Service Day Draws Record Number of Volunteers for Community Projects


By Julia Rafferty

Brooklyn Law's annual Service Day, a signature event hosted by the Public Service Law Center, saw a historic turnout this year, with 120 incoming 1Ls and returning student leaders volunteering across nine distinct community organizations, getting to know each other along the way.

Students rolled up their sleeves for the Aug. 25 event, eager to make an impact at partnering organizations including three Brooklyn and Manhattan food pantries: CHiPS in Park Slope, God’s Love We Deliver in SoHo, and The Campaign Against Hunger in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Other volunteers embraced the rainy Friday for hands-on work with Big Reuse at the Red Hook Compost Site and street tree cleanup at Borough Park Library. Joining the students was new President and Joseph Crea Dean David D. Meyer, who led a team of 20 students at the Prospect Park Alliance, contributing to the preservation work the alliance does for this cherished backyard for Brooklyn residents.

One volunteer group directed their efforts towards the One Love Community Fridge in Clinton Hill, a Brooklyn non-profit established in 2020 by Asmeret Berhe-Lumax. The organization focuses on increasing fresh food access through public refrigerators and health education. Group leader Alessandra Antuzzi ’25, said the students worked for three hours packaging 5,400 fresh eggs and preparing more than 500 sandwiches destined for the three One Love fridges and 25 other sites throughout Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan.

Antuzzi said her volunteering experience illuminated the scarcity of fresh food access in the city and the diverse sources of donations, ranging from restaurants to local businesses and grocery stores.

"It’s so easy to get bogged down and say policy is never going to change, but One Love was a reminder there is something you can do every day for your community." said Antuzzi.

For Antuzzi, her dedication to service fuels her aspirations for a legal career, connecting her to the community she hopes to serve one day.

“Your community is what helps you and sustains you as a lawyer,” said Antuzzi. “Every lawyer has their community to thank, so it’s important to me to give back when possible.”

Edward Jordan '24, a 4P student, led another volunteer group to Borough Park Library. Jordan, raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, attributes his passion for service to his mom's involvement in their church community. Jordan said Service Day was an avenue to communicate to incoming 1Ls his passion for service and the value Brooklyn Law places on community.

“It was a powerful experience to engage with the 1Ls and be of service to Brooklyn, the environment, and the community alongside them,” said Jordan. “There are many ways we can impact our community as lawyers, but there are also many ways we can have an impact through service- Service Day absolutely solidified that for me.”

Service Day also provided students with valuable opportunities for engagement and facilitated connections within the Law School itself. Leyna Reynolds '24, said she formed lasting friendships through the event during her 1L year and was determined to return as a leader.

“I have an appreciation for the event since I made so many friends, and friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise but I still am close with now,” said Reynolds. “It was nice that the 1Ls in my group had so many questions and it ended up being a great Q&A session where we got to pass on some guidance to ease their fears.”

Other incoming 1Ls agreed with Reynolds and said Service Day was a vital platform for building peer connections during orientation. Lucy Gottfried ’26 said that as an undergraduate during the pandemic, she missed out on such opportunities, making Service Day an even more meaningful experience.

“I really enjoyed meeting new people and I got to extend my circle before classes started,” said Gottfried. “My group leader gave us a ton of advice and tips while we volunteered together, and it was just nice to have an in-person event where I could meet people.”

Austen Fisher '24, while volunteering at CHiPS food kitchen, said he reconnected with why he pursued law school three years ago. He recognized Service Day as a unique chance to step back and engage with the community as an active member, not just a law student.

“When you’re wearing the lawyer hat sometimes it feels very distanced because it’s a privileged position to be in,” said Fisher. “So being able to literally go to the back, be in the kitchen and remember how impactful it can be to give back was valuable.”

Valerie Hanna '26, another participating 1L, highlighted Service Day's significance in her orientation experience and its role in setting the tone for her first year. In fact, Hanna is planning to return to independently volunteer at her Service Day site, The Campaign Against Hunger. She said the event was an important part of her early journey at Brooklyn Law.

“At Brooklyn Law, I’m not just a student, I’m also a member of the larger Brooklyn community, so I appreciate that this event was part of our orientation,” said Hanna. “It was a great way to end the week and a wonderful start to the new year.”