When Nick Hafen, ’19, invited a representative from Encircle, a Provo-based resource center for LGBTQ individuals and their families, to speak on a civil rights panel, he didn’t realize the impact it would have on his law school experience. Since then, Hafen has led positive efforts to connect BYU Law students with the Encircle community. These efforts have included volunteering to help clean the Encircle home, hosting a lecture with attorney Chris Warton who specializes in the LGBTQ arena, and meeting with youth and program directors at Encircle to understand the challenges the organization faces and how BYU Law students can help.
“The thing that drew me to Encircle is that their mission really seems to be about teaching people and reminding them that the members of the LGBTQ community are people too,” Hafen said.
Getting proximate to a vulnerable class of people who may not be able to afford legal assistance, reminded Hafen of the reasons he came to law school and inspired him to work toward establishing a clinic that would address LGBTQ issues. Hafen has involved other law students in all of his efforts to ensure the relationships and support for Encircle continues after he graduates.
“What I really hope is that people will question some assumptions they have about what the law school or its students believe, what they’re willing to do, and who they’re willing to help. I really hope that people will look to BYU Law as a resource and a see it as a place where they can get help,” Hafen said.