As the summer days begin to dwindle, many students focus on purchasing books, gearing up for their new class schedules and settle in for the fall semester. But on Friday, August 15, 150 Regent University School of Law students turned their focus toward the needs of the Hampton Roads community during the sixth-annual Community Service Day.
Students dispersed to various service locations in the area such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, St. Mary's Home for Disabled Children, Union Mission, the Society of St. Andrew and the Bridge Christian Fellowship Swap & Shop. There, students volunteered for a variety of activities, including sorting food and clothing donations, facilities work, gleaning and oyster restoration.
Jeffrey Brauch, dean of the School of Law, explained that students' participation in these different community service projects is a simple reflection that Regent students' priorities are in the right place.
"They come to this school because they see law as a means to serve others and their communities," said Brauch. "It's immensely gratifying to see our entire student body display that heart to serve right at the beginning of a new year."
As a third-year law student, Erica Weston explained how easy it is to get caught up in focusing on studying, classes and her future career. Weston spent the day volunteering at the Bridge Christian Fellowship, where they were preparing for a clothing swap. Her favorite part of service was being able to visually see their work making a difference as large stacks of clothes that were donated for the swap were folded and organized.
"My focus should be on others, and the community service day is a great way to connect with the local community," said Weston.
Second-year law student Jessica Clark spent the morning aiding the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Oyster Restoration team. Throughout the day she learned about collecting and cleaning oyster shells shipped from local restaurants in order to provide a home for newly spawned oysters to attach to in the ocean.
"I think it's important to serve others because of the example Christ set for us during His time on earth," said Clark. "It was so great to be able to participate in a short-term project with a cause that helps the community in the long term."
This willingness to serve is what Darius Davenport, director of Career and Alumni Services in the School of Law, believes molds legal scholars into legal practitioners. And though it is, perhaps, contrary to what many assume, the role of a lawyer is primarily to be a "servant."
"There's no better way for a law student to begin his or her law school experience than to be in service to their community," said Davenport. "Over the last six years I've witnessed how Community Service day has transformed and inspired many students to continue to serve in Hampton Roads."