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!

Ali’s Run

K KoballaBy Kasey Koballa, Class of 2018

Running is always easier when it is for a good cause!

On April 7th, around 150 people, including a large number of law students, endured the unseasonal cold and rainy weather to run in support of William & Mary’s Bone Marrow Drive.  This was the 14th Annual Ali’s Run, which is a 5K run/walk, to honor the memory of Ali Kaplan, who passed away in 1999 from a rare bone marrow disease.  Ali Kaplan was our Dean Robert Kaplan’s daughter, and the run recognizes her selflessness, compassion, and courage.

Each year, our Bone Marrow Drive coordinates this run, and all of the proceeds are donated to the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. This year, we had three high school teams travel to Williamsburg to participate, some even from outside of Virginia, and we raised over $5,000.  Having these participants surely upped the competition – we had one runner complete the race in a quick 16 minutes and 33 seconds, which was a full two minutes ahead of any other competitor.

Ali's RunApart from this run, the Bone Marrow Drive hosts other fundraising events throughout the school year. One day a year, Be The Match Registry comes to the law school to host Drive Day where students may register in the drive.  By a mere swab of your mouth, you are entered into the bone marrow drive registry and could have the opportunity to help save a life if you are a match for someone in need.

Additionally, Bone Marrow Drive hosts a Pie Eating Contest between law students and the faculty and staff. Each class picks a male and female student to represent them and participate – to see who can eat the most pie, without using their hands or any utensils!  The Drive raises additional money by allowing students to pay to take off or add time from specific participants.  To allow for some friendly competition, there is a messy prize for the winner!

To learn more about the race and see the results, you can visit the Run’s page here.  We hope you join us on Ali’s Run or at these events in the future!