There are few students that are as involved as Joel Hark ‘22. As a student-athlete, a busy schedule is quite common, but Hark can always find time for anything. His seeming addiction to extracurriculars started with being a tour guide, and then helping students with their transition to college as an orientation leader. From there, he quickly dove into multiple leadership roles including being the vice president and then president of Alpha Epsilon Pi, while helping the fraternity earn its national charter.
Additionally, Hark has helped create a safe space for athletes and their mental health. He is the founder and co-president of Head in the Game, a club which is an outlet for student athletes to discuss mental health. He does this all while working on campus as an orientation team leader, executive board member of Muhlenberg Athletic Leadership Team (MALT), winter sports club executive board member, rock climbing club member, and Code of Conduct student representative.
The first year of college for Hark was pretty typical. “My first year I was still in the same shell I had in high school and once I began to get involved, I began to change. The main reason I grew and changed so much was the number of communities I was a part of on campus. It truly provided the best opportunity to be a better version of myself than I was the day before.”
Involving himself in all these new clubs and the golf team caused Hark to flourish at Muhlenberg, as these experiences led to new opportunities throughout his college career. “It may seem like a lot, but I slowly joined things that presented [themself] to me via the activities fair or friends, or whether I was interested in something and reached out… to create that experience.”
During Hark’s sophomore year Muhlenberg sent a majority of their campus home in order to ensure the safety of their students. “It was the activities that I really love to do [that] pushed me through the tough times of COVID.” The passion that Hark has for all of these activities and the time he dedicates to them demonstrates just how impactful his presence is here on campus.
Hark has been one of the top golfers on the College’s team for the past two years. This consistency is just another testament to Hark’s work ethic and the fact that “I loved playing golf and being in a challenging academic environment.”
As Hark’s college career will come to an end in a few months, he has taken a lot away from his overall college experience. Through playing golf, being active in many clubs and making new friends and connections, Hark has made the most out of his entire college career. “After Muhlenberg, I hope to continue with the tools Muhlenberg provided and to stay within academia and go to earn my masters and then a Ph.D. in sport and performance psychology.”
Hark’s engagement on campus has provided him with an out of classroom education that will impact his opportunities and knowledge as he exits college.
Benjamin Eber ‘23, a close friend of Hark’s, expresses just how impactful he has been not only as an active member on campus, but as a friend. “What I’m going to miss most about Joel is that he’s always there to lend an ear and listen when needed, and give advice when appropriate. He really makes an effort to try and understand what you are saying and makes it so you are comfortable talking.”
Eber sees Hark as someone who he can always go to for help, and he has not only helped his friends, but the entire community. “Within the community Joel has been a role model, and he has been a leader to me and many on campus. He really has made the community a great place where I could meet others and make new connections.”
Teammate and close friend Adam Marcus ‘22, also shared kind words for Hark as he helped AEPi grow, saying, “I have had the privilege of collaborating with Joel in a variety of capacities on campus. What comes to mind most is our work together on the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity executive board, where he served as President and I served as treasurer.”
Marcus continues, “Our chapter has made great strides over the past two years and ultimately became chartered this fall, in large part because of Joel’s strong leadership and dedication.”
Hark is grateful for the support he has received at Muhlenberg and wants to give back to the community as well, hoping that Muhlenberg continues to progress everyday as a community. “I hope that the system that Muhlenberg is a part of can grow and support those whose voices need to be heard and to create a sense of community for all students and to listen to all voices to better support the culture we all crave.”