“Hi, I’m Marlon. I don’t know if you remember me.”
This is just one of the greetings heard at a Law, Societies & Justice alumni reunion and silent auction in the Husky Union Building on Oct. 26. The event, hosted by the program’s alumni outreach committee, enabled graduates to mingle with their former peers and bid on items for the Stromberg Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides aid to LSJ students who wish to study abroad. Attendees contributed nearly $1350 through bids on such items as an alumni association membership, a University Book Store gift card and a number of restaurant gift certificates.
The room was packed with alumni, many of whom graduated in the last five years. The crowd also included some graduates of the LSJ program’s predecessor, Society and Justice. A number of current LSJ undergraduates were present, most of whom had studied abroad over the past summer in Amsterdam and Rome; they joined in to show support for the auction’s cause.
For the alumni, being back at school—especially in the newly renovated HUB—was a positive experience, but also a strange one.
“You feel old really fast,” said Doug McManaway, one of the event’s organizers, who graduated in 2010. Other alumni commented on how young the campus population looked; a few had even moved away from the University District because they felt out of place.
But the program still reached out.
Jill Salo Anderson, a 2008 graduate who works in the corporate world, comes to campus fairly often: about 15 times a year. She and her husband, David, were both at the event. For her, seeing “everything come together” for the event, which she helped organize, was a great experience.
“It’s good to see LSJ reaching out to people,” said David Anderson. Though he wasn’t an LSJ graduate himself, it was still enjoyable for him to meet and talk with those who were.
The room was full of people laughing, sharing stories and meeting up with old friends to the tune of some live jazz. Stories of nostalgia were shared alongside accounts of what the former students were up to in their jobs after graduating. Many LSJ faculty—Katherine Beckett, Rachel Cichowski, Michael McCann, George Lovell, Jamie Mayerfeld, Arzoo Osanloo and Jonathan Wender—attended as well, and students were able to pose questions to their former professors.
Far from a stiff event, the room was filled with people who appreciated being part of LSJ. A number of the attendees commented on the department’s connected nature, despite being a gateway to many different areas of work.
“It’s a big but small kind of field,” said Marlon Torres, who now works with fellow LSJ graduate CeCi Chiu as investigators for a public defense agency. “It talks about big ideas, but it’s a small community.”
The range of professions in which the alumni are employed is a broad one. There were several attorneys in the crowd, and a few others currently in law school. Others work for a range of organizations, including the Washington Bar Association, Crate and Barrel, Starbucks and the University of Washington itself.
It was an experience the professors enjoyed as well.
Professor and LSJ Director Steve Herbert was able to meet a number of his former students and learn of their successes. He also enjoyed becoming acquainted with some who had graduated in the 70s.
“It’s always fun to see our alumni and to learn what they’ve been doing,” he said. “And we certainly appreciate their enthusiasm for the program, and their obvious interest in assisting our current students, in part by ensuring the continued growth of the Stromberg Fund.”
This article was composed by Kristine Kim.