Updates from VLS student clubs

Animal Law Society: ALS members started off the semester by drafting a comment in opposition of bearbaiting in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Then, the club elected two new members to our e-board: John O’Dell as secretary and Kelly Cook as co-treasurer. Ten ALS members virtually attended the Annual Animal Law Conference. For Thanksgiving, the club symbolically adopted two flocks of turkeys through the Farm Sanctuary. ALS hosted career discussions with two practicing animal lawyers. Animal Legal Defense Fund selected the work of two ALS members, Danielle Palermo and Daria (Dasha) Nikitina, for presentation. This semester, ALS hopes to continue discussing and working on a variety of animal law projects. The club will host more speakers with different animal law backgrounds to share their career experience and advice to aspiring animal law lawyers.


Black Law Students Association: It has been difficult being virtual this year, but BLSA has worked to ensure that our core activities were still offered to our general members. In the fall, we worked with LALSA, TA’s for 1L classes, and 2L volunteers to offer several Saturday Sessions for members of BLSA and LALSA throughout the semester. These sessions allowed 1Ls to get help with the subjects they were struggling in from 2Ls. Some classes were fortunate to have professors contribute to the discussion as well. BLSA also hosted a virtual weekend Academic Bootcamp for all 1Ls in October with professors from many 1L fall classes. This semester, BLSA hosted the annual Race and the Law Symposium virtually with over 1,000 viewers. This year’s symposium focused on how voting and politics affect opportunities for people of color. We had a diverse array of speakers and panelists to educate the audience on the subject. Looking forward to the rest of the semester, BLSA hopes to increase opportunities for members to get one another, even in a virtual setting.


Environmental Justice Law Society: EJLS filled their schedule this semester. EJLS hosts monthly general body meetings at the end of each month, incorporating administrative updates, guest speakers, and group conversations. Last month, EJLS participated in Nikkita Oliver’s first course on abolition. EJLS members formed a planning committee in preparation for a panel the organization will host at the third annual Environmental Justice Symposium. This year’s conference, Community Visions for Environmental Justice Organizing, adds Howard and Shaw Universities to the sponsoring institutions, including Yale and Duke Universities. EJLS will host its panel, “Back to the Future: America’s Youth Organizing for Environmental Justice,” on March 13 from 1 to 4 p.m.. You can anticipate a great lineup of speakers including Leah Thomas and Justin Onwenu! EJLS will host elections at the end of this semester. For those who want to know more about EJLS, visit our instagram @vlsejls. If you are interested in joining and participating in these exciting events, contact Co-Chairs Jameson Davis (jamesondavis@vermontlaw.edu) or Kendall Keelen (kendallkeelen@vermontlaw.edu). Happy Black History Month!


Environmental Law Society: Even in light of the virtual challenges facing student groups this year, the ELS was still able to conduct a wide range of meetings and activities through Teams. Our cohort of guest speakers—including David Mears and Professor Barry Hill—brought an array of different subjects, viewpoints, and practices in the field of environmental law. We still have three phenomenal speakers planning on joining ELS in the coming weeks! ELS’s Committees have also been hard at work. The Community Outreach Committee is planning to partner with a local school to have students team up and “compete” to create environmental projects in their school. The Legislation Outreach Committee is continuing to work with VPIRG to get ELS members involved in the Vermont legislative process. The Alumni Relations Committee has been hard at work to create and publish an ELS Alumni Newsletter to connect the ELS community and alumni to the current club and its members. The Guest Speaker Committee did an outstanding job throughout the year organizing the wonderful speakers that came to our general body meetings. Finally, ELS is working on adapting last year’s popular Fall Festival and Hill Climb to our virtual world. The details are still being nailed down, but we want to involve as many students and VLS members as we can! The virtual 5k is scheduled for March 27th, so keep an eye out for an email with further information coming soon. ELS hopes to see you there!


The Food and Agriculture Law Society: FALS has adjusted to the virtual law school setting, meeting bi-weekly over TEAMS to discuss topics in food and agriculture, hear from guest speakers, and plan events and fundraisers. FALS released a teaser to the VLS Community Cookbook before winter break. The teaser included dessert recipes from students, faculty, and staff—just in time for holiday baking! FALS plans to release the full electronic version at the end of the spring semester as a group fundraiser. Until then, FALS encourages everyone to make the teaser recipes and share the results on Instagram, tagging vls_fals. FALS is also planning a spring webinar on the dichotomy between urban and rural food systems, issues, and federal laws. FALS will host the webinar over TEAMS on March 15 at 6:00 p.m. ET. More details to come! Overall, FALS has maintained its presence on campus despite the rocky transition to virtual learning. FALS welcomes all those interested in food and agriculture to join group meetings. Meetings always include interesting and fun discussions as FALS members are interested in a broad array of topics within food and agriculture. Contact Ashely Monti and Jeremy Evans for more information on biweekly meetings.   


Latinx-American & Caribbean Law Student Association: On February 18th, LALSA concluded their elections for their Executive Board-elect: President: Cameron Briggs-Ramos; Vice President: Stephanie Maldonado Perdomo; Secretary: Luis Gonzalez; and Treasurer: Nathaly Lora Javier. This new set of leaders will succeed the current board this May. On the same ballot, a majority of LALSA members also voted to keep the Migrant Justice Committee and Social Media Committees for the upcoming academic year. The current executive board consists of Andrea Salazar, Salvador Segura, Monica Zavala, and Jonathan Alejandrino. With allies, they have been working on several measures to advance equity for students at VLS beginning with proposing a critical race & intersectional theory course, demanding reform to the LSAT subsidization and tuition discount rate system, and better support systems for living in SoRo and the surrounding area. At the same time, this is the first executive board to send a moot court team–Marissa Pizana and Salvador Segura–to competition representing VLS LALSA. Marissa and Sal will compete in the National Latina/o Law Student Association’s 13th Annual National Moot Court Competition this March 4th and 5th. Their coach is Professor Fregosi. LALSA’s also hosting events open to the VLS community. The first is called Diverse Career Paths on March 12th from 5-6:30 p.m. EST. The list of panelists for this event include: Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven C. Gonzalez; FERC OALJ Chief Judge Carmen Cintron; FERC OALJ Managing Attorney Sharli Silva; and Solo Immigration Law Practitioner Palli Balvar. The panel will be moderated by VLS 20′ alumna Yasmin Perez-Ortiz Esq. The second is First Gens in Law: Tools to Survive & Thrive on April 16th from 5-6:30 p.m. EST. More details to come.


Photo by VLS Ultimate Justice.

Ultimate Justice, the VLS Ultimate Frisbee Team: Hello virtual Swans. Here’s an update on what Ultimate Justice: The Vermont Law School Ultimate Frisbee Team has been up to this year. Now that we are all caught up, how are y’all doing? All jokes aside, UJ has been functionally disbanded on account of this Covid-19 virus that has apparently been quite disruptive pretty much everywhere. It has been a major bummer because, truly, there is nothing more fun than tossing disc with your friends on the grassy fields of SoRo. Admiring a September sunset, smelling the onset of autumn, and trying to remember if we run a stack or zone offense. Someday soon we will be back at it, together. We, the co-captains of UJ, want to share this experience with as many of you all as possible. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any-or-all of us with questions, or even to express interest so we can keep you in the loop as plans evolve for Summer and Fall 2021. Be well and keep ya heads up!

-Jake Evans (jacobevans@vermontlaw.edu), Kendall Watts (elizabethwatts@vermontlaw.edu), and Andrew Evans (andrewevans@vermontlaw.edu)

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