More than 40 student organizations help build leadership at Stetson

Story by Valeria Obi

The Office of Student Life at Stetson Law oversees more than 40 student organizations on campus. These organizations assist law students in becoming effective leaders, encouraging students to participate in activities on campus and in the surrounding community through pro bono work, workshops and networking opportunities.

Students meet at the Student Organizations Fair on Sept. 21. Photo by Philip Hadley.

Students meet at the Student Organizations Fair on Sept. 21. Photo by Philip Hadley.

Within the past year, a few new organizations have been created and many have been revived after being dormant for several years. The Stetson Chapter of the Florida Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division and the Student Veterans Organization are some of the newest student organizations.  The Labor and Employment Law Association was created last spring.

The Part-Time Student Society, Performing Arts Society and Stetson Law Parents have reemerged as active organizations on campus. The Business Law Society, Education Law Society and Immigration Law Students Association have offered new programming.

The new Student Veterans Organization will present a program this semester for the college community about using military training to combat stress. U.S. Army Major Jeff Peppers and Sarah Siegrist, Staff Psychotherapist from Eckerd College Counseling Services, are scheduled to speak about proactive ways to prepare for periods of stress.

The Performing Arts Society, now known as the Arts Society at Stetson Law, was founded years ago but remained largely inactive for several years until it was reestablished by current student president Kevin Goertzen. The organization was founded in order to bring a balance to students’ lives and to serve as a predicate for their futures as attorneys.

“We want to encourage those with a passion for the law and the arts to strike a balance between the two,” said Goertzen. “The Performing Arts Society gives students the opportunity to start doing that now.”

Students take a break from studies for pizza and art on Nov. 16. Photo by Steven Lacks.

Students take a break from studies for pizza and art on Nov. 16. Photo by Steven Lacks.

Goertzen said that he also hopes to teach students how maintaining that balance helps everyone to learn artistic principles that can assist with the practice of law.

The Performing Arts Society just completed its first short film, entitled “Things Not To Do in Law School.” This is a humorous, satirical short film acted out by the student body at Stetson.

The group hosted a pizza and art-making party for students this semester. They have plans to host an arts show made up of law students and lawyers and judges in the surrounding community. They also plan to have Harvey Moore, owner of Trial Practices, Inc., come speak to the group.

The Stetson Law Parents organization was founded in January 2011 by students Bryony Swift and Colleen Williams. They founded this organization as a way to facilitate connections between students who are also parents.

“There are many student-parents who struggle to juggle kids with law school,” said Swift, who serves as the president of Stetson Law Parents.  “We believe that organization provides a way for student-parents to help each other out.  We also see it as a way to facilitate connections with other children.”

The Stetson Law Parents hosted a successful back-to-school family barbecue at the beginning of the semester. They hosted a fall family costume party for children on Nov. 5.

The Business Law Society, founded in June of 1997, has been reenergized under the direction of the current executive board, including vice president Mark Osborne. 

“Our mission is to foster improved coordination, better understanding, and mutually beneficial relationships between the local, state, and national business community and Stetson Law students,” said Osborne. “It is my belief that we have served our goal of making the Business Law Society relevant again and making our events beneficial to the student body.”

The Business Law Society has hosted Adjunct Professor Robert LeVine, a UCC expert and nationally recognized motivational speaker, and Carlton Fields attorney Nathaniel Doliner, the former American Bar Association Business Law Section Chair. The society held a networking event on Nov. 10 at the Tampa Law Center that included attorneys from in-house counsel and corporate law firms.

The Education Law Association was founded during the 2008-2009 academic year at Stetson. 

The Education Law Association participated in the Student Organizations Fair in September. Photo by Philip Hadley.

The Education Law Association participated in the Student Organizations Fair in September. Photo by Philip Hadley.

“The organization was founded to create awareness and educate the Stetson community about what education law is, why it is important, and how education law issues impact everyone,” said organization president Annaliese Bullock.

Recently, the Education Law Association invited the St. Petersburg College Office of General Counsel to come speak to the members of the organization. The group has plans to work with Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Higher Education to create more opportunities for student involvement. They are encouraging students to volunteer at Stetson’s annual National Conference on Law & Higher Education in Orlando in February.

The Immigration Law Society provides valuable educational and networking experiences to students interested in immigration law, connecting law students with immigration practitioners and government agencies.

“Our goal is to create a forum where students can gain a practical understanding of immigration law and give back to the immigration community,” said student president Haley Meher.

In the past, the Immigration Law Society has hosted Professor Stephan Legomsky, who wrote the text book currently used in Stetson’s Immigration Law class. The group also held an immigration law research workshop on Nov. 14. In the spring, they plan to have a networking dinner with prominent figures in immigration law. They also plan to visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Tampa.

For more information about student organizations at Stetson Law or information about how to start a new organization as a student, contact the Office of Student Life at