by Kéran Billaud
The UF Law Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program is doubling its enrollment this year and expanding to new work locations. The program plans to raise money for 30 student spots this week with tours and gifts from the Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville.
One of ASB’s major selling points is the legal experience that students gain in a variety of legal fields while networking, according to Jasmine Brito, executive chair and 2016 Immokalee ASB participant.
“Students also learn the importance of access to legal services by working with organizations dedicated to serving low income and underrepresented communities,” Brito said.
Program founders Ben Silva and Marisol Silva set up locations last year in Jacksonville and Immokalee, Florida. With a committee of seven students now, ASB has expanded from these two locations to include Orlando, Florida; Miami, Florida; and Dilley, Texas.
At each site location, participants will work with legal aid offices and/or non-profits in order to help those who cannot afford private legal help, as well as engage in community service. ASB organizers will pick site leaders, so that students can get a smaller leadership role that may eventually turn into something larger next year. Additionally, ASB provides opportunities to network with practicing lawyers and UF Law alumni.
“The experience helped me look at issues outside the class room and further helped me talk about my pro-bono work to potential employers,” said Niraj Thakker, a 2016 Jacksonville ASB participant.
Swamp Head tour tickets are on sale this week for $5 per person on Wednesday and Thursday in the Marcia Whitney Schott Courtyard and again Thursday evening at the brewery for the tours at 7:30 and 8 p.m. The tours include a commemorative glass filled with one with of the five year-round beers and a raffle ticket to possibly win an exclusive Swamp Head gift basket. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased for $1 each.
Cate Nowak, executive chair and 2016 Jacksonville ASB participant, noted that ASB is an amazing way for students to see if they want to work in the public sector or do pro bono work.
“The program not only allows students to gain legal experience working with real clients, but also be apart of something larger: helping people resolve legal matters and regain control over their lives,” Nowak concluded.
You may also sign up for the ASB program here: Sign-up sheet.