By Laura Blanco
The President’s Society is a new addition to Barry this academic year.
Members of the Society are students who distinguish themselves as individuals who blend “academics, integrity, maturity, and a well-rounded personality,” according to the Society’s webpage.
The main purpose of the Society is for students to have day-to-day interactions with the Office of the President and gain professional experience at the same time, according to Jennifer Boyd-Pugh, vice president of university administration.
Senior majoring in sport, exercise, and performance psychology, Paige Pokryfke, decided to apply for the Society because she wanted to meet the individuals who have built the university and contribute to the president’s team.
“I wanted to join a society that can help strengthen my leadership skills and teach me about being an effective leader,” said Pokryfke.
The Society was founded upon Barry’s four core commitments: knowledge and truth, inclusive community, community service, and social justice.
Pokryfke noted that the Society also aligns with the social justice commitment.
“We are able to learn how Barry continuously implements social justice work with the neighboring communities and how diversity is such an important factor in [the] university.”
Theology major Autumn Davis hopes the “inclusion” part reigns true, as she knows everyone is coming from different backgrounds, places, and experiences.
Davis, graduating in 2024, qualified for the Society because her credit hours are equivalent to that of a junior, despite her graduation year.
Members of the Society also attend all events hosted by the president and have been enjoying their time thus far.
Through the Marlins Night Barry held in September, Janeisha Cambridge, senior majoring in international business and marketing, was able to meet other student leaders, board members, and potential donors to the university.
“A lot of times [the donors and board members] can hear about what’s going on from the president or the executive board [or] professors, but hearing it from the students and getting it from their perspective is completely different,” said Cambridge.
Davis also attended the Marlins game and thought it was a great experience.
“It was my first time actually going to a Major League Baseball game, so it was always on my bucket list,” said Davis.
Davis also met other students who were having their first-time experience, which made it even more fun for her.
In the long-run, the society hopes to continuously provide leadership opportunities for students, according to Boyd-Pugh. Beyond that, she’s hoping the society gives the students a greater voice.
“It’s an ongoing dual communication process to give us insight into what’s happening from the students’ perspective,” said Boyd-Pugh.
Pokryfke is proud to be able to contribute to giving the students at Barry a voice.
“I am so blessed and grateful to be part of the President's Society [and] to work close with Dr. Allen and his staff to give a student view of the university and to assist them in strengthening the university,” Pokryfke said.
Davis agrees, adding that it is nice to feel included in something important.
"It’s the first year that they’re doing this, so I feel like we’re really starting the standard. We’re building the original foundation for it,” said Davis.
Applications for the President’s Society will open in Spring 2022 for the 2022-2023 academic year. Students applying must be rising juniors or seniors and must have a 2.50 GPA or higher. Additionally, they should understand the university’s mission, have made contributions to the university community, and be willing to work with the Office of the President as a student ambassador.
The application can be found at barry.edu/president-society.