Toccara Nelson '19
Hello everyone! My name is Toccara Nelson, and I am your new Secretary for the Student Bar Association here at the University of Virginia School of Law. I’m originally from Detroit, and I attended the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) for undergrad before coming to UVa Law. I am active in many organizations here, including the Black Law Students Association, Lambda, Women of Color, and Libel. I will serve as a Virginia Law Ambassador next year, taking prospective students on tours of Law Grounds. Currently, I am a 1L Co-Chair for the Admitted Students Open House Planning Committee, along with my friend Robbie Pomeroy. By the way, we are looking forward to having an amazing Open House this weekend.
The position of SBA Secretary is one that is centered around communication. Some of my duties include taking minutes for our SBA Meetings; distributing the Law Street Journal to students, faculty, and staff; managing the events calendar for our numerous student organizations; and updating the SBA Website. My goal is to make sure our student body is informed about the events and initiatives offered by the Law School, so that students can take advantage of all that UVa Law has to offer.
When the Secretary position opened up, I saw an opportunity to contribute and further serve this law school. As members of the SBA, we are charged with representing the interests of the Law School student body in our interactions with the administration, faculty, staff, and the larger University of Virginia community. Through my affiliations with several student organizations, I have built amazing connections with a large number of student leaders. I felt that if I became SBA Secretary, I could use those connections to obtain meaningful feedback from students about their concerns and feelings regarding UVa Law. UVa Law is special place, but in order to maintain and improve the quality of our community, the voices of students cannot be ignored. I also felt that my status as someone possessing numerous marginalized identities would help better engage students from such demographics to become more active in sharing their concerns about UVa Law, so that these students won’t feel like their voices and concerns are swept away in the law school rush.
I aim not only to bridge the gap between students and the SBA, but also between students of different organizational affiliations. Through our SBA calendar and this column in The Law Weekly, I hope to encourage more collaboration between organizations. As far as the SBA goes, I will increase the amount of transparency and openness of communication among the student body. I aim to expand the scope of the "Say Hey, SBA" program, spotlighting the work and initiatives from our many SBA Committees. I also plan to reformat the SBA Calendar to be more accessible to students and to collaborate with Peer Advisors to elicit more 1L participation and feedback regarding school-wide issues. I am going to engage in more grassroots coalition building between the SBA and the student body. Whatever concerns you all have about the law school community, feel free to come to me about them. It is an honor to be elected as UVa Law’s next Secretary for the SBA. Thank you for electing me, and I am excited about what’s to come for the next year!