By: Shannon Smith
While the Criminal Justice Association has been around for a long time, it has not been very active recently. It was only until fall of 2010 that the CJA became more involved on campus when Professor Bob Hanson asked CJ major and current President Kelsey Sipple, then a sophomore, to jumpstart the club.
The Criminal Justice Association, an organization designed to help students develop their knowledge of the field of criminal justice, is a great tool to view firsthand of what future career routes and options are available to CJ majors, and these opportunities can definitely be seen through the various trips and activities in which the club participates.
In the past, the CJA has held such events as a simulation shooting program offered through Public Safety, a paintball excursion, and a trip to the Sault Ste. Marie locks in the winter semester of 2011 where the students were able to look at a career in border patrol. They often have had guest speakers, some of which include K-9 officers, public safety, and officers working in the correctional field of criminal justice.
The Criminal Justice Association has numerous events planned for the upcoming year, including volunteering at several events, tutoring at KI Sawyer, visiting different correctional facilities, and having guest speakers from the many fields of criminal justice involved throughout the school year. The CJA hopes to travel to both Marquette County Jail and Marquette Branch Prison once each semester.
With a current membership of approximately 12-15 actively involved students, the CJA hopes to expand its membership, mainly by reaching out to freshmen and sophomores majoring or minoring in Criminal Justice. President Kelsey Sipple would like to achieve this goal by increasing the number of events the CJA holds, which looks quite promising when viewing the full schedule of events for this next semester.
There are many reasons why younger students should get involved in the Criminal Justice Association. First of all being, as Kelsey remarks, “especially as a freshman, it’s good to get involved in something,” allowing underclassmen to meet new people and become acquainted with campus life. Also, there will opportunities to log Superior Edge hours with the various volunteer events that the CJA participates in throughout the year.
Perhaps one of the more important reasons to become active in the CJA is for the knowledge and experience students can gain, especially when it comes to being able to develop a deeper understanding of the various careers in the criminal justice field and what responsibilities are associated with the different jobs. After attending some of the events, Kelsey mentions, “a few kids said, ‘Wow, I never realized that’s what [this job] was about.’”
The Criminal Justice Association assisted Kelsey in precisely that manner as well. It helped her to realize that she would potentially like a future career working with juveniles in the criminal justice field; and she remarks that it is always great to listen to the experiences of the knowledgeable speakers.
If you are interested in joining the Criminal Justice Association, you can contact Kelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to the weekly meetings, which are held on Fridays at 12:00 noon. in the Payne/Halverson Lobby.
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