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Community volunteering: REELS members make a difference in Tulsa

Many University of Tulsa College of Law student organizations provide service opportunities and events that affect the communities around them. The Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Society — REELS — is one of them.

REELS is comprised of 50 TU Law students. The society enables students to learn from one another and faculty members. It also offers numerous networking opportunities. REELS members typically focus a portion of their coursework in the intensive energy, resources and environmental curriculum offered at TU Law and graduate with a certificate or LLM in Sustainable Energy and Natural Resources Law (SERL).

In 2018-19, the president of REELS is Carly Kidner. According to her, membership in REELS allows students to become knowledgeable about various opportunities in the field, including scholarships, conferences and a mentorship program. One of Kidner’s favorite parts of being president of REELS is getting to connect with the incoming 1L class, especially the students who have recently joined her society.

Community volunteering

Kidner also emphasizes the importance of community service and volunteering, and she encourages REELS members to volunteer for causes and with organizations about which they are passionate. Kidner herself volunteers at the American Therapeutic Riding Center in Sand Springs, preparing horses for lessons, leading them through the lessons and aiding the riders. Her personal goal is to become a certified Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) instructor and, eventually, open a riding center.

REELS members also spend time volunteering as a group. Over the last few years, for example, REELS has found a place volunteering at the Kids Zone during the Tulsa Greek Festival and at Murdock Villa.

Murdock Villa birthday celebrations

Murdock Villa is public housing apartment complex in Tulsa for residents with physical disabilities. Its residents are very familiar with TU Law students, because each month for the past decade various TU Law student organizations have helped bring joy to this community by sponsoring a birthday party.

Murdock Villa 10th-anniversary birthday party celebration
Volunteers at the Murdock Villa 10th-anniversary celebration

January 25, 2019, marked the 10-year anniversary of these celebrations. On that brisk Tulsa day, the complex’s common space was decked out in a “winter sparkle” theme and filled with laughter and smiles.

Over the course of the decade’s 120 parties, at least 26 TU Law student organizations have participated in running the event. Louise Lindsey, retired TU Law associate director of the Mabee Legal Information Center, has seen the parties flourish and attendance increase as more law students have joined the affair. “This was supposed to be a one-month project,” she reflects. “Ten years later it’s still happening because of the enthusiasm of the students.”

Law students and alumni at Murdock Villa celebration
TU Law students and alumni volunteering at Murdock Villa

The two TU Law student organizations that helped sponsor the January 2019 party were REELS and ELJ (Energy Law Journal). REEL’s Kidner says, “I enjoy spending time at these monthly birthday parties because of how fulfilled I feel while looking around the room at these smiling residents and seeing the involvement of our organization.”