From the Department of Criminology faculty members to any type of law enforcement, the Criminology Association is planning to host professionals who have worked in the criminal justice field in hopes that it will benefit their members with their future careers. The new club will begin in the fall of 2017 and will hold their inaugural meeting after spring break.
In the past, a criminology association similar to the one being started in the coming weeks has not always succeeded. Many students leave or transition so the club has not been able to keep up. Because the student body at UWG is growing and expanding, the new Criminology Association is hoping to maintain a successful club for years to come.
“Since we have about 600-700 majors now, we thought it would be a good thing to offer students and hopefully get them to want to stay involved, help them get jobs, or even a Master’s degree,” said Dr. Anthony Vito, Assistant Professor of the Department of Criminology and Faculty Representative for the Criminology Association.
The main purpose of the Criminology Association is to give criminology students the opportunity to meet professionals in the criminal justice field and create a way for them to gain experience in criminology outside of a classroom setting.
“The idea is that hopefully it will open doors to when we have guest speakers come in, so students will learn about jobs and also help others in terms of applying for graduate school,” said Vito. “Our goal is that it will help students when writing resumes to say, ‘I was involved with this club and here is what it did and how it helped me achieve my degree.”
While many plans are in store for the future, hosting guest lectures at the monthly meetings is one of the main events that will take place along with several other ideas for the Criminology Association.
“We plan to either have a faculty member present research or someone like probation parole, any sort of law enforcement, a judge, a lawyer, etc. to come in and talk about their experiences and what types of things the members should be getting involved in to help them with jobs,” said Vito. “Also, we plan to show documentaries with movie nights or even starting an informal book club to read and discuss non-academic books.”
Because the organization is planning to bring in professionals in the criminal justice field, members of the Criminology Association are taking advantage of the opportunity to advance their future careers.
“I was extremely fond of the idea that the organization could have a lawyer or an officer come talk to us about a personal experience they had or research conducted,” said Amber Rivera, a member of the Criminology Association. “To me, this plays a huge role in helping define what route most criminology majors want to take such as the corrections, social workers, or law.”
The association is created to be a student led organization. Students are expected to keep the organization running smoothly and incorporate their own ideas in ways such as deciding how meetings should be run along with offering suggestions and propositions as to how the club can move forward and improve.
“While I am the faculty representative of the association, we hope to keep the students as the ones who keep the organization running and I will just be there to answer questions and keep the transition going, so it stays around year-to-year,” said Vito. “We are relying more on students to be heavily involved and I will be more on an oversight.”
The Criminology Association has high expectations for student involvement within both the Department of Criminology and the College of Social Sciences. Furthermore, the association plans to advance through the many ideas created within the coming months.