The popular adage “Students Helping Students” was never better demonstrated than at the recent California Western Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Silent Auction.
Announcing the new PILF record, Regina Calvario ’20, PILF Auction Chair, said, “I am excited to report that the PILF auction raised over $5,000 to help students cover Bar-related expenses! The students who will receive the grant awards have demonstrated an arduous dedication to serving the community by volunteering their time to public service.”
The purpose of PILF is to promote awareness among law students of the inequities that exist in the legal system and the need for commitment to public service work. PILF encourages students to work in public interest law by providing volunteer opportunities and scholarship funds.
Reinforcing the theme of students helping students, Shyam Patel ’21, current PILF President, outlined why the PILF Board changed the PILF Grant from the traditional Summer Grant to the PILF Bar Study Grant.
“We realized that students who were awarded these summer grants were unable to get full financial aid, and we did not think it was appropriate to inadvertently hurt students for being supporters of public interest law,” said Patel. “I think this has resonated with students and motivated them to help their colleagues by bidding at the Silent Auction.”
As well as supporting Bar prep, the PILF Auction theme this year celebrated diversity, focusing on multiculturalism and identity inclusivity at California Western. “We also wanted to recognize the passionate dedication of the invaluable faculty members, who throughout the years have helped multiple students from various backgrounds become successful attorneys,” added Calvario.
This commitment was on display as the faculty played an active role in the auction donating a variety of items ranging from a selection of beers and wines from around the world, to lunch with various professors.
One of the highlights of the auction was a Texas Barbeque for up to 12 people, donated by Professors Ken Klein and Lisa Black. The professors actually fly in barbeque from one of their favorite places in Austin, Texas, and only serve beer from the Texan Shiner Brewery, all to the strains of only the most excellent Texas Country Western music!
“Because Professor Black and I are from Texas, we see this both as a good cause and a teachable moment,” explains Klein. “We teach ‘em about real food, real music, and real beverages. We are thrilled with the generosity of money our students contribute to PILF by buying the dinner, and by the generosity of spirit they bring to having dinner at our house.”
Acknowledging that the PILF Auction is a unique experience at California Western, Professor William Aceves said it was inspiring to see the students work so hard to help their peers.
“Unlike other funding campaigns,” said Aceves, “this is a student-led effort that supports our students and, through them, our local community. The event was really successful, not only in the amount of money raised for our PILF students, but also in the active participation of so many students, staff, and faculty.”
Cory Schaller, Career Advisor at California Western’s Career and Professional Development Department and a staff lead in helping the students organize the auction, praised the current student PILF Board for their achievement.
“The PILF leadership team did a fantastic job in bringing this whole event together. Their enthusiasm and dedication to this organization for the benefit of other students is inspiring.”
On becoming PILF President, Patel’s vision was to reinvent PILF and introduce it to Cal Western as a changed organization. He feels the success of the Auction is testimony to the changes he and his Board are beginning to implement.
“Our dream is to make PILF one of the larger organizations on campus,” revealed Patel. “I think by us setting the foundation for this, PILF Board/members can continue growing PILF well into the future.”