BY ALICIA FEYERHERM
Image: Criminal Justice Club President Johnny College welcomes students to the first meeting of the semester. Criminal Justice Club meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Rarick Hall 155.
FHSU’s Criminal Justice Club met Tuesday for their first meeting of the semester.
Criminal Justice Club meetings are on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Rarick Hall 155. To become a member, students must complete the Membership Request form and pay $20 in dues by Sept. 13.
“We’re a big family and we have a ton of fun together,” President Johnny College said.
The club hosts many activities throughout the year. From helping with security at community events to ugly Christmas sweater contests, the group keeps a mix of business and fun.
“It’s all about balance,” Vice President Storm Flores said. “There’s very serious stuff that should be taken seriously, but we also know how to have fun.”
Criminal Justice Club Advisor Tammy Lynn said joining the club also helps build connections to other opportunities.
“You get access to things that a lot of the other Criminal Justice Majors don’t,” Lynn said. “When we have opportunities for internships or Kansas Highway Patrol Collegiate Academy, we’re coming to you first to fill those slots because we know you.”
Morgan Steele, another Criminal Justice Club Advisor, emphasized the importance of getting involved. When Steele was getting his undergraduate degree at Purdue, he joined the Forensic Science Club. Through that involvement, he landed an internship with ATF in Chicago, which got him into graduate school – which was fully paid for – and helped him get a job during graduate school.
“You’re competing against the other 200 people in the Criminal Justice Program,” Steele said. “You have to build beyond and stand out.”
Those within the club are also invited to join the American Criminal Justice Association – Lambda Alpha Epsilon chapter (ACJA-LAE). To join, students must be a criminal justice major or minor, actively participate in Criminal Justice Club activities and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Members must also pay $40 for dues.
As a member of ACJA-LAE, students are eligible to compete at regional and national competitions. This year, regionals will be in Warrensburg, Missouri and nationals will be in Louisville, Kentucky. The Club helps cover costs.
“For example, when we went to Baltimore, the actual cost per student was about $1700,” Lynn said. “Students only paid $400 to go and that was leaving on a Saturday and coming back on a Saturday.”
Competitions consist of many different categories including written exams over Corrections, Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice Police Administration.
“It sounds intimidating, but you take all of these classes about corrections and all that so you’re prepared,” Club Treasurer Zoe Buffington said.
Individuals also compete in crime scene investigation, firearms and physical agility. Scholarships are also available and multiple club members won $400 scholarships last year.
The trip also serves as a group bonding time.
“I’m a pretty introverted person,” Buffington said. “I didn’t like anybody. I didn’t want to get to know anybody, but then you go on the trip and you’re with these people the entire time and you get to know them very well. It’s just a fun group of people.”
Project Coordinator April Wayne reiterated how much of a family the group is.
“We’re just a bunch of crime nerds and we love each other,” Wayne said. “I can’t describe it any other way.”