Cardozo is famous for its diversity: students are graduates of more than 130 universities from all around the world. This year, another gem was added to the great number of student-run clubs and associations representing a wide assortment of cultural traditions on campus. The name of this gem is RALSA.
RALSA – Russian American Law Students Association – is a very young organization. The group of 1L students, united by their Russian heritage, got together at the end of September, and in less than two weeks the club received its approval from the SBA. Kate Ulitskaya, 1L, one of RALSA founders, says that the process of establishing a student-run organization at Cardozo was a piece of cake: the guidelines were clear and the support was great. Solomon Suleymanov, 1L and RALSA President, shares Kate’s excitement: “I would like to express my gratitude to the SBA, its senators, Dean Diller, Dean Mender and everyone else who supported us in our efforts to found RALSA.”
After all the administrative necessities have been taken care of, RALSA is determined to bring more exiting opportunities to Cardozo. RALSA’s goal is to stimulate discourse on current issues facing the Russian American community—a vast topic that has yet to receive its deserved coverage at Cardozo. By organizing various networking and cultural events with a Russian flare, RALSA is hoping to build strong relationships with other community organizations, student groups and law practitioners, as well as to provide deeper insight into the lives of young Russian-Americans.
To kick-start an ambitious agenda, RALSA hosted its first Welcome Social Event on October 31st. Julia Gracheva, 1L, and Mariya Gelfond, 1L, RALSA representatives, spoke at length about future events the club intends to host. The list is extensive: a round table discussion with a tax law practitioner, an immigration law panel discussion, Russian language 101 course, and banyas field trips are just some examples of what is to come. There is definitely a demand for such activities. “I think that RALSA is a great idea with tremendous potential. Having never really been exposed to Russian culture before, I really hope to attain a deeper understanding and appreciation for it” says Robert Salame, 1L, who learned about the club on Facebook and has already become a member. RALSA is determined not to lose momentum.
The club is relying on social media tools to ensure maximum media coverage—a strategy many of Cardozo clubs are yet to employ. The club has a Facebook page that is open to everyone; a blog that covers topics relevant to Russian-American students; and a Twitter account that is a trending topic at Cardozo. The triangulation of social media allows maximum coverage of current and potential members, says one RALSA representative. It is also a great way to increase involvement of club members who are not on the committee, and to create a transparent and dynamic community.