Lexington, Virginia • August 26, 2011
Local community organizations throughout Lexington and Rockbridge County received a helpful boost when students from Washington and Lee University's School of Law took part in the Student Bar Association's (SBA) Service Day during orientation this year.
"The last time we did this was in 2005 or 2006," said SBA President Negin Farahmand. "It used to be an annual event and so we're trying to bring it back."
More than 70 law students took part in the SBA Service Day on August 24. Aimed mostly at incoming students, including first year law students and transfer students, Farahmand said that about 20 current law students also took part as site leaders. "We worked with 15 local organizations, from the Rockbridge Area YMCA to the Rockbridge Free Clinic and Fine Arts in Rockbridge," she said. "The students met at the law school at 1 p.m. and then dispersed to the different service sites and stayed there until 5 p.m."
The students took part in a variety of projects from yard work and picking up brush to organizing files and doing paperwork. "It was any work that the individual organization needed to get done but doesn't necessarily have the time to do," explained Farahmand.
One project she was particularly interested in was a car wash to raise funds for the Valley Association for Independent Living. "VAIL works specifically with people who have disabilities to try to get them to live independently," she said. "So that's a major project the students did."
Another tradition the SBA hopes to revive is a highway clean up of a portion of Route 60, from the Exxon on Poplar Hill Road for about a mile and half. "The SBA adopted the road years ago," said Farahmand, who conceded that the task of maintaining the road had fallen by the wayside in the intervening years. "So we worked with Adopt-a-Highway to do this cleanup and I think this will be a good way to restart the initiative."
Other students worked with children at the Yellow Brick Road Child Care Center. "I think that project was beneficial to both the children and the law students," said Farahmand. "As law students we get really wrapped up in what we're doing and we're very busy. I thought the SBA Service Day would be rewarding for the students and a good way to give back to the community and show that we're part of the community and we don't just go to school here. With more than 70 student volunteers, I think it had a big impact in just one day."
Farahmand stressed that the W&L School of Law has many organizations that perform community service projects throughout the year, but not specifically through the SBA. "For example, there's a community service requirement for all third-year law students," she said. "My hope is that those third-year law students who were involved in the SBA Service Day as site leaders will stick with those organizations throughout the year. And hopefully the tradition of the SBA Service Day will continue after this year."
Other organizations that benefited from the SBA Service Day were Boxerwood Gardens, three locations of Habitat for Humanity, Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center, the assisted living community Mayflower, Woods Creek Montessori, Rockbridge Area Community Services, United Way of Lexington-Rockbridge County, Roots and Shoots and Rockbridge Area Conservation Council.