learning which empowers individuals and communities through worldwide volunteering.
During their week-long program in Williamson, Fulbrighters will participate in service activities and learning about the town and its history. Williamson is a small rural coal-mining town in Mingo County (WV) that once was home to 10,000 residents and a thriving coal economy in the mid-20th century. However, in recent years, Williamson has experienced a collapsed coal mining industry, a series of devastating floods, and de-population. Now a population of 3,000, community members have joined together to create Sustainable Williamson, the local organization with whom Fulbright students and alumni will be working. Sustainable Williamson is a small team of community organizations that work together to increase access to fresh foods, initiate active living programs, and teach healthy living styles. Throughout the week, the Fulbrighters will be sharing in, and learning how, community members are pioneering and engaging in thoughtful work in order to maintain their cultural framework while also creating a realm of new opportunities.