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UF BLSA top chapter in nation; negotiations team also No. 1

Published: April 8th, 2013

Category: Feature

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Black Law Students Association President Brandon Campbell (2L) speaks during a presentation at the UF Law Board of Trustees meeting on Saturday. UF Law’s BLSA chapter has been named best in the nation. (Photo by Haley Stracher)

By Felicia Holloman (3L)

The University of Florida Levin College of Law Black Law Students Association represented the college at the annual national convention in Atlanta March 6-10, and took home two prestigious awards.

UF Law BLSA, also known as the W. George Allen chapter, was recognized as the national chapter of the year, beating out over 200 other groups. It is the National Black Law Students Association’s highest award and honor given to any chapter.

“This award shows yet again that UF is among the top law schools in the country, and that UF’s excellence is consistent in many areas,” said BLSA President Brandon Campbell (2L).

The group submitted a three-part application then competed for the title of regional chapter of the year. After being named chapter of the year for the southern region, UF Law BLSA went on to compete nationally.

The last step in the process included an interview in which Campbell answered questions posed by two NBLSA board members.

Campbell highlighted all of the community service outreach that BLSA spearheaded throughout the year, including the state of the Black Law Student town hall meeting, diversity initiatives with pre-law students across the country, the 50-year anniversary celebration of W. George Allen, UF Law’s first black graduate and UF BLSA’s namesake, and a professionalism week program.

“The leadership of our UF Law BLSA chapter has been superb these past years, so the chapter being recognized as the national chapter of the year is a well-deserved and exciting honor,” said UF Law Dean Robert Jerry.

Meanwhile, BLSA’s negotiations team won first place in the international negotiation competition held during the convention. The winning team consisted of Atiya Munroe (2L) and Laselve Harrison (2L).

“Getting one national title is a rare achievement for any law school, so the BLSA Negotiations Team also winning the national championship creates an extraordinary combination of awards, demonstrating that UF Law’s students have succeeded in making our BLSA chapter one of the very best, and I would argue the number one chapter, in the country,” said Jerry.

Campbell believes the awards are also representative of the movement toward diversity in education.

“This award is a major step in the right direction, not only for BLSA, but for the advancement of diversity at UF,” he said.

As for what the future has in store, BLSA has already established a conference in September, which will include every chapter in Florida and chapters in Puerto Rico and other states.

“I am fully confident that those coming after me will be able to continue BLSA’s model of excellence,” Campbell said.

The members of BLSA give special thanks to Donald Pritchett and Eugene Pettis for their annual endowments to UF BLSA. BLSA would also like to thank its graduate advisor, Katheryn Russell-Brown; the Center for Race Relations; the Law College Council; and the Center for Career Development for sponsoring its trip to Atlanta and supporting its activities this year.

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