Thankful for W&M Law: Thanksgiving Baskets

Students from section 16 of the 1L class pose in front of their train display made entirely of canned and pantry stable foods!

1L Section 13 won the 2019 Thanksgiving Baskets competition with their display of the “OCS Express”!

by 2L Yasmine Palmer

Dinosaurs, trains, and zoos, oh my! As the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive draws to a close, the first floor of the law school is transformed into a quirky statue garden.

From the entrance of the Wolf Law Library to the middle of the Hixon Center, members of the Class of 2022 stacked and arranged cans of peas and corn, boxes of mac and cheese, packets of stuffing, and more into unique structures. The 1Ls, who work in teams composed of their Legal Practice Program section-members, are encouraged to be as creative and over-the-top as possible when designing their displays, and they certainly rise to the challenge. Among this year’s creations were a “Tortasaurus” made of green beans, a can-shaped structure cheekily titled “Learned Can’d” (a play on the name of Billings Learned Hand, the infamous former Southern District of New York judge), and a train complete with pie-tin wheels.

Last week during the lunch hour, a group of professors, staff members, and students took a tour of the displays and mark their choices for “Best Content,” “Most Creative,” and “Judges’ Choice.”

Though the 1L section that wins Judges’ Choice will be rewarded with a pizza party, the Thanksgiving food drive is a rewarding experience for all who are involved. For nearly a decade, the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive has been sponsored and organized by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), with the specific goal of ensuring that as many local families as possible have great meals to share on Thanksgiving. All of the food products collected during the competition are donated to William & Mary’s chapter of the national volunteer organization, The Campus Kitchens Project. The Campus Kitchen at W&M serves 10,000 meals a year to nearly 200 families in the local community. Last year, the Law School contributed over 4,000 food items to that effort. BLSA’s service committee, led by Mechelle King (2L), thinks that we surpassed that number this year!

Last week, seeking to spread the spirit of thankfulness through the law school in anticipation of the food drive, BLSA also held a Thank-You Card sale, during which students, professors and staff were encouraged to purchase and write cards to people within the school. The cards were then hand-delivered to their intended recipients by the members of BLSA. The proceeds of the sale will go towards purchasing turkeys to accompany the other donated food products.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue my legal dream and for the friends and family members that supported me long before I first walked through the law school’s doors. Take some time this Thanksgiving season to think about what you’re thankful for and to thank those who have helped you get to where you are today.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

A Law School Built on Traditions

This week, The College of William & Mary celebrates its 326th birthday at Charter Day! On Friday, February 8th, we celebrate not only a renewal of the charter from King William & Queen Mary back in 1693, we also celebrate the official inauguration of President Katherine A. Rowe and the re-investiture of our chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65! In celebration of one of the greatest traditions at the College, we asked 2L Rebecca Jaeger to reflect on some of William & Mary Law School’s traditions as well. 

Rebecca Jaeger, 2L

Rebecca Jaeger, 2L

As one of the oldest universities in the nation, William & Mary is built on tradition. As a school that has been around for this long (326 years!), there is plenty of time to establish traditions that define the school and the community. William & Mary Law School is no exception!

Bust with 2021 hatLaw student traditions kick off during Law Week. Students right away are unofficially inducted into the William & Mary Law community when they receive a William & Mary Law School hat that is embroidered with the year of their graduation. To get the hat, you first have a conversation with the Dean of the law school, which is a great way to be welcomed into the community (and have a personal conversation with the Dean). And then, you get to rock your hat for the rest of the day.

One of the most well-known traditions is the ringing of the bell at the Wren Building. In the first week as a law student, students are invited to ring the bell to signify the beginning of their William & Mary Law education. The tradition comes full circle on the last day of classes as a 3L. All students are then invited to ring the bell again, as symbol of completing their William & Mary education. The entire day, as you walk outside, you can hear the bell ringing, as students are celebrating completing their last day of classes.

239 birthdayTraditions also mark milestones in the three years that we spend as law students here. There’s a “Halfway There” celebration in the beginning of January during 2L year, and a “100 Nights Until Graduation” celebration during the spring of 3L year. I can’t attest to what it’s like to celebrate “100 Night Until Graduation” (as I have a year and 100 Nights to go), but the “Halfway There” celebration was a great way to spend time with classmates, enjoying ice cream, and thinking about how far we have come. It’s also a tradition to celebrate the Law School’s birthday each year (with cake), and let me say that it’s quite a unique experience to attend a 239th Birthday party. It’s a fun way to recognize the previous centuries of legal education at William & Mary Law and to toast to the ones to come.

The traditions at William & Mary Law help build a unique community: one rooted in history and tradition, committed to educating and developing citizen-lawyers.