On January 26th, 2013, Stanford Law School students, faculty and staff came together for a student-initiated SLS Day of Service. About 125 volunteers took part in the event, contributing their time at 10 organizations, including Acterra Redwood Grove Project, Acterra Arastradero Preserve, Second Harvest Food Bank, Almost Eden Garden Project, InnVision Shelter Network, Boys & Girls Club – Brentwood Academy, Beechwood School, Cesar Chavez/Green Oaks Academy, Habitat for Humanity (Menlo Park) and Habitat for Humanity (Daly City).
The event was organized by Matthew Fine ’14, Maureen Howard ’14, and Rachel McDaniel ’14, and supported by the Stanford Law Association (SLA), Asian and Pacific Islander Law Students Association (APILSA), the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), Older Wiser Law Students (OWLS), OUTLAW, the SLS Christian Fellowship, the Stanford Latino Law Students Association (SLLSA), the Stanford Law Veterans Organization (SLVO), and Women of Stanford Law (WSL).
“This is classic SLS,” said Dean M. Elizabeth Magill. “A group of student leaders saw a need in the greater Palo Alto community and a way to tap in to our own community’s commitment to public service.”
“Most of the students here do pro bono work which is wonderful, but at the same time I think there’s something to be said for just going out and helping the community in a non-legal way,” said Matthew Fine.
Organizers came up with the concept for the event last spring and began reaching out to the SLS community and potential organizations in November. Fine says they tried to cast as “wide of a net as possible” in choosing the organizations to volunteer at. “They planned it and pulled it off in record time,” said Magill.
While the event was promoted as a “day” of community service, Fine acknowledged that the positive experience might convince some to make it a more regular deal. “If it convinces someone who had a great time at the food bank to go back every week that’s spectacular,” said Fine.
Or at the very least Magill sees a potential new SLS tradition. “I’m in awe of what they’ve done, and I hope it becomes a yearly event,” said Magill.