I am encouraged and comforted each day as I stroll about our diverse, yet integrated landscapes of academic life at the University of La Verne. Each week reminds me that the work we do is important and relevant to the future. For this, I am blessed.
It is inspiring to witness our students share and live our mission. When we live and breathe our underlying values of life-long learning, ethical reasoning and decision-making, diversity and inclusivity, and community and civic engagement, we create experiences vibrating with educational magic and growth.
These vibrations fuel an impactful La Verne Experience that makes lasting transformational differences.
I have witnessed this as a professor of law, economics, and statistics; as a co-director of the La Verne Experience; and now as an associate dean. And while I could share with you pages of anecdotes, let me share one of my most recent observations that has impressed me with optimism and hope.
Despite the polarization that is plaguing the public discourse and haunting our communities, our students and faculty have found ways of building bridges that nurture the many core values for which our university stands. Twelve College of Law students took the OneJustice Bus to Bakersfield, Calif. on March 7.
The OneJustice program, which has been around for more than 30 years, brings attorneys and law student volunteers to rural and isolated areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians. It helps veterans, senior citizens, disabled children, immigrants, and more.
OneJustice shares our mission in that it builds champions of social justice. Our students helped more than 20 disenfranchised residents who sought revisions to their criminal records under California Proposition 47, which reduced non-violent crimes to misdemeanors.
The students returned transformed and empowered. Their shared experience was real and raw. It demonstrated that the rule of law has important implications and consequences; that it can both positively and negatively impact the lives of our fellow citizens; that it can serve and protect; and that it can marginalize and oppress.
Our students came home realizing that the law indeed matters, and within our system of justice, all of our dreams and aspirations are at stake. Perhaps most importantly, they realized that they have the potential and responsibility to make a meaningful difference.
At the University of La Verne, difference making is our legacy. And I am happy to be a part of it.