The Distinguished Gentlemen Club is a newly reinstated member of the plethora of clubs at Fairfield University. DG differs from the rest as it strives to create a better understanding of community among men of all ethnic backgrounds through discussion, service and social events.
Their mission statement declares that “this club will encourage its members to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially through informational meetings and planned activities that coincide with our club’s ideals.” It continues, “Members must seek to be committed to justice and the betterment of the community. We do NOT tolerate discrimination to others; no matter their creed, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, etc.”
Vice President Luka Silva ‘25 describes that “DG fosters an open environment where men can speak on the challenges they face in society.” He stresses that “members will not only be equipped with the resources to succeed as an individual but will also have a community of gentlemen who will support one another on and off campus.”
President of The Distinguished Gentlemen, Ruben Rocha ’25 explains the importance of the club: “I think it is important to discuss topics surrounding healthy masculinity with our peers and living up to our philanthropy goals as a club.
The Distinguished Gentlemen’s E-Board works directly with Fairfield Professor and Clinician Jay Taylor as they question and explore “what it means to be a man in society and how society molds masculinity to be a certain way based on culture and history.”
Silva stresses the importance of having these conversations as “many students on campus may be in need of a community who welcome this type of dialogue as many benefits stem from this form of communication because it helps men on our campus visualize their goals and aspirations.”
This semester, DG hosted their Kick-Off Distinguished Gentlemen Discussion with a research study lecture with Professor Jay Taylor and invited guest speaker/author Mr. Jim Olayos.
Another upcoming event featuring Taylor is on March 30. His lecture and research study titled “Breaking Out the Man Box,” “assimilates with the culture we want to spread on campus,” Silva says.
Distinguished Gentlemen invited Jim Olayos, lawyer, president of Future Stars Basketball and Sports Academy in Fairfield county, and author of the book called “The Kindness Formula.” His book is written in honor of his oldest son Jimmy Olayos who tragically passed away in 2021.
Silva describes that “Mr. Olayos was invited to speak about his book which touches on values and habits that [have] helped him, his children and the people around him become ethically successful.”
“By bringing in such guests and working with our resources here at Fairfield University, we continually seek to enrich our campus,” he continued.
Silva expresses that “there is a sense of self-betterment and purpose” in their meetings and events. “We touch on many themes including idols, careers, fatherhood, success and community service.”
The club’s ideology is built upon the core Jesuit values such as Cura Personalis, Magis, and service as they believe that by instilling these values into their club’s ideology, “each member will benefit as a student and in the real world.”
DG is open to anyone on campus—not just male students– as the club serves as a safe space for both men and women to discuss topics pertaining to masculinity. Silva states that even though “male students solely tend to come to our meetings, our events are open to everyone on campus and we have seen female attendance this semester.”
DG also sponsors community service events at the Islamic Community Center in Bridgeport, Conn. and will participate in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event on April 29 in Downtown Fairfield in which a mile is walked in honor of sexual and domestic abuse victims.
Senior Remsfield Papillon, describes that upon first arriving to campus, the clubs mission of being people for others resonated with him. “When I came into campus one of the first clubs I encountered was the Distinguished Gentlemen. I was impressed by how they carried themselves and their dedication towards being people for others resonated with me deeply.”
In regards to questions about what it means to be a man in society, they believe there is no right answer. Still, they hope that students will join them as they create a better understanding of community among men of all backgrounds and strive to fulfill the Jesuit value of “men and women for others.”