Five Questions with the College Conference Chairman
Prior to the start of the 2017 College Council Conference in New Haven, Connecticut, the organizers posed five questions to this year’s conference chairman, Erin Donlon of Maine Maritime Council 16173.
KofC: How did you first get involved with the Knights of Columbus?
Donlon: It started with my parish priest who basically had me marked to join the Knights of Columbus council at the parish when I turned 18, which I did. In my freshmen year at Maine Maritime, I noticed only four people regularly at Mass on Sunday. At the end of the freshmen cruise, after being convinced by my cousin (who was also a conference chairman) to look into starting a council, I started the work to get a council at the school. Today, the Knights of Columbus council is one of the largest organizations on campus (there are 40 members) and also attendance at weekly Mass has quadrupled.
KofC: What is it like to be a Knight on a college campus?
Donlon: The biggest challenge as a Knight on a college campus is the resistance to having fraternities on campus these days to the bad reputations as a result of actions by some of the more traditional fraternities. The challenge is to show that the Knights of Columbus is devoted to service not only to the community, but also in the development of faith.
KofC: What do you want the participants to get out of this year’s conference?
Donlon: I’d like people to recognize that the College Council program is much bigger than just what they see on their campuses and that it’s a worldwide community. My hope is that the participants learn how to strengthen their own council by talking with other participants about what they’ve learned on their campuses.
KofC: Tell me what being a Knight has done for you?
Donlon: Being a Knight has provided me with leadership opportunities that I otherwise would not have had. Also, it has helped define my college experience, from helping to start a council on campus, to being the leader of that council and finally, to being the chairman of the 2017 conference. Also, I think it helped push me to the discernment of my own religious vocation and I have applied to seminary.
KofC: How would you describe a college Knight?
Donlon: A college Knight is an ambassador to the rest of the community about the Catholic faith and the obligation to serve. And they’re also the coolest guys on campus.