Club spotlight: AHS

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Alexander Hamilton Society members gather together after the “Is religious freedom in the Middle East possible?” event. Photo courtesy of Laura Koch.

What’s the relationship status of the U.S. and Russia? What should we do about North Korea? Are we doing enough to aid Syria in its bloody civil war?

The University of Dallas’ own Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS) hopes to thoroughly educate UD students on these pressing foreign policy issues and many more.

AHS is a national organization that hosts events on college campuses with the aim of educating students in the importance of American exceptionalism and launching them into policy careers.

Senior Dominic Del Curto serves as the president of UD’s chapter of AHS.

“[AHS] facilitates debate and discussion about public policy on college campuses,” Del Curto said. “AHS has speakers that are experts in their fields in academia, think tanks or actually most of them have actually worked in the government crafting foreign policy, and they travel to the chapters to debate or discuss with a professor on the policy.”

UD’s chapter of the AHS is one of nearly 50 chapters nationwide, with chapters at colleges including Hillsdale, Berkeley, Northwestern and Harvard.

UD’s chapter hosts two events every semester on current issues and policy proposals, followed by a 20 minute question and answer session. The topic for the next meeting is the Syrian Civil War.

Last semester, UD’s AHS started an event called AHS On Tap, where AHS invited one of UD’s history or politics professors to go to a local restaurant to discuss in depth current foreign policy issues.

Dr. Mark Peterson, UD history professor and an expert on Latin America, will be the speaker at the first AHS On Tap event of the year on Oct. 25. He will be talking about the recent developments in Latin America, specifically in Brazil and Venezuela.

“It’s much more informal,” Del Curto said. “It’s a professor a lot of UD students have probably had.”

In order to give underclassmen an opportunity to be involved in a more hands on way, AHS has recently opened up the junior officer positions. This year, there are two sophomores and a freshman serving as junior officers whose job is to assist officers with anything they need in order to get ready to lead when the upperclassmen graduate. Elections for junior officer will be open again in December.

Weekly meetings are held every Thursday in Gorman E at 6 p.m., and are open to any faculty or staff members who want to attend. During the meetings, an officer gives a short presentation on a current foreign policy issue, followed by a group discussion. Past topics have included DACA, North Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

So what’s so special about this club? What makes it different from any other debate club or class lecture?

“I think the most important thing about these events is the ability to take what you’re learning in the classroom, which to a lot of students may seem abstract, and see how things like Plato or Locke’s Social Contract Theory apply to today,” Del Curto said.

Additionally, AHS serves as a great networking tool for students who want to work in any area of public policy.

“Because we are bringing in speakers who are experts in their fields, they stay after and talk to the students, [and] a lot of them give them their emails,” Del Curto said. “It’s a great networking opportunity for students.”

“I think the club appeals to people who want to learn more about current events, and it gives them something to talk about outside the UD Bubble,” Junior Clare Basil, secretary of marketing for UD’s AHS, said. “My family hasn’t read Aristotle, but they are really concerned about what’s going on in the world and so to bring that perspective to the table I think makes AHS really important.”

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