Donovan Kelly, Contributing Writer
The University of Dallas chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society is the newest addition to campus clubs and activities. The chapter is part of a national society which, according to its official website, “is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting constructive debate on basic principles and contemporary issues in foreign, economic, and national security policy.” Sophomores and co-presidents Benjamin Gibbs and Will Chavey founded the UD chapter of AHS. Both, as Chavey described, “saw a huge niche here at UD for what the national organization does.”
Among the most prominent aspects of campus life at UD are great conversations between students, covering sports, hometowns, theology and literature. One of the main goals of AHS is to add to those conversations. Dr. Jonathan Culp, the faculty advisor of AHS, commented that “there is a great hunger in the university community for informed reflection on current events, both at home and abroad” and that AHS “will help students (and faculty and staff) feed that hunger.”
“I think AHS is a great way to begin to exercise our education by thinking critically about public policy and the world that we are inheriting from older generations,” he said. “The society’s goals encompass a broad range of topic, so almost anything that pertains to public policy and international affairs pertains to AHS.”
AHS aims to do this by bringing in knowledgeable speakers from different universities and areas of expertise to give talks about current events.
As Culp explained, the chapter is able to do so because AHS “[provides] financial support to individual chapters so that they can bring to their campuses a wide array of experts from around the country to participate in debates about current issues.”
At the inaugural event of AHS at UD, which took place on Monday, March 25, Pepperdine University Associate Professor of Law Dr. Greg McNeal, an expert in national security law and policy, delivered a lecture titled “Kill-Lists and Accountability.” He defined kill-lists as lists, made by agencies such as the CIA, that target terrorists and top enemies of the U.S.
Junior English major Vallery Bergez greatly enjoyed the speech because “it was interesting hearing a legal approach to the use of drones and kill-lists not just from an experienced lawyer, but from an experienced lawyer who has been closely involved in the Armed Forces.”
The AHS chapter is seeking to host similar talks at UD in the future.
“The experts will lend a perspective that students won’t hear from their professors at their home institution,” McNeal said.
In addition, AHS is aiming to offer a unique opportunity for networking with its chapter organization and inter-university unity.
According to Chavey, AHS “has a stated purpose of trying to create a network of students and professionals, so hopefully it will bring some great lectures and debates to UD and also valuable connections from its two professional chapters and student chapters at Princeton, Columbia, Duke and other prestigious schools.”
Culp also suggested that connections made through the society will benefit one’s potential career.
“The society provides opportunities for networking that can help students make friends and discover career opportunities they otherwise might not be aware of,” Culp said. “Joining the society could change your life.”
The chapter is set to co-host its next lecture, given by a former George W. Bush chief of staff, some time toward the end of April. Details are forthcoming.