Sunday, March 7, 2010

Visions of Palm Trees and Public Service

As we get ready to begin this week of Alternative Spring Break, I’ve been thinking back on the last month of preparation. Meetings, fundraising, publicizing, emailing, attending benefit events...all while trying to juggle classes and studying. Those of us who are 1Ls have also been scrambling to get our first appellate brief draft turned in.

But now the preparation is over! We’re all on planes today, traveling from Memphis, Tennessee to Miami, where we are anticipating not only beautiful weather (palm trees, anyone?!) but also a eclectic and enthusiastic community of law students and attorneys, all revved up and ready to go.

In the last few weeks, we have spent a great deal of time sharing information about this trip with our community. What I have heard, overwhelmingly, is how surprised people are that students would “give up” and “sacrifice” their spring break to help Haitian nationals navigate paperwork to apply for Temporary Protective Status. What seems to be the theme within our group of 15 students, however, is not one of sacrifice, but one of opportunity. We are thankful for the opportunity to make the most of our Spring Break: we are serving a community in need; we are connecting with and befriending other law students; we are gaining valuable and practical legal skills; we are raising awareness about the value of public service. And I have to say it – we are having Spring Break in Miami (again, with the palm trees!). What an incredible combination of experiences that will, no doubt, leave a lasting impact on us, both in our personal and professional lives.

Although this week will certainly be a whirlwind, full of the unexpected and surprising experiences, we are absolutely looking forward to what the next 5 days bring. We are grateful to the University of Memphis Law School and the greater Memphis community for making this trip possible, and we are grateful to the University of Miami Law School for hosting us this upcoming week.

Ed. note - Anna Rudman-Santos is a first year law student at the University of Memphis.

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