The place for anyone interested in criminal justice or related fields is the Criminal Justice Association, a well established club at Mercyhurst.
“The club is a supplement to the criminal justice classes offered on campus. We bring in various speakers, volunteer at multiple organizations throughout Erie, go on field trips to prisons, shoot guns at shooting ranges and basically do anything criminal justice-related that our members are interested in,” Criminal Justice Association secretary, Abby Saunders, a senior Criminal Justice major with concentrations in Law Enforcement and Criminology, said.
The Criminal Justice Association meets every Wednesday evening for about an hour. If there is no speaker for the week, then the meeting time is used to go over general information and play games.
“We also go off campus for activities like shoot don’t-shoot simulations and anything else that the members want to do. Another thing we try to focus on is volunteering. We do service hours for multiple organizations, and this involves anything from helping out at after-school programs to participating in the Polar Plunge. We get to jump into Lake Erie with the Pennsylvania State Police,” Saunders said.
Recently, Criminal Justice Association members completed a training simulation with the North East Police Department where they learned how to clear out a school building, and what the typical day as an officer looks like. In addition, on Advising Day the club visited SCI Albion in conjunction with the Student Alliance for Prison Reform.
“Members get to visit really cool places, hear from a variety of real-world criminal justice professionals and gain knowledge that they don’t get to learn while in the classroom. It really helps members figure out what line of work they want to go into (or don’t want to go in to) and also prepares them for real-life situations like talking to potential employers,” Saunders said.
Interested in getting involved with the Criminal Justice Association? All students are welcome to join, regardless of major. While many members major in Criminal Justice, Intelligence Studies or Psychology, some members study more diverse disciplines such as Dance or Interior Design.
The Criminal Justice Association is partnering up with the Student Alliance for Prison Reform for their next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Campus Ministry, where they will be learning how to prepare prison food. For more information, you can contact Abby Saunders or the club advisor, EmmaLeigh Kirchner Ph.D.