Congrats to all my fellow VLSers—we are now the proud alumni of "a law school of a certain age." The 2013/14 academic year represents VLS' 40th anniversary. As many of us know, hitting that milestone brings with it a certain amount of introspection and reflection.
Part of that process includes looking at where we have been: VLS has graduated over 6,500 advocates, awarding JDs, Master's, and LLMs to alumni who now live and work in all 50 states, and almost 30 countries. We have graduates impacting our communities and our world, doing a broad range of work: in federal, state, and local governments; in private industry; in law firms large and small; in consulting; in non-profits; in NGOs; in every sector, industry, and subject area you could think of. Our strength lies, not just as Louis Pasteur said, in our tenacity, but most clearly in our incredible range of vision, geography and culture, and approach to problem solving.
Reflecting on where we have been also leads to reflection about where we should next head. As an institution, VLS continues to build on the diversity of its alumni, training the next generation of advocates and problem solvers. We are taking education and scholarship to a higher level—examining the hard issues that confront our country and our world, from our broad and multi-disciplinary perspective.
One of the many issues that VLS has committed to studying, food, is something many of us take for granted, something that is a struggle for others, and something intimately tied to almost every hot-button issue making headlines today. Having just finished the winter holiday season, we know that food brings us together, and yet it also pulls us apart. The VLS Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) will work to bridge those divides, to draw on the diversity of our many alumni, particularly those working on food and agricultural issues, and to directly tackle the many interrelated environmental, social, regulatory, health, immigration, political, and cultural issues tied up in that simple concept of "food."
I hope this issue of Loquitur gives you plenty of food for thought.
Karis L. North ’95, President
Vermont Law School Alumni Association
(Reproduced from Loquitur (Winter 2013/14))