by Jacqueline Prisbylla
SBA Community Service Committee Vice-Chair

Santa Clara Law celebrated its third annual Pro Bono Week in conjunction with the ABA’s National Pro Bono Celebration this past week with a number of events throughout the week organized by the SBA and the Center for Social Justice and Public Service. We kicked off the celebrations Monday with cupcakes and a meet and greet with APALSA, BLSA, CSJPS, Christian Legal Society, SALDF, and Women & Law members who shared upcoming pro bono and volunteer opportunities with the group. On Tuesday, Cowell Health Center sponsored a blood drive.

On Wednesday, students learned more about how the California State Bar’s Campaign for Justice is working to close the “justice gap” from a State Bar representative and a representative from the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley, a recipient of Campaign for Justice funding. The Pro Bono Project is always looking for volunteers and has many opportunities available for students and attorneys. On Thursday, Public Interest Law Career Services hosted a Public Interest Career Fair where students had an opportunity to network with local public interest and public sector attorneys and organizations and find out more about externships and career possibilities.

Weeklong, the SBA held a food drive benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Christian Legal Society held a food, clothing, and toiletries drive for Loaves & Fishes which was so successful they extended the drive for another week (through Week 11), and Women & Law held a men’s and women’s professional clothing and accessories drive. Thank you to everyone who donated! Coming up, SALDF will be holding a pet food, treats, and toy drive to coincide with Dog Therapy Day during Stress Relief Week (Week 12).

Pro Bono Week ended on a high note with the SBA Community Service Committee’s second biannual Community Service Day. Committee Chair Rebecca Slutzky and Lara Bahr spent countless hours organizing and planning this event and all of their hard work really paid off. This semester there were volunteer opportunities at five different sites including the Santa Clara County Animal Shelter, the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk, trail development at Three Creeks Trail with Save Our Trails, the Forge Garden on campus, and the ever popular Women & Law Bink-a-Thon.

law students washing dogs at the animal shelter

Law students washing dogs at the animal shelter.

The most popular site this year, and one sure to be repeated in the future, was at the Santa Clara County Animal Shelter. Here, students really made a difference by helping bathe some of the dogs waiting to be adopted and taking new pictures of them for the adoption website, greatly increasing their chances of finding forever homes. One lucky student even found herself a new friend and adopted one of the cats from the shelter. Special thanks to the SALDF for organizing this site!

Volunteers also went to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk, where they bumped into a group of Santa Clara alumni walking as a group! The volunteers were there to cheer walkers on, to keep them on course, and to clean up after the walkers passed. Many walkers wore t-shirts with pictures of loved ones on them or identifying themselves as survivors. It was a very moving morning for these volunteers.

Students also volunteered with Save Our Trails to help develop the Three Creeks Trail in Santa Clara, a very important trail because it connects with at least three other trails across town, by mulching the trail. Hard work, but definitely worth it!

At the half-acre Forge Garden on campus, which got its name because it used to be the site of SCU’s blacksmith forge many years ago, volunteers, including Deans Lisa Kloppenberg and Susan Erwin and Professor Kandis Scott helped pull weeds and spread out mulch for much of the morning to get the garden ready for the winter. Students also helped assemble some benches that convert into patio tables to be used for classes and gatherings at the garden and got to do some winter vegetable planting.

law students at forge garden

Law students volunteering at Forge Garden.

Finally, many students stayed on campus and helped Women & Law make no-sew fleece blankets for Project Linus, which provides blankets to children in need. First year students also helped after their practice exam. Volunteers were having so much fun they whipped through the blankets in no time!

The Community Service Committee will be organizing our third biannual Community Service Day this spring, so if you didn’t make it out this weekend, you can come out in the spring and bring your friends!

Again, thank you to everyone who participated for all of your hard work!