William & Mary first-year law students may be finishing classes and getting ready for finals, but they always have time for a good cause. And there’s no better cause than the annual Thanksgiving Basket Competition sponsored by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).
This year’s competition—the fifteenth—saw 1L students collect 4,663 canned and boxed food items and coupons, all of which go to those in need in the Williamsburg area.
“BLSA loves to organize this event because we value being able to give back to the community,” said Christine Anchan J.D. ’17, coordinator of this year’s competition. “The food drive is not only beneficial for local families, but it allows us to partner with William & Mary Campus Kitchen, an awesome undergraduate student run non-profit, and brings together the 1L legal sections. It is a wonderful and fun tradition for the law school community.”
During the competition, first-year students representing sections of the Legal Practice Program create displays from a wide variety of canned and boxed foods, everything from creamed corn to green beans to stuffing mix and more. The idea is to engineer an inspiring display and collect the most amount of food items.
This year, BLSA was also able to provide 22 turkeys, up from 12 in 2014, thanks to generous donations from Law School faculty and local grocery stores Food Lion, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market. All items then go to the William & Mary Campus Kitchen, which organizes the food into baskets, adds a turkey, and delivers them to local families.
And what of the competition? Faculty and staff judges took a good look at each entry—from recreations of the Eiffel Tower to Star Wars (“May the Torts Be Wythe You”) and made their decisions on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Section 4 took the prize for “Most Creative” display, a sweet confection entitled “Can-Dy Land,” complete with Sundae Summit, Gummy Bear House, Chocolate Swamp, and other tasty locales.
Section 5 won the award for “Best Content” with its hunger-ending-themed patriotic recreation of America, from New York City to the Golden Gate Bridge (and with a photo of TV personality Steven Colbert holding a flag). Section 5 was also named “Judge’s Choice" for overall winner.
Students put a lot of work into the competition, even though it falls right before Thanksgiving break and finals. But that hard work doesn’t surprise Anchan.
“Besides the fact that law students tend to love competition, I think the food drive is usually a wonderful opportunity for students, especially 1Ls, to take a little break from the stress of pending exams and do something good for others,” Anchan said. “It is fun and rewarding, and right in line with the ‘citizen lawyer’ ethos that makes this law school what it is.”
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.