Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) is an international law fraternity that works to promote “integrity, compassion, courage, professionalism, service, diversity, and innovation” within the legal profession and community. Phi Alpha Delta has nearly 650 chapters worldwide, but the University is proud to be the very first online chapter, which was approved back in 2013.
An Interview with Phi Alpha Delta Chapter President Jenna Gushwa
Phi Alpha Delta was established in 1902 in Chicago, Illinois, and has grown to be one of the largest legal organizations in the world, boasting over 330,000 members. Our PAD chapter has approximately 400 members, including the chapter president, Jenna Gushwa.
As both a member and student officer, Jenna has a wealth of valuable information. In a recent interview, Jenna shared what she has learned as a leader and why others would benefit from joining Phi Alpha Delta.
Q: “Why would you encourage others to join PAD?”
A: “Since we are not in a brick-and-mortar school, there is limited interaction with peers. Joining Phi Alpha Delta allows you to interact with other students by discussing legal topics in a group setting, attending webinars and other events with guest speakers, and even just having everyday conversations.
Phi Alpha Delta gives you a place to be with other people who share the same interests, stressors and hurdles. Not only does PAD give you an outlet to interact with your university peers, but it also provides the opportunity to network with other pre-law/law students and alumni who have gone into various areas of the legal field. Joining Phi Alpha Delta can aid in creating bonds and associates for a lifetime.”
Q: “What have you learned about being a member of Phi Alpha Delta?”
A: “We have members located all over the world, so even though we are a group that has the common interest of the law, there is a level of diversity that I never expected. This diversity has really helped me see the legal field from many varying viewpoints and gain a better understanding of others. I feel privileged to be able to learn from this experience, as so many others do not get that opportunity.”
Q: “Did you gain any additional understanding about yourself and the legal field while serving as a student officer?”
A: “I have learned so much about myself and grown as a person. I have learned to really think about what members would want to gain from this chapter and to put myself in their shoes before planning activities for the chapter. Through the experience that I have had helping and guiding members and the interaction that I have had with our amazing student affairs team, I realized how much I really enjoy helping others.”
Q: “If you could share anything, what would you want others to know about getting involved in a student organization?”
A: “To others who are thinking about becoming an organization leader, I would say to go for it as you will not regret it! If you have ever wanted to make a positive impact, leadership is a great place to do it and the joy that you will receive when you make that impact is priceless.
“I also think it is important for current or future leaders to know that everyone has a different level of commitment, and you should go into it knowing that no matter what your commitment level is, that is perfectly fine because you will be helping others regardless. To anyone thinking about joining an organization but is too shy or concerned about how much effort you need to put in, I would say, ‘Take that leap!’
“While you may not realize it at first, joining a student organization will drastically enhance your academic career, even if that organization is not aligned with your major. Joining an organization can also give you a sense of support from others who know exactly what you are going through when you have had a rough day.”
Jenna has been a powerful force within Phi Alpha Delta. She has led the chapter in various community building and professional development activities ranging from publishing newsletters and hosting guest speakers to participating in cross-chapter debates. As a result, our Phi Alpha Delta chapter currently holds “Platinum” status, which “demonstrates the highest level of chapter involvement and denotes excellence in chapter leadership and member engagement.”
Membership in Phi Alpha Delta
Membership in Phi Alpha Delta is open to all current students and alumni interested in legal studies or pre-law coursework, regardless of their major. If you are interested or have questions regarding PAD or any other student organizations, please don’t hesitate to contact Student Affairs at email@example.com.