UCLA School of Law has named students Sasha Novis and Luis Vasquez the inaugural winners of the Skye Donald Spirit of Community Award, recognizing their demonstration of integrity, generosity and a focus on the well-being of the law school community. The award provides scholarship funds to support the honorees' legal education.
Novis, a 2L, has led and participated in numerous volunteer efforts in support of immigrant justice. In January of 2017, after President Trump issued his first travel ban, Novis worked with a team of students to assist pro bono attorneys at LAX by providing supplies and rallying others to join demonstrations against the ban. After the ban was challenged successfully in court, the administration dropped its efforts to enforce it. Novis later helped form a new student organization, UCLA Law Students for Immigrant Justice. In the summer, Novis worked with Professor Ingrid Eagly to organize and fundraise for a group of students who traveled to a federal detention center in Dilley, Texas, to help women and children seeking asylum in the United States.
As one of her nominators wrote, Novis "makes clear through her words and deeds that she wants to bring people together."
Vasquez, also a 2L, has volunteered in multiple roles while at UCLA Law. In 2017 he served as summer law clerk at the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project, contributing to a successful effort to reform California criminal laws that discriminated against people living with HIV. He also has volunteered with the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project's Debtors' Rights Workshop, helped feed people at the Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles, and serves as the UCLA Law student body's first elected diversity officer.
A nomination submitted for Vasquez cites his "integrity, generosity, and commitment to the well-being of others."
The Skye Donald Spirit of Community Award and Skye Donald Memorial Fund were created in memory of late lecturer in law Skye Donald, an extraordinarily talented lawyer and UCLA Law teacher who brought out the best in her students and people around her. Nominations for the award can come from any member of the UCLA Law community, including students, staff and faculty. A faculty committee reviews all nominations and makes award selections.