At the beginning of this academic year, the Public Affairs Society (PAS) was non-existent. Dr. Justin Garrison, the faculty advisor, asked the organization to accomplish the renewal of the once great society. A task that would require vision, dedication, and a sense of teamwork.
On October 1st, 2015, a new chapter was adopted forming the first executive of board of a new era. The charter called for fostering interaction between students, faculty, and the community through civil thought, active engagement, and an exploration of our republic; all with the purpose of manifesting politically conscious and enlightened citizenry.
Since that moment, the Public Affairs Society has hosted post-lecture receptions for Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Claes G. Ryn. They have held an informative panel of professionals to discuss Drugs in the Valley, and hosted the keynote speaker of the year, Dr. Michael Federici. Not to mention, throughout the year the society held reading-based discussions on a variety of topics, from Abraham Lincoln to the modern police state. These events have undoubtedly added to the academic culture at Roanoke College, and serve as strong evidence why PAS will take home the Student Organization and Leadership “Outstanding Organization” award. I was able to catch up with a few of the members in regards to their thoughts on the success of the organization this year, and their plans moving forward.
Henry Bertrand, current treasurer of the Public Affairs Society, commented on the success the organization has seen so far this year. Bertrand said, “The Public Affairs Society was essentially dead at Roanoke College. All of a sudden, we were able to come up with some money in order to get some guest speakers come to the school. which rejuvenated the organization and got us back on our feet.” Bertrand stepped forward and became Treasurer, which played a key role in funding the events the Public Affairs Society hosted this year.
Emma Sliwinski, who is the current Vice President of the Public Affairs Society, said that it was a great honor to win the award, and she felt it embodied the motivation that the individuals in the society possess. She noted that, “We were really devoted to new ideas, bringing in amazing speakers, and just overall trying to move the organization forward. The Public Affairs Society has been struggling for quite some time, and we all collectively had a drive to not go back down that path.” Clearly, there are some ambitious individuals in the Public Affairs Society that certainly contributed to the success they had this year. Both Henry and Emma encouraged new members to join across all three majors. However, they were pretty adamant about new members carrying the same drive to keep moving the organization forward.
If it hasn’t become known on campus already, PAS opens avenues for individuals interested in enhancing the academic nature of the school, and represents an embodiment of individuals motivated to propel an organization to its full potential. They hope their success tells a story that will attract new, motivated, and ambitious members to tag along on the journey in the fall.