I first found out about President’s Society through my fellow Resident Assistants sophomore year. They were members of President’s Society that year and these seniors had name tags and prestigious blazers that were different from any other student organization that I have seen on campus. That alone was enough to pique my curiosity for the Society.
I had gone on to learn that President’s Society, in summary, is a group of twenty or so students (out of the 3,400 undergraduates on campus) carefully selected at the end of their junior year by the preceeding Society members and University President Garvey to function as representatives of the entire student body. Members of President’s Society are the best of their class and truly represent what it means to be a member of the Cardinal community. Selected students are then called in for an interview with the existing members and administration. Students who are accepted into President’s Society are expected to clock three hours per week their senior year in President Garvey’s office. Headquartered in Nugent Hall, seniors help out with the day to day activities of the University’s executive offices and gain a glimpse as to what the University president’s daily duties entail. Additionally, President’s Society members are expected to assist in events that happen across campus that can sometimes include hosting high-profile guests. Though the position is voluntary, the friendships I have made working in the President’s Office this year are invaluable as is the experience. The staff in Nugent Hall love to talk to the Society members to keep up to date with aspects of campus life which are out of reach from an administrative point of view, including social life on campus, and members are able to provide feedback that would otherwise go unheard. With staff that have been with the University for fifteen plus years, it is interesting to hear how the campus has changed throughout the years, both physically and socially.
At first when the applications were emailed to all of the junior class, I had decided to apply to President’s Society because it carried a certain level of prestige. But in reality, it means more than just prestige. It’s a different level of service to community. As an RA, I already had been impacting campus directly helping my peers. Now as a member of President’s Society, I have a different role. I am serving the CUA student community by being a representative of it, to offices throughout campus but also to those outside of CUA.
When the Board of Trustees comes to campus, it is part of the Society members’ responsibilities to assist throughout their visit. During the most recent convening of the Trustees, I was asked to participate in an interview that Cardinal Dolan was doing from CUA’s very own radio broadcasting room here on campus. It was an opportunity I could not pass up! I, along with one other member of President’s Society, was part of an interview where Cardinal Dolan asked us about how we think Catholic has shaped us, how my faith plays into the college experience and the education that I am receiving, and whether we feel prepared to enter the working world upon graduating. It was an experience to remember! Cardinal Dolan’s radio show is followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of Catholics country-wide on Sirius XM radio. To have the opportunities to represent myself, my peers, and also The Catholic University of America to people that may not have ever heard of it, was something I was proud to do!
No other student organization on campus allows you to be as connected with the University than President’s Society. From the more light-hearted task of getting to walk Gus, the Garveys’ dog (a coveted experience across campus) to being radio interviewed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, President’s Society has allowed me to contribute to my school in a unique way. There are many different opportunities that come with working in the President’s Office, all of which make President’s Society a privilege to be a part of my senior year. Plus, it’s pretty awesome that President Garvey writes a personalized letter on my behalf to a job or graduate school in appreciation of my service through President’s Society!
Joe is a Senior Civil Engineering major from Brooklyn, NY. In addition to participating in President’s Society, Joe is also a Resident Assistant, a Cardinal Ambassador to the Office of Undergraduate Admission, and a member of Student Government.