1Ls kick off first year volunteering in community
Over 300 first-year law students at the University of Florida kicked off the school year by donating their time and efforts to a variety of organizations in Gainesville Friday, Aug. 20. Community Service Day is an annual tradition at UF Law and is part of the Introduction to Law School and the Profession (ILSP) program for incoming students.
“Community Service Day marks an end to the Introduction to Law School and the Profession Program, as well as a beginning to the new students’ legal careers,” Director of Student Programs at UF Law Michelle Ocepek said. “It helps instill the message that attorneys should participate in the community in which they live, and give back in meaningful ways.”
Students were put into groups to volunteer at sixteen different sites around Gainesville, giving their time to organizations such as Haven Hospice, the Humane Society and The Alachua County Conservation Trust.
“The experience was good because – as we’ve already started learning – being a public servant is an essential part of practicing law, and including something like Community Service Day helps to reinforce that fact,” said Kara Carnley, a first-year law student who volunteered at The Arc of Alachua County, an organization that provides a variety of services to the developmentally disabled.
At The Arc, students assisted with organizational and cleaning projects – duties that often take a back seat to caring for the clients, Carnley said. They also had a chance to play board games and spend time with the clients.
“It opened my eyes to another community in Gainesville that might not always get the attention it deserves,” Carnley said. With each student contributing three hours, UF Law’s 1L class donated approximately 920 hours in volunteer time and giving back to the community.