Preserving our Past, Preparing for our Future: Samantha Plewa, President of TCNJ’s Anthropology Society

Samantha Plewa, a sophomore cultural anthropology major, is president of one of TCNJ’s newest organizations on campus: the Anthropology Society. The College recently created cultural anthropology as a major, and along with it Sam and other anthropology students, with a professor’s help, started the Anthropology Society last semester.

“We started the Anthropology Society last semester in the beginning of the fall when Dr. George Leader expressed interest in gathering anthropology students together to form a club here on campus,” Sam said. They began to meet weekly, drafted a constitution and elected an executive board, she explained. The first semester entailed creating goals and a vision, as well as plans for how to accomplish their goals.

“Dr. Leader, an anthropology professor here on campus, played a big role in organizing us so we were able to join together and form this organization. We felt the need for a club focused on anthropology because it’s so underrepresented here at TCNJ,” Sam said.

“Our overall goal as an organization is to engage students in the various aspects of anthropology, regardless of whether or not they actually study it,” Sam explained. The Anthropology Society plans to host on campus events that will engage other students in the ideas of anthropology outside of the classroom, Sam said.

Aside from bridging the gap between the academic focus of anthropology and the interests of students across campus, they plan to exist as a resource for anyone potentially interested in the field. “Anyone can join!” Sam said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a major, a minor, or have no idea what anthropology is, everyone can benefit from an interest in the field and the ideas it offers.”

As president Sam explained that her role entails making sure the organization is on track to meeting its goals, as well as ensuring “that we’re doing our best to establish ourselves and ensure the longevity of our organization.”

Recently, the Anthropology Society accomplished its biggest goal which was receiving official recognition from student government, Sam said. Moving forward, the plans Sam and the Anthropology Society have are holding events on campus that include guest speakers and film screenings, and even museum trips.

Additionally, “We’d love to have some kind of event exploring the traditional cuisines of different cultures as well as one demonstrating primitive fire making and cooking techniques,” Sam explained.

The Anthropology Society meets every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Anthropology Lab, Sam said. There, members discuss recent anthropology articles and news that people have found interesting, she explained. They also discuss any upcoming events, goals, or ideas members have.

“All members have a voice at these meetings and an influence on the direction we take,” Sam explained. “We encourage everyone to be creative and get involved.”