SDSU On The Road

Frederic Cone

Frederic ConeNews Editor

The SDSU president, along with department heads, deans of various colleges on campus and two Students’ Association members, embarked on a three-day tour of eastern South Dakota.

The On The Road Tour was designed to strengthen connections between the university and its stakeholders across the state. This was the second tour the president of SDSU and faculty members embarked on recently.

“The tours had three main goals: reporting progress on the university’s strategic plan, continuing dialogues with community leaders and industry partners and promoting the value of investment in higher education,” said Bob Otterson, the executive assistant to the president.

The tour has been a cooperative venture between the university, the SDSU Alumni Association and the SDSU Foundation.

Harms Transportation provided complementary coach transportation for both tours.

“The tour is a way for us to reach out to communities from which we get student, political and financial support … as well as give updates about what’s going on at SDSU,” President David Chicoine said. “It is a way for us to let our supporters and alumni know where their land-grant university is and where we expect to go in the future.”

Over the course of the three-day tour, the group made numerous stops along the way. The first day they stopped in Lake Nordon and Redfield, and spent the night in Aberdeen.

The second and third days they stopped in numerous towns, including Bath, Britton, Agency Village, Sisseton, Millbank and Watertown. At each of these stops, the tour visited with community leaders and tour local businesses to learn how they operate.

By doing the tours, the university leaders were able to put humans faces in the minds of the alumni and stakeholders, as well as engage with them directly.

“Institutions are very cold things, and people get to know people a lot easier,” Chicoine said. “We did not want them to merely think of the tour as being solely represented by the president’s office.”

There was a variety of faculty and students that went on the tour to meet and speak on behalf of the college.

“That is why we brought along various deans of colleges, department heads and a couple of the SA representatives,” Chicoine said.

Joining this tour was Eric Haiar, a senior music merchandising major from Sioux Falls. Haiar holds the state and local government chair with SA.

“I came along on the tour in order to give a student voice to help alongside the president and the deans, to promote SDSU and what we are doing,” Haiar said. “My other reason for coming is to learn more about some of the smaller communities around the state.”

The other student on the tour was SA Senator Tim Goldammer, a senior hospitality major from Sioux Falls.

“For me, it’s important for a student perspective to be a part of the group sending out this message,” Goldammer said. “It gives the donors and stakeholders a sense of the real benefactors to the money and support they give.”

This is the second tour of this type. The first one happened May 24-28 and focused on the south and western areas of the state. Some of the stops made on the tour were in Beresford, Yankton, Rapid City, Oacoma and Mitchell.

Though these are the first two tours for SDSU, they are common events across the country.

“It is not a unique event for us to do,” Chicoine said. “In fact many colleges have similar programs in place, although it is a policy we are getting started here at SDSU.”

When Chicoine was a dean at the University of Illinois, he would go out every quarter with new faculty members to different regions around the state to listen and learn about the state.

Because of the positive response to the first tour and requests from communities in the northeast sector of the state, this second tour was bumped up to go six months earlier than planned.

“We did achieve our goal for the tour of raising and enhancing our reputation as an institution that cares about all of South Dakota and of the alumni and supporters of SDSU,” Chicoine said.

The plan going forward is to continue with new tours, which will focus on different regions around the state, said Chicoine.

“Our goal is to have at least one tour each year with a focus on springtime,” Chicoine said. “The subsequent tours will have different characters and focuses behind them. We want to keep them fresh and we want to have people coming from all aspects of the university.”

#1.1641148:3550706524.jpg:SDSU On The Road:SDSU On The Road:Photo Illistration#1.1641150:1713286704.jpg:SDSU Dakota Bus Tour:An empty charter bus awaits SA members, deans of various colleges and representatives from the president?s office to board travel the northeast corner of South Dakota to promote SDSU and its future during the Dakota Bus Tour. :FREDERICK CONE