Every law school has its own SBA, otherwise known as the Student Bar Association. Members of the association are elected by their peers. SBA is best known for its weekly bar reviews as well as the big semester events they plan, such as Fall Ball and end-of-year parties. Essentially, drinks and parties.
I didn’t start my law school journey at NYU. I did my 1L at a small school in rural Virginia, and one piece of advice I had received from my professor-mentor was not to join SBA. Because of the size of that school, its SBA was mainly responsible for planning two large parties each year (i.e., Barrister’s Ball) and smaller social events. My professor had urged me to refrain from joining SBA because (1) it would distract me from 1L studies and (2) SBA was mostly a party-planning committee, unlike undergraduate student governments in which various student groups would propose and implement changes on campus.
I heeded my professor’s advice and did not join SBA during my 1L year. In fact, I didn’t join SBA until this year, as a 3L. One of the primary reasons I finally decided to join SBA was that I noticed how different NYU’s SBA is. The difference, I think, lies largely in the size of NYU Law, the way NYU values its student governments, and how NYU brings together the various student governments across all their schools (e.g., Tisch, undergraduate, medical, dental).
First, the size of NYU Law’s student body means that the size of SBA is significantly greater. SBA’s 22 members are divided among various committees (Graduation, Apparel, Facilities, Diversity and Inclusion, Financial Aid, Academic and Community Service). Second, NYU Law is very receptive to SBA. Last week, various members of the administration, ranging from the dean to the dean of student life to housing and facilities administrators, met with SBA to discuss ongoing projects and steps to push committee agendas forward. Not only does the administration encourage students to propose initiatives, but the administration is also eager to help facilitate those initiatives and bring them to fruition. One recent SBA proposal that has been successfully implemented, with the help of the facilities staff, is to increase the availability of feminine hygiene products in Law School bathrooms. Third, the SBA president meets with all the presidents of the various NYU student governments throughout the semester, which helps to connect the different parts of NYU.
The support structure and, most important, the receptivity and encouragement to make NYU better are major elements of what compelled me to join SBA. At NYU, the SBA is more than a party-planning committee. SBA is a forum for student groups to seek funding and for all students to be heard. Joining SBA was one of the best decisions I made here, and I encourage anyone who’s seeking to make a difference at NYU—and to see that difference—to join, too.