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!

It’s Back! Thanksgiving Baskets 2018

Despite our finals season stress, William & Mary students try to find time to give back during the holidays. Each year, the Black Law Students Association hosts the Thanksgiving Basket Thanksgiving BasketCompetition. All the 1L sections compete, arranging their givings in a creative manner that will grab the attention of the judges. And the 1Ls really do get creative. Last year, the winning section made their Professor, Dean Kaplan, out of canned goods; others created International Shoe (you’ll laugh once you take Civil Procedure) and other puns from our law school experience. Displays are graded on creativity, the diversity of products, and the quantity of goods. Each section sets up the night before the judgment and claims their spot for their structure. You are able to watch everyone’s ideas slowly form over time.

My section opted for the simple yet elegant Supreme Court. Our Court’s docket was out of the ordinary–we brought suit on behalf our professors and Legal Practice Fellow.

All and all, my 1L class collected over 2,000 items that were delivered to the William & Mary Campus Kitchen, who then organized the items into Thanksgiving baskets for families. Although Section 2’s Supreme Court made out of mainly cans and pasta did not come out on top, it was a great experience to bond. Not only does the law school collect items for those in need, it gives everyone an opportunity to see how thankful they are for their section and the law school community. I’m excited to see what the 1Ls bring to the table this year!

Results aren’t in from this year’s competition, but students collected over 4,000 cans and pantry items! Make sure to follow our Instagram, wmLawAdmissions, for the final winner! 

Brooke Lowell is a 2L from Rockland, Maine. She attended Simmons College and earned her degree in Political Science in 2017. Brooke is currently a member of the Public Service Fund and serves as the Vice President for Equity Alliance. She also works as a member of the Bill of Rights Journal staff. Last summer, she served as a graduate research assistant for Professor Evan Criddle at William & Mary Law School and will continue to work at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia as her externship for the year.