Service is key to Penn State Law Class of 2011

May 10, 2011

If you want to describe how the Class of 2011 has served others, you would need a bevy of verbs. They built, danced, sang, ran, petitioned, collected, cleaned, baked, and grew (or wore fake) mustaches. They donated business attire, canned goods, their time, energy, and even blood. Forty-four of them have completed at least 60 hours of public service work and will be recognized at Commencement as Public Interest Advocates.

The Class of 2011 and their peers:

-- Hosted more than 30 events to benefit 23 organizations and causes, including Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, local food banks, animal adoption, and cancer research;

-- Helped fund 15 full-time public interest fellowships; and

-- Provided tax assistance to hundreds of low and moderate-income taxpayers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

"Participating in philanthropic endeavors, such as Relay for Life, reminds me that the stress I feel over classes,papers, and in my clinic work is nothing compared to the fight for life that many cancer patients are facing," explained Megan Mazzoni, 2011 graduate, who raised more than $5,800 for Relay for Life with classmate Christine Arena, 2011 graduate; the Law School’s Relay for Life team finished first out of 156 Penn State student teams. Mazzoni served as a legislative and policy intern in the Children’s Advocacy Clinic.

Kevin Gardner, 2011 graduate and co-chair of Project STAFF, recently led a group of students in a central Pennsylvania Habitat for Humanity project. "We helped those in need take the first steps of rebuilding their lives," he said. It was one of three build days for Habitat for Humanity held this academic year.

Also, they put their legal skills to good use as they worked with area alumni to host Wills for Heroes clinics, creating scores of estate planning documents for nearby first responders.

Megan Moriarty, a Cumberland County spokesperson organized the Wills for Heroes with John Quirk, the Cumberland County emergency management resource coordinator. She said after the first clinic in November 2010 that the best part of the day was the enthusiasm brought by the law students and attorneys. "They seemed so excited to help out and get to meet the first responders."

Kate Cramer Lawrence, director of public interest programming and adviser of the Public Interest Law Fund, is proud of the class’ service accomplishments. "Serving others is a key component of professional life, and it’s just fantastic to see so much dedication from people who will be our colleagues in just a few months," she said.



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Last Updated July 22, 2015