Each year, the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Student Affairs Office selects a Student Organization of the Year. Selection is based on the organization’s community involvement, on-campus engagement, and volunteerism.
The 2020 Student Organization of the Year is the Bowen chapter of the Black Law Students Association (“BLSA”). As an affiliate of the National Black Law Students Association (“NBLSA”), the group’s mission is to introduce black law students to the professional problems and responsibilities they will encounter upon admission to the practice of law, to address and represent the ideas and concerns of its members, and to promote cultural diversity and inclusion at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
“Selecting a Student Organization of the Year is always difficult,” said Student Affairs Program Manager Rebecca Nugent. “We review résumés submitted by each student organization and select the group that has best supported the law school’s core values and the surrounding community. The 2020 year was especially challenging because all student organizations had to pivot to online and virtual events and fundraisers, all while their members adjusted to taking classes online. BLSA worked hard to fulfill its mission even when students couldn’t be on campus.”
During the 2020 year, BLSA:
- hosted a Black History Month Mixer for BLSA members and alumni;
- hosted the Black History Month program on African Americans and the Vote;
- joined Black Lives Matter organizers in a rally and march at the Arkansas state capitol;
- raised over $200 for the Social Justice Institute;
- hosted a virtual 1L Kick-Off for new students, providing tips and insight on thriving during the first year of law school
- hosted the virtual BLSA Minority Pre-Law Boot Camp, a full-day event to provide prospective students with insights into the application process and the law school experience, including admissions information, a mock class, an LSAT prep workshop, an attorney panel, and a student panel;
- hosted a post-graduation workshop with Career Services to provide job-hunting tips
- conducted the Season of Giving Clothing and Food Drive to benefit The Van and the Arkansas Food Bank;
- competed at the NBLSA Mock Trial virtual competition, where the team placed fourth overall in their region.
In addition to these formal events, BLSA members regularly work with Bowen’s admissions office to reach out to prospective and incoming minority students and answer questions they had about coming to Bowen.
“2020 was a difficult year not only because of the global pandemic but also due to the devastating killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and several others. After witnessing these injustices, our members sought to prioritize our mission,” said BLSA President Altimease Lowe. “With each scheduled event, we kept in mind our mission, as an NBLSA affiliate, to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. From the Minority Pre-Law Boot Camp to the Social Justice Institute fundraiser, we strived to lead by example in fulfilling our mission. The executive board worked hard, maintained a positive attitude, and supported each of our members. As the 2020-2021 President, I am so grateful to have worked with such diligent and gifted members, and we are honored to be recognized as the 2020 Student Organization of the Year.”
BLSA is one of Bowen’s 22 registered and active law student organizations.