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 their community involvement, on-campus engagement, and volunteerism.
The 2021 Student Organization of the Year is OutLaw Legal Society. They also received the award for 2019.
The group’s mission includes promoting diversity, raising awareness of legal issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and maintaining an open atmosphere of respect, equality and justice for all. It is an affiliate of The National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.
“Each student organization is asked to submit a resume to aid us in selecting the most outstanding group. In these resumes, we are looking for campus engagement, community involvement, and unique ways the groups have stood out over the past year,” said Student Affairs Program Manager Rebecca Nugent. “There is no denying OutLaw was extremely passionate when submitting their resume. Not only was it seven pages, but it also included pictures and great detail. They exceeded my expectations of a resume. I felt as if I was at each of the events listed.”
During 2021, OutLaw Legal Society:
- Partnered with Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services by volunteering at legal clinics to provide pro bono services to low-income individuals who needed assistance with name and gender marker changes.
- Raised awareness regarding Arkansas’s anti-trans legislation, including hosting educational panels with law professors and legislators and participating in a peaceful protest at the state capitol.
- Reached out to prospective, incoming, and current students by participating in panel discussions, hosting a volleyball tournament mixer and stress relief events, as well as conducting a Friendsgiving dinner.
- President Caleb Alexander-McKinzie testified before the Arkansas legislature regarding Arkansas’s housing laws and provided evidence of how housing issues disproportionately affect populations of color and the LGBTQI+ community.
- Led education events regarding health care issues affecting the queer community, including a panel with UAMS. In cooperation with SAGE, an LGBTQI+ senior advocacy non-profit, OutLaw treasurer Jeramy Ashton presented information about health deficiencies specifically related to LGBTQI+ care.
- Created a scholarship fund for its members and amended its bylaws to expand its organization and executive board.
- Led two successful organizational fundraisers and a Giving Tuesday campaign to increase scholarship funds.
- Led social media awareness campaigns for World AIDS Day, Coming Out Day, and Black History Month (featuring historic Black queer icons).
- Completed community service events including adopting a fire hydrant in the MacArthur Dog Park and conducting a holiday supply drive for Lucie’s Place, a local non-profit organization dedicated to rehousing queer youth who may be unsheltered.
- Conducted a professional development workshop for members to provide interview training that was tailored for a queer dialogue.
In addition, OutLaw is the only student organization with fully trained university safe zone members. Until OutLaw’s action, SafeZone training was not open to students. Two Outlaw members are trained and serve on the university’s SafeZone committee.
OutLaw received recognition at The Bowen Awards on April 1, 2022. The group is one of Bowen’s 22 registered and active law student organizations.