May 19, 2008
Graduation 2008 and The Katrina Class
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

Maryland's graduation was this past Friday. I must admit that I really enjoy being a part of the ceremony. In particular, I enjoy meeting the family members of students and seeing their pride and joy. This year, in her welcome remarks, our dean reminded everyone that the 2008 graduating class began their first year in law school during the same period that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast--August of 2005. Obviously that period gripped our nation, and served as a defining moment for many people in many different ways. Like many students around the country, Maryland law students sought out ways to help. Thus, Maryland students established the Maryland Katrina and Indigent Defense Project. Since its inception, students participating in the Project have taken periodic trips (often over Spring Break or Winter Break) to the Gulf Coast to help with the rebuilding efforts. Moreover, students helped organize the Student Hurricane Network, an organization that works with law students and administrators around the country to create and coordinate volunteer opportunities in the Gulf Coast for law students, in an effort to respond to some of the many legal issues that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Hence, in addition to helping with rebuilding, students work with local entities to assist with some of the legal issues impacting people in the Gulf Coast. To be sure, there are many important events taking place in the country and the world that impact our students and to which our students respond in a positive way. But it was important to remind ourselves that this class of students not only sought to make a difference in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, but also found ways to use their developing legal skills to make a difference.

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