Student Chapter Spotlight

Rutgers-Camden: Animal Shelter Blanket Drive

The Rutgers University School of Law-Camden Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter was nothing more than an empty space on the Student Organization bulletin board when Amanda Nordstrom and her 1L classmates arrived on campus in Fall 2006. The group had long fallen inactive, all its former members gone and graduated, with no one left to lead the way… but not for long.

Nordstrom came to law school determined to study animal law and find other like-minded law students, and so she wouldn’t let this small bump in the road stop her. She saw the need for leadership and reorganization and so she took up the challenge. After a few months of emails, paperwork, and talks with the administration, the group was up and running again, better than ever!

Since its official first meeting in late September, the Rutgers Camden Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter has been busy working on projects to benefit the local Camden County Animal Shelter. Members of the group attended the volunteer
training for the shelter, and have quickly become treasured members of the shelter’s volunteer team.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter volunteers also helped organize and staff the shelter’s “Halloweenfest,” a fall-themed adopt-a-thon and fundraiser, and helped make the event a great success.

The group also organized a Blanket Drive for the shelter, encouraging the law school community to bring their old sheets, towels, quilts, blankets, and comforters in to school to donate to the shelter. Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter volunteers posted signs, sent emails, and spread the word about the drive to encourage donations and help educate the community about the needs of their homeless furry friends right next door.

Volunteers tabled for two days in the lobby of the law school to collect blanket donations from students and faculty, and ended up collecting over two car-loads of donations for the shelter! The group also hosted a bake sale and sold shelter t-shirts and sweatshirts at the table and was able to raise over $200 for the Camden County Animal Shelter. The drive was a great success, and the shelter was incredibly appreciative for the group’s efforts to help bring some comfort and warmth to their homeless residents.

The Rutgers Camden Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter is not planning to slow down anytime soon, either. They have many events lined up for next semester, including a Dog-Fighting Teach-In and a special guest speaker event featuring Peter Young, an animal rights activist convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The group is also looking forward to helping local attorneys with legal research related to animal law issues.

Nordstrom encourages fellow law students at schools without Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters: “If you have a dream and you see a way to make it happen – go for it. If there isn’t a Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter at your school, start one yourself! Send out emails, talk to the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter and your school’s administration, and get the word out.

You will be surprised how many like-minded students come to the first meeting and the overwhelming support you’ll get from the community. Don’t wait for someone else to lead the group; take charge and become the leader your community needs.”

This spotlight was submitted by Amanda Nordstrom, Rutgers Camden Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter president.

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