As pandemic restrictions lift, Saint Louis University School of Law students, faculty and staff have been excited to hold events again. On April 19, 2022, the first-ever Unity Dinner proved that the law school community was eager to come together.
Encouraging students, faculty and staff to stop by the 12th floor for a meal, the dinner brought in more than 100 attendees and showcased student excitement for future in-person events. Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Jean Pierre Bonnet-Laboy (‘18) worked with Student Bar Association Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Hailey Hearty (‘22) to organize the meal.
“It was good to see everyone come out and just be able to have that open space of social interaction,” Hearty said. “It was one of the first big events that has been able to happen since COVID-19. It was nice to see the student community really come together."
The Unity Dinner allowed students to grab a plate on the way to class or to stay and mingle with others. Student organizations were encouraged to research restaurants and request meals to share with SLU LAW attendees. Dishes came from local eateries such as Murray’s Catering, Mom’s Soul Food Kitchen, The Sweet Divine and Sultan Mediterranean.
“We had each of the [student] organizations find a couple restaurants or a restaurant with a couple dishes that related to their affinity and tried to showcase the culture of the students we have in house,” Hearty said.
The participating organizations included the Asian American Law Student Association, Black Law Students Association, First Chair Society, Hispanic and Latinx Law Students Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, the LGBTQ+ law student organization entitled the OUTLaws and the Women Law Students' Association.
Although Hearty is graduating, said she feels excited about the upcoming SBA, the recently uplifted morale of SLU LAW student organizations, and the future for events and activities at the law school.
While this was SLU LAW’s first Unity Dinner, there have been previous events with the similar intention of an all-affinity gathering. ‘Friendsgiving’ is one of these events, held in November as a Thanksgiving-like celebration. With the success of the Unity Dinner, there is a good chance of seeing similar events in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.