Alumni Continue Tradition of Volunteerism on Service Day
By Lori Atherton
Sarah Seedig, '05, painted rooms at a transitional shelter operated by Volunteers of America in Denver. Mary Beth Wong, '84, prepared ground cover for native Hawaiian plants at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley, Honolulu. And Yasmin Elias, '95, planted trees in a residential neighborhood in Detroit.
The trio was among more than 200 alumni who volunteered to help organizations in their communities during Michigan Law's Alumni and Friends Service Day, held April 28 in 10 cities across the country, including Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Anchorage, and Washington, D.C.
"It was strenuous work, but it was also very rewarding to see the trees lining the various blocks down the street," said Elias, who planted the trees on behalf of the nonprofit The Greening of Detroit.
Elias, along with Shelly Miller, '92, served as a team leader for the volunteer project, and got involved because it's a "good way to play an active role in doing something good for the community in the name of the school that means a lot to me."
Seedig, a team leader for the Denver location, said she wanted to give back to the community and make it easier for fellow alumni to do the same. "As lawyers, we're oftentimes very busy," she said, "and I hope that having a volunteer activity pre-planned for folks makes it more likely that they will be able to volunteer and give back to the community as well."
This is the fourth year for the Law School's alumni service day, which coincides with the University of Michigan Alumni Association's service day for undergraduates, as well as the University's spring commencement, according to Laura Gray, assistant director of events in the Law School's Office of Development and Alumni Relations. The goal is to carry on the tradition of community service for which Michigan Law is known.
Gray said alumni have responded well to the event and are appreciative that the Law School offers service day, even if they are unable to participate. Many alums have volunteered all four years.
"I'm proud of this event, our volunteer team leaders, volunteers, the relationships that have been made with deserving organizations, and the fact that the Michigan Law spirit of community service is strong off campus and on," Gray said. "It's always thrilling to have new volunteers step forward, wondering about how they can start a day of service in their area. Next year we are looking forward to adding Dallas to our list of participating cities."
The next Alumni Service Day is slated for May 4, 2013.
View photos from Alumni Service Day.
Read more feature stories.