This fall, a new club which focuses on community outreach and cultural empowerment formed at Drew University. The group, called Community for Humanitarian Outreach and Inter-Cultural Empowerment club (CHOICE, for short), was founded to create a space for healthy dialogue and community outreach on campus.
The club’s founder and president Lance Lee is a student at Drew’s graduate school pursuing a Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. According to Lee, the idea of a club where people could amicably discuss a myriad of topics is based on conflict resolution principles and had been discussed in the department, but this is the first year it’s officially been off the ground.
One main objective of the club is to discuss current, potentially uncomfortable topics with open minds. Through this, there is potential for people of different backgrounds or of different perspectives to focus on what unites them as opposed to what divides them. The second objective of the club is to give back to the community. This past semester the club organized a drive for the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morristown where they delivered a selection of food and other essentials like diapers and baby wipes. They also purchased books for the Children’s Hospital of Morristown and shelters in the area. Additionally, the club hosted an appreciation card event where students could write appreciation letters to anyone of their choosing. For the spring semester, the club plans to do another drive for the Drew Food Pantry and host more discussions.
Vice President, freshman Elainna Hodge (‘25) appreciates the welcoming attitude of the club and the effort it’s making to help the community. She highly encouraged talking with each other as a means to spur action in the community and foster growth as a whole.
Both Lee and Hodge share similar hopes for the future of the club. They said they would love to see the club grow both in size and in involvement, which they hope will help with identifying alternatives to solving problems. Students are welcome to drop in for meetings, whether it be for particular activities or particular discussions that draw attention. CHOICE takes a new approach to community engagement and makes efforts to bridge the gap between Drew and surrounding communities.
Regular updates for the club can be found on their Instagram page @drew.choice.