Posted On: Jul 30, 2020
Patrick K. Lin, J.D. Candidate, Brooklyn Law
As law schools prepare to continue their experiment with remote learning this fall, what are some ways to organize student activities and events during a remote semester?
Like it or not, technology-enabled education will continue to play an increasingly central role at law schools. For better or for worse, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms will likely be the primary way classes will be delivered to law students. This same technology will also be how law schools and student organizations can organize events for the student body.
Here are some tips for how you can host and organize student events during this upcoming remote semester:
Invite guest speakers
While inviting guest speakers is an excellent way for experienced professionals or knowledgeable professors to share their insights, speakers are often limited by at least one of two constraints: time and location. A potential guest speaker may not have the time in their busy schedule to speak with students or may be working in another city or state.
However, the benefit of organizing virtual events is that you are not bound by these same constraints. Student organizations can invite guest speakers from any law school, law firm, company, or organization. With video conferencing platforms, guest speakers can share their experiences or answer students’ questions from the comfort of their own homes. Alumni who may have been unwilling to travel to your school after a long day of work are now more accessible and can share their post-graduation advice with current students. Professors at institutions in other cities or states can now discuss new areas of the law with interested students.
A useful resource is the CALI Guest Speakers Available for Remote Teaching list, which includes professors and attorneys with expertise in areas such as Internet law, refugee law, and fashion law—just to name a few. These speakers personally volunteered to share their contact information so that law schools and student organizations can reach out to them.
Connect and network virtually
In the fall, students may not be able to physically meet on campus or at coffee shops, but they can connect remotely. Many student organizations have longstanding mentorship programs that are especially helpful for first-year students looking for academic and career advice. Through video conferencing, these programs can continue to exist in a virtual space and provide students with more flexibility.
Student organizations can also continue to organize professional development and academic workshops over platforms like Zoom. With screen-share functions, students can share their resumes or cover letters with each other and receive real-time feedback. Mock interview workshops can also be conducted over Zoom, which can prepare students to interview with prospective employers as in-person interviews have moved to either video or phone calls.
Collaborate with other organizations
Student organizations often co-sponsor or co-host events for several reasons, such as increasing participant turn out or pooling budgets and resources. Moving events to platforms like Zoom makes it is easier than ever for student organizations to collaborate and co-host events. If your student organization is looking to increase participation or membership, hosting events with other organizations at your law school is a great way to do so.
There are plenty of opportunities to co-host events as well. Many areas of the law overlap, so law student associations that focus on specific areas of the law can come together to host discussions on how their areas of the law interact. Affinity groups at law schools can also co-host academic and professional workshops to show solidarity and expand their respective networks.
Beyond your law school campus, there may be opportunities to team up with non-profit organizations. Connecting with different parts of your community can create opportunities for pro bono, which is especially crucial during these volatile times. Hosting panels for high schools and colleges may allow you and your classmates to share law school experiences with young students who are interested in the law.
While the reliance on platforms like Zoom is out of necessity, these same platforms can also yield several benefits, such as making events more accessible to more people. Generally, the most significant obstacles to event planning are time and location. Guests and students alike may not have the time, or you may not be able to reserve a large enough space. Although many students and professors agree that there are significant challenges to teaching and learning over video conference platforms, that technology can also remedy some of the difficulties of organizing student events.
What are some ways your school or organization is adapting to this upcoming remote semester? Please feel free to share your ideas below!
Tags: Student Events