Justin Makuc '20, Professor Thomas Gottschang, Dr. James Carafano, Will Poplawski '20, Katie Romaine '22, and Emma Possenriede '20.
When Will Poplawski ’20, a political science major, learned about the Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS) during his sophomore year from Daniel Klinghard, professor of political science, he was immediately moved to action. The society, a non-profit, non-partisan student organization committed to principled U.S. leadership in global affairs and educating upcoming leaders about America’s role in the world, had a mission that resonated with Poplawski’s passion for political science, and he jumped at the opportunity to form a chapter of AHS on Mount St. James.
“I knew that to further Holy Cross’ mission, we should have a student organization solely focused on foreign policy, with the goal of educating students about our country’s role in the world,” recalls Poplawski. “After researching the group at Professor Klinghard’s recommendation, I realized this would be the fit to fill that gap on campus. AHS provides a platform for open and rigorous debate in pursuit of grounded truth, which directly aligns with our Jesuit identity.”
Poplawski interviewed with the national chapter headquartered in Washington, DC, and attended their Student Leadership Conference, which gathered chapter leaders from the over 40 chapters at other colleges and universities. There, Poplawski gained both resources to successfully run the chapter along with access to leading experts in the foreign policy and national security fields.
Once he returned to campus, Poplawski assembled a team of passionate and curious political science enthusiasts and set about growing the pool of interested students for the Holy Cross chapter. Poplawski and his team developed campus-wide communications, held open houses, hosted regular “discussion meetings” on various foreign policy topics and applied to become a Recognized Student Organization through the Office of Student Involvement.
Poplawski’s passion would pay off this past year, when, less than two years after its founding, the new Holy Cross Chapter won the Alexander Hamilton Society’s “Best New Chapter” award. The national organization lauded the Holy Cross chapter for “cultivating a broad membership base” and “gaining a prominent place in campus life.” The society also noted that the AHS speakers who had visited Holy Cross “applauded the chapter for its curiosity and passion.”
AHS speakers have included Dr. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, who spoke on the U.S. counterterrorism policy in the Middle East, and Dr. James Carafano from the Heritage Foundation, who participated in a debate event on the U.S.-China relationship.
“This chapter provides Holy Cross students with a space to engage in these conversations,” says Katie Romaine ’22, the group’s secretary and next year’s copresident. “The nonpartisan aspect of AHS allows students of all backgrounds and belief systems to come together and discuss what is best for the United States and our allies in the grand scheme of things. I hope that our membership base will continue to grow through the class of 2024.”
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