01.31.13

BU Law's BLSA Chapter Earns Chapter of the Year

Students take home top honor at the regional awards gala

bu law blsa

BUBLSA Members (R to L): Sydelle Exantus, Chaloea Williams, Byron Conway, Brandon Greene, Jean-Phillip Brignol, Nicole Beiner

At the Awards Gala concluding the four-day Northeastern Black Law Student Association 2013 Conference held in Cambridge last Saturday, BU Law's BLSA chapter was awarded Chapter of the Year, Northeast Region, Medium Size (25-50 members).

"I knew we had a competitive application," says BUBLSA's president, Chaloea WIlliams ('14), "but I didn't know how it was going to go this year, especially since the medium-sized chapter category is the largest."

Chapters wanting to enter the competition must complete a rigorous application detailing their events, membership involvement, and how they have upheld the national BLSA principles. Each creates a scrapbook documenting their activities and undergoes a formal interview during the convention.

"It means so much to be recognized for some of the great things that we are able to do on BU's campus," Williams says.

That list includes a number of events fostering membership support, particularly for the 1L class: a welcome dinner with LALSA at the Professors Hylton's house; the "True Life: I'm a 1L" panel (which over 60 1Ls attended); a networking panel featuring alums Wendell Taylor and Trevor Moore; an inter-BLSA mixer with Harvard, BC and Northeastern; and a BLSA buddy mentor kick-off, pairing 1Ls with upperclassmen to guide them in academic and professional development.

"The core part of BLSA is making sure our members feel comfortable and are doing well because law school is a difficult time," Williams says. "I've been happy to see the mentoring relationships growing as the year has gone by."

BUBLSA Executive Board:

  • Chaloea Williams - President
  • Peter Alvarez - External Vice President
  • Orla Thompson - Internal Vice President
  • Enrique Santiago - Treasurer
  • Janee Johnson - Secretary
  • Melanie Nelson - Historian
  • Chelsea Lewis - Regional Representative

BUBLSA students' leadership goes beyond campus, as well. Members work with the Boston Debate League to teach high school student how debate can be an avenue to develop professional skills, like those they utilize in law school. Emceeing the regional conference awards gala was BU Law's own Brandon Greene ('13), who has served as NEBLSA's attorney general and is the newly sworn-in Boston NAACP Education Director. Byron Conway ('14) is the acting vice regional chair of NEBLSA.

“The Student Affairs Office is proud of all the hard work that BLSA has done, not only within the law tower but also in the community," says Brenda Hernandez, associate director for academic and multicultural affairs. "BLSA has continued to be one of our most active student organizations, and it is a privilege that the national organization recognizes their excellence as well. It is well deserved.”

Next up, the BUBLSA team is planning their annual Black History soiree, where they will honor the 135th anniversary of the first black graduate, Emanuel Hewlett, and the upcoming alumni weekend conference. And, of course, now they will go on to compete at the national BLSA conference in Atlanta in March. "It's a process I'm looking forward to, but it will be a lot of work," says Williams.

"I definitely want to thank Student Affairs, Dean Marx and Brenda Hernandez," Williams notes. "I want to thank my executive board. It's not easy to take this on when you have so many other activities going on. It's a lot of work, a lot of time and a really big commitment. They have really stepped up and made BLSA such a successful organization on campus."

BU Law congratulates the members of BLSA and will be routing for them in the spring during the next phase of the compeition.

 

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