The Pledge for the Public Good: A Student-Led Initiative to Incorporate Morality and Justice in Every Classroom
22 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 49 (2016)
59 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 11, 2016
“The first thing I lost in law school was the reason I came.” Many students arrive at law school with intentions to dedicate their careers to supporting others, but unfortunately, this becomes their reality. To reverse this tide and integrate public interest ideals into the entire law school curriculum, the Chancellor’s Scholars at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law developed the Pledge for the Public Good. The Pledge asks faculty to make explicit connections to the public good in their classrooms. In the inaugural year, over sixty full-time professors signed on. This article, written by a faculty member and student, tells the story of the Pledge – why it is needed, what it looks like, who was involved, and how we made it happen. Aiming to build a wave of student activism around increasing awareness of the public good, we also provide steps for others to enact something similar at their institutions. Public interest law should no longer be the little engine that could. Whether students intend to be lifelong advocates or dabble in pro bono, exposure to issues of morality, justice, and service early on and continuously shapes their mindsets. The Pledge for the Public Good is one way to help them embark on that journey.
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