“Less war, more strategy” is the slogan for the John Quincy Adams Society (JQAS), one of the newest political clubs on campus. The club is a national non-partisan group that focuses on foreign affairs and is “committed to identifying, educating, and equipping the next generation of scholars and policy leaders to encourage a new era of realism and restraint in American foreign policy,” according to their website.
Named after the sixth President of the United States and his promotion of diplomacy, the club’s goal is “to help college students advance, both intellectually and professionally, while promoting a broader and more strategic conversation about America’s approach to international affairs.” The national organization has chapters at 38 colleges in the United States, including University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University. The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) chapter began in the spring of 2019, making this their second semester on campus.
The club secretary, Andrew Sovinski (‘22), says his favorite part about the club is “The sheer variety of activities and discussions.” The members hold meetings every two weeks to talk about foreign policy and discuss current events. The national JQAS organization provides a variety of learning modules for local chapters to choose from, with discussion questions and links to further readings. Some potential modules include “Ethics and Foriegn Policy,” “Iran, Saudi Arabia, and American Strategy in the Gulf,” and “Russia in World Affairs.” SMCM’s JQAS chapter chooses a few of the listed learning modules to work with each semester based on the personal interests of the club members. With these topics to choose from, the club works with discussion questions included in the modules such as “Should the United States deploy troops or go to war in order to protect economic interests?” and “Can Russia be integrated into a U.S.-led global order?” which act as a launching-off pad for group discussions.
Beyond these learning modules, the club also holds a variety of events and activities. The first one of the semester was a trivia night on Wed, Oct. 9. The event split attendees into different teams and had them answer questions on U.S. foreign policy, with a prize being granted to the winning team.
Despite its specific focus, Sovinski says that JQAS is open to all students, “The JQAS could interest students in a variety of fields. Whether that be those on the pre-law track who love using their debating skills to talk about foreign policy with people of different political backgrounds. It can also cater to those who want a relatively low-commitment activity with a focus on politics. In general, anyone with an interest in following foreign affairs on the news or in their classes would enjoy the John Quincy Adams Society.” He further emphasizes their nonpartisanship, saying it is “nonpartisan and nonpolitical, seeking to include members on all parts of the ideological spectrum.”
Beyond the on-campus activities, JQAS involvement also offers a variety of other opportunities for club leaders and members. These include access to apply to club scholarships, the opportunity to become a JQAS student ambassador for the campus, and a Student Leadership Conference for the leaders of JQAS chapters. The SMCM chapter meets in Glendenning Annex every other Wednesday at 8 p.m.