Aug. 27, 2018 - First-year University of Houston Law Center students were instilled with the value of helping others and bonded with their new classmates by volunteering with faculty and administrators for a variety of projects before classes started for the fall semester.
The initiative, started by Dean Leonard M. Baynes, and implemented by Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee, is intended to set a good example for Law Center students entering the legal profession in terms of providing support to the community.
"This is the fifth year that entering first-year Law Center students participated in community service projects. I am delighted that they have this opportunity to learn about the needs of the community and the important lesson of giving back," Baynes said. "It gives the students an opportunity to build lasting friendships before classes even begin. In addition, in seeing the long lines of individuals waiting patiently, sometimes several hours, before the legal workshops started demonstrates that there a lot of individuals in our community without legal representation."
With the assistance of Houston Volunteer Lawyers, some students assisted at a veterans' legal advice clinic held at the Michael E. Debakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center where they sat in on meetings with veterans seeking legal advice.
Others received a preview of immigration law at a naturalization workshop at the BakerRipley Leonel Castillo Community Center and of criminal law at a pro bono juvenile record sealing clinic at the University of Houston's Student Center. At the Houston Food Bank, volunteers helped prepare meal packages for those in need.
Additional students took to the outdoors for their service projects. At Beauty's Community Garden in Independence Heights, volunteers assisted with mulching and making beds for planting and weeding. At the Buffalo Bayou Water Works Building participants gardened, removed invasive species, picked up trash and cleaned trails.