Notre Dame Law community secretly raises thousands for students

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Notre Dame Law community stepped in to secretly raise thousands of dollars for their students.

The Father Mike Show and auction has been a long-standing tradition at Notre Dame Law School, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was canceled.

The Student Bar Association hosts the annual Father Mike Show and auction. Proceeds from the auction then go towards the Women’s Legal Forum, which supports funds for summer stipends. Those stipends are then given to between 8-12 women to support them while they do unpaid public interest work.

Recipients must also show that they are dedicated to the empowerment of women by attending events or lending a helping hand throughout the year to give back to the community.

“We were extremely concerned that we wouldn’t be able to have any money to offer people who have been working all year towards receiving the stipend in order to make the summer more affordable for them,” Rachel Palermo said, President of Women's Legal Forum.

The Notre Dame Law community stepped in by secretly organizing a GoFundMe page to raise the funds.

“Professors, it was staff members, administrators, everybody, administrative assistants, librarians, the whole community,” Richard Garnett said, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame.

On the same day of the annual auction, the Women’s Legal Forum found out it had raised over $12,000 in just a few days, which is on the high end of what the group usually raises.

“I was totally surprised that they had been raising this money,” Palermo said.

Professor Richard Garnett, on the other hand, said that he would not expect anything less from the law community.

“I was pretty confident that once the word got out that, you know, the show wasn’t happening and that there was this need…I felt pretty sure that people were going to step up,” Garnett said.

“I think that providing the stipend program this summer is important more than it ever has been before,” Palermo said.

A lot of students are facing financial uncertainty right now, according to Palermo.

“And so receiving that email that stated that the professors had secretly been raising the funds for us meant a lot and we’re very grateful,” Palermo said.

Thanks to the students, Notre Dame Law is an inspiring educational community, according to Garnett.

“It’s no demand on us to try to give back a little bit because of this disease,” Garnett said.

“It boosted our morale in a different way and I think it still showed us that even though we’re spread across the world right now we’re still a community and we’re very grateful for that,” Palermo said.

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