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August 2023 Spotlight: A Community of Truth-Seekers

As the new academic year begins, a spirit of hope, appetite for knowledge, and readiness for challenge is palpable. The Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Office for Community Belonging operates as an extension of the overall vision of Dean Caron’s message, “We belong and pursue truth as one.” As such, our theme for this year is “A Community of Truth-Seekers,” because we know that truth, honesty, and authenticity are essential to nurturing a community where everyone belongs.

This theme is close to the heart of Ronnie Baruch, diversity chair for the Student Bar Association (SBA). “My first day of Launch Week in 2022 was an emotional rollercoaster. I still remember my stomach turning to look around the room and, for the first time, not being in a place where I knew I would find friends who speak my language, celebrate my holidays, and were raised the same way I was. I felt like a baby learning to walk and talk as I went through the week, and every day, I grew more wary that I would have to put my Israeli and Jewish identity aside for the next three years. As a 2L, I wish I could tell myself back then how lucky she is to attend Pepperdine, where she is never alone.”

Ronnie’s goal is that every student at Caruso Law finds their home at Pepperdine even faster than she did. “As the SBA diversity chair, I hope that each student will find their home at Pepperdine from the first day they set foot on campus. Community is not just about having people around you who are exactly like you but a space where people celebrate and uplift each other's differences.”

To Ronnie, being a community of truth-seekers means “we strive to be a nurturing ground for justice, honesty and sincerity. We aspire to seek truth together, to achieve harmony and a sense of belonging, collectively. It's also about being vulnerable and recognizing our growth areas and coming together to move forward and improve every chance we have. That is my dream for Pepperdine. I want us to always look within and ask, “How can we be better? How can we do better?” As diversity chair, I want to tackle these difficult conversations and work to find solutions that support our vision of being a community that is truly truth-seeking. While we are all striving to be excellent lawyers and come with an argumentative edge, I wish in this instance, for us to put that aside and come together to make Pepperdine a space that always adheres to truth and peace.”

We encourage every member of the Caruso Law community to join the Office of Community Belonging and Ronnie in taking small steps every day to pursue truth and live in a community where everyone belongs. That may be, like Ronnie, “encouraging students to bridge cultural gaps by sharing who they are, which enriches our diverse community,” attending events like the Open Conversations and Dean's Speaker Series, and participating in initiatives put forth by the Office of Community Belonging. Join us, as we seek truth and belonging together.