Hometown: Coppell, Texas
Joseph “Joe” Scholz is a name that can be noted across the University of Dallas campus. The student body has once again elected this widely known junior politics major to his second term as Student Government President. In Scholz’s most recent presidential campaign, the odds were against him, as he ran on a write-in ticket.
Scholz’s campaign on the UD campus, however, is not limited to his college career.
“My first memory at UD … was throwing paper airplanes from the bridge in Haggar with the Dougherty children,” Scholz recollected. “It goes way back there.”
Scholz remembered going to the Constitution Day dinners from a young age, as both his parents received their graduate degrees from UD. Scholz was homeschooled for much of his childhood though he attended the seventh and eighth grade at Coppell Middle School East.
It was in that first year of public school that Scholz’s career in politics began, as he was elected to a student government position.
Unlike the fleeting years of elementary school, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) continues to be a constant in Scholz’s life since his early childhood.
“I would say the common thread throughout my scouting experience has been service,” Scholz said. “The way for me that that’s taken form is camp staffing for sure.”
Scholz was grateful for the diversity of people he got the chance to lead and interact with, such as being the troop guide for scouts who were financially sponsored by the council, and for entirely Muslim scouting units.
This focus on service is something Scholz has carried into his transition to higher education.
However, that transition has not been smooth. During his second semester of freshman year, Scholz had to withdraw from the university on medical leave.
Upon returning to school, Scholz jumped into the UD rhythm. Scholz began participating in many areas around campus including UD Men’s Society, the American Public Philosophy Institute and lecturing and singing for the Church of the Incarnation (a challenge he placed on himself, having a stutter).
At the end of his first year back from medical leave, Scholz gained a position as a resident assistant. His first term as an RA was over May Term, where he only had two residents. His second go-round was also over the summer for the O’Hara chemistry program.
Scholz received the “RA of the year” award, though he was quick to shift the praise to his fellow RA in Madonna Hall, Tony Gomez, and all the young men with whom he’d spent that year.
Leading the rowdy group of 2018’s Madonna men wasn’t enough for Scholz, as he decided to switch from co-leading one residence hall to leading the student government body, representing the whole school.
After a short term as the junior class representative, Scholz ran and was elected to the student government presidency.
“I hopped in with both feet,” Scholz reported, recalling that in his first term as a senator, he was active on five different committees and very engaged with “SG on the mall.”
During Scholz’s 2019-2020 presidency, he helped to create a student-athlete position for more athletic representation in SG.
Additionally, Scholz spearheaded the student crusade to change cafeteria hours to encompass more student schedules.
This year, Scholz’s second presidential campaign faced a significant impediment. Unlike official candidates with their names and pictures on the ballot, Scholz put before himself the complicated task of winning the presidency on write-ins.
Scholz was originally unsure that he was able to fully commit to the presidency for another year. He had begun a full-time job off-campus after school had gotten out, and wanted to ensure that he had worked enough to take a leave of absence during not only his campaign but also during the academic year to fulfill this role. Because of this period of decision making, Scholz was not able to make it onto the official ballot.
Despite not having his name on the ballot, Scholz won against his sole competitor and was announced UD Student Government President for his second term on April 10.
“We’re here as a service organization as well as a communications organization. That service role requires a lot of honesty and a lot of care,” Scholz said of student government. “That’s something we’re going to continue developing next year.”
Scholz hopes to promote four main agendas on Student Council this upcoming year: sustaining community outreach, continuing to support student-athletes, deeply improved integration and developing a cohesive vision for SG programming.
Next year, he hopes that SG will promote UD’s “day of service” initiative, furthering the “heart of service that beats under the curriculum and the programs that we execute [at UD].”
He hopes to enhance UD’s external engagement with the community, and make UD’s arts and service more widely known. He also hopes to advance faculty-moderated, student-led panels discussing issues such as housing, health care, food insecurity and student loan debt.
After graduating, Scholz’s career path is undecided, but he is open to pursuing something in a political capacity, like campaign management, political advising, speech writing or writing public policy.
“I have other goals as well … I like working, I want to develop professionally, but I want to have a family without them being put through what can only be described as the ‘meatgrinder’ of American politics,” Scholz explained. “I’m figuring out where my priorities are, and there are forms that can take outside of formal politics.”
Scholz’s life reveals a common thread of service to his community, which is showcased through his rhetoric as a candidate and his conversations as a candid man.