Cleaning, painting, fixing up, or just spending time with children or the elderly won’t show up on a law school class syllabus, but those activities are nonetheless an integral part of a Catholic University legal education.
Community Service Day, traditionally the third and final installment of Orientation Week for the incoming class, drew a robust response as approximately 70 new students fanned out across northeast Washington, D.C., on Aug. 14 for several hours of volunteerism and fellowship.
The non-mandatory day is intended to emphasize the importance of pro bono service to others as a core component of every legal career. Community Service Day also helps to solidify and unite incoming student classes as people forge new friendships and get to know each other better during a fun and satisfying day.
There were opportunities for service at five local sites: St. Anthony Catholic School, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, all within a short drive of the Columbus School of Law.
The morning kicked off with a group photo and pep talk. Then, students boarded busses and disbursed in teams to the respective sites before returning to the law school for a pizza lunch. The law school’s friend and neighbor, &Pizza, donated fifteen pizzas for the lunch.
Each student could decide what he or she wanted to do. For some, that meant physical labor such as sprucing up the grounds or interior of one of the sites. Other students chose to read to kids or help give manicures to the infirm. Still others simply sat and talked with the residents of area retirement and nursing homes, offering the generous gift of their time and undivided attention to help alleviate loneliness.
As in past years, the students were joined by some members of the faculty and staff of the law school.
Jennifer Tschirch, the coordinator of pro bono activities for the law school who organizes the activities, says Community Service Day is the perfect way for participants to end their very first week as Catholic University law students.
“Volunteerism and service to others are hallmarks of a Catholic University education, and we believe they are an essential part of legal and personal formation which will stay with you for life,” she said.