New minor for students in nonprofit organization

Denise Watt

Denise Watt

Construction isn’t the only thing new on campus this fall.

A new minor in the College of Family and Consumer Science and a new student organization have become two of SDSU’s latest additions.

The minor, Leadership and Management of Nonprofit Organizations, will offer students who wish to pursue careers working in nonprofit organizations a way to learn skills and gain valuable experience.

“I’ve always liked working, volunteering, being of help to somebody else,” said Kassie Schumacher, a senior consumer affairs major from Bowdle who hopes to one day work in youth services. “I can take what I’m learning now and put it towards any job.”

She said that the minor is “good for anybody on campus, not just the family and consumer science students.”

To offer the minor, SDSU will collaborate with American Humanics, a national organization comprised of universities and colleges, nonprofit organizations, and professional organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity International.

More than 75 universities nationwide currently collaborate with American Humanics. SDSU is the first in South Dakota.

“The goal is to offer them (students) the competencies as well as the connections that they need for positions,” said associate professor Cindi Penor Ceglian, who serves as campus executive director of the American Humanics program.

A personal connection between President Peggy Miller and Kala Stroup, president of American Humanics, helped lead to the establishment of the minor on campus, according to Ceglian. Planning for LMNO began in summer 2003 and, after Board of Regents’ approval, was approved for SDSU in late fall 2003.

The minor requires that students complete 18 hours of coursework from classes in several areas, including human development and family studies, sociology, psychology, business administration and political science.

“They (students) can also go beyond that and get certification from the American Humanics program,” Ceglian said.

As part of the requirements for certification, students must actively participate in the American Humanics Student Association.

Seventeen students belong to the newly-formed SDSU chapter of the association. This fall, the students planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony held to establish both the minor’s and the association’s presence at State. Several representatives from local nonprofits, campus dignitaries, and Barbara Keener, American Humanics’ vice president for academic partnerships, attended the September 28 event.

Initially, SDSU will work with several local and nonprofit organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way in Brookings or with the Volunteers of America, Dakotas in Sioux Falls.

However, Ceglian said, “there are no limits at all” to the nonprofit organizations American Humanics students will work with in the future.

This fall, students helped put together packets for the Brookings Area United Way’s fund-raiser. Executive Director Kathy Booher said she hopes to eventually have one intern at the organization by next fall.

“Almost any area has nonprofit organizations,” Booher said. “I think it (LMNO) will widen their (students’) opportunities to work within a field they want to work in.”

Ceglian said she expects to see growth of the “multi-disciplinary” minor in future years.

“I think that there is an interest because the students that are involved in this have wanted to work in a nonprofit,” she said.