Marquette Wire

Alexander Hamilton Society provides forum for students to discuss politics, foreign affairs

The+Alexander+Hamilton+Society+in+2015.+Wire+stock+photo.
The Alexander Hamilton Society in 2015. Wire stock photo.

The Alexander Hamilton Society in 2015. Wire stock photo.

The Alexander Hamilton Society in 2015. Wire stock photo.

Jennifer Walter, Science & Technology Reporter

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Up and running for the past two years, the Alexander Hamilton Society offers a discussion-based experience to students interested in politics and foreign affairs.

The organization is a national society that has chapters on about 50 college campuses throughout the country. Grant Baker, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, serves as president of Marquette’s AHS chapter.

“A lot of people, when you ask them about politics, will tell (you) all about different domestic issues but they don’t really know what’s going on in the world,” Baker said.

The organization aims to educate students about issues outside of the United States. At meetings, guest speakers discuss topics that pertain to foreign affairs. They elaborate on topics in a discussion panel, followed by a question and answer session with the students.

“Each event is kind of like a crash course,” Baker said. “You learn a lot.”

The discussion material is specific and tackles current issues, such as the growing tension between Russia and Ukraine. The organization plans to have its first event about China this October, to discuss its advances and aggression toward other countries in the world.

In addition to campus meetings, AHS students are invited to other larger events throughout the year. Baker received various opportunities to interact with some of the most powerful policymakers in the nation. At a convention in California, he met the head of the National Security Agency, various former Secretaries of Defense and the head of the FBI.

“It lets you have a real connection with what’s actually going on in international affairs and politics,” he said. “It’s not just something you’re reading out of a textbook anymore.”

While many of the students involved in the society are economics or political science majors, anyone is encouraged to join. Due to the dense nature of discussion, the society offers a chance for students to learn about important topics without dedicating too much time.

“Students who are interested in some of the most important issues of contemporary public policy-and have an open mind to hear a variety of points of view-will find the AHS an excellent way to learn about and engage with these issues on campus,” said Paul Nolette, AHS’ faculty adviser, in an email.

Baker said the society offers a clear path to follow the Jesuit tradition of improving one’s self. By becoming informed through discussion, he said the average student can broaden their horizons in a political nature-valuable for writing a paper in history class or voting in the next presidential election.

“The long-term goal of the AHS is to promote constructive debate and discourse concerning basic principles and contemporary issues in foreign, economic and national security policy,” Nolette said in an email.

The society has an open-house date tentatively set for Sept. 22 in the Alumni Memorial Union.

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