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Wayne Law students launch 313 Project to aid public service, revitalization, charity efforts in Detroit and surrounding communities

January 27, 2010




DETROIT (Jan. 27, 2010) – Wayne State University Law School students are proud of their community. Ask any of them and they will most likely tell you it was one of the major draws in enrolling at Wayne Law. Wayne Law students see Detroit and its surrounding communities as a place of great fortitude and immense opportunity. That’s why, after growing tired of negative press and negative attitudes directed at the city, a number of Wayne Law student leaders came together to create the 313 Project.

The 313 Project was formed in fall 2009 by board members from the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA). Its mission is to collaborate with organizations in and beyond the Law School to aid in public service, revitalization and charity efforts in the Detroit area.

“The 313 Project emerged at a great time,” said Aisa Villarosa, a second-year law student who serves as president of APALSA and was among 10 Wayne Law students to receive a Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2009. “There's so much negativity cast on Detroit. We wanted to focus on the hope and resilience of the city. What better way to get involved than by working with the community?"

The 313 Project has already made a significant impact in the community through a number of events, projects and fundraisers.

Through “Tamales & Dimsum: A Charity Bake Sale,” the Project raised more than $500 for three Detroit organizations including: La Vida, an organization focused on addressing domestic violence in the Latino community; Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote-Michigan, a nonprofit/nonpartisan organization dedicated to translation services and voter protection; and Detroit City Love, a city revitalization and urban renewal project. Evie’s Tamales, a Detroit-based business, supported the Project by donating to the event.

“The Asian & Pacific Islander American community in the Detroit area often is overlooked in terms of growing issues and needs across various ethnic groups and across the region,” said Stephanie Chang, the APIA Vote-Michigan chair. “APIA Vote-Michigan is immensely grateful to Wayne Law’s Asian Pacific American Law Student Association for its fundraising efforts. Because the organization is so new and still growing, every dollar makes a huge difference in empowering the APIA community, one vote at a time and one census count at a time!”

The 313 Project has also been involved with the Detroit Adopt-a-Child Project, providing much need clothing and toys for seven children during the 2009 holiday season, and was part of the student group coalition that raised $1,400 for Haiti relief efforts through a bake sale at the Law School on Jan. 25, 2010.

Clearly, these Wayne Law students are committed to this endeavor. Already slated for 2010? Assisting 20 children in need through the Detroit Adopt-a-Child Project, another "Tamales, Dimsum & Soul: A Charity Bake Sale" to benefit the Haiti relief effort, and involvement in Detroit Reading Corps, through which members will pledge at least an hour of reading/tutoring time per week with two elementary students in the Detroit area.

"The 313 Project has proven highly successful in promoting diversity and public-outreach efforts here at Wayne Law and in the surrounding Detroit community, by building awareness of legal and social issues affecting our community,” said Erika Monfette, a second-year law student and vice president of HLSA. “We are extremely thankful for the substantial amount of assistance and support Wayne Law students, professors and lawyers have shown us in our efforts."

For more information regarding the 313 Project, please contact Aisa Villarosa at aisamv@gmail.com.

About Wayne Law
Wayne State University Law School has educated and served the Detroit metropolitan area since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit’s re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 30 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized and expert faculty, Wayne Law students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, are experts in their disciplines and include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit www.law.wayne.edu.



Photo 1: Dean Ackerman and Ollie Schmitt (2L) at "Tamales & Dimsum"
Photo 2: Aisa Villarosa, Erika Monfette (Vice President, HLSA), and Julianna Rivera (President, HLSA) at "Tamales & Dimsum"
Photo 3: Natalia Santanna (Treasure, HLSA), Yvonne London (Community Service Chair, BLSA), Erica Washington (President, BLSA), Erika Monfette, Julianna Rivera, Khalida Sims (Outreach Chair, BLSA), and Aisa Villarosa at Detroit Adopt-a-child at Cobo Hall

Contact:
Kristin Copenhaver
Communications Director
Office: (313) 577-4834
Fax: (313) 577-9016
kcopenhaver@wayne.edu

Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan