During the Board of Regents meeting in Pierre on the first week of April, three SDSU student organizations were recognized through awards for various distinct attributes pertaining to each individual organization.
Farmhouse Fraternity, the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College Student Organization and the Nursing Students’ Association were all separately recognized for their contributions to the SDSU community with different awards. The NSA was recognized for ‘mentor[ing] and foster[ing] the professional development of future registered nurses, facilitating their entry into the profession through educational resources, leadership opportunities and skill building.’
Senior nursing major and president of the NSA Rachel Wright finds that the hard work by everyone has paid off.
“In years past I felt we had problems with that consistency, but we’ve been having at-large meetings more often … and we’ve been doing more interdisciplinary activities,” Wright said. “I think everyone was really proud and I think everyone has worked really hard this year … it’s great that we were recognized for that this year.”
HCSO was recognized for “promoting community and service, while maintaining academic excellence for its members.” Being HCSOs first state award, they attribute their accomplishment to their support systems and scholarship requirements, according to the organizations president Kyla Larsen.
“I would consider this progress in the right direction for HCSO; when you think of Honors you think of having high GPA, but being recognized for it you find out it’s a lot more people than you probably would have thought,” said Larsen.
Farmhouse Fraternity was recognized by the BOR for “members donations of time and monetary support.” The fraternity contributes to the community, but doesn’t look for any famed recognition, according to Agriculture and Bio systems engineering major and president Jacob Cuperus.
The fraternity’s main philanthropy is raising $7,000 to $8,000 through moving docks in and out of Lake Campbell, as well as different services and arising opportunities.
“When we do service activities we don’t look to be recognized. The ‘S’ in Farmhouse actually stands for service, so we look to expand our service opportunities,” Cuperus said. “It’s more of a notice that we’re on the right track and doing the right thing.”
Venita Winterboer, the NSA’s faculty advisor, says that the organization plays a leadership role among the College of Nursing through the energetic projects they undertake.
“It’s a way to attract more members and it’s nice for our students to get recognition for all of their work. They come up with the ideas and do all of the work,” Winterboer said. “This year we set up a mentoring program, and it has been very successful.”
Tim Nichols, HCSO’s faculty adviser and the dean of the Honors College has similar views in terms of being excited to see their organizations being recognized for the members efforts.
“By all means [is this progress going in the right direction,] they have been growing and expanding their impact and making a bigger difference for the students for a number of years,” Nichols said. “I think we have a really dynamic leadership team that has great ideas and is also willing to do that hard work to make those ideas into a reality … it’s really a really energetic and fun group to work with.”
Similar among all of the mentioned organizations, members’ participation and efforts in the groups are completely volunteer with no requirements or obligations towards community service and activities.
“We don’t have any requirements to make members participate – it’s all volunteer. Guys step in and are willing and ready to go,” Cuperus said. “[Students] look for something to be passionate about and involved in. The award is nice, but we would do it even if we didn’t get the award, and I’m sure the rest of SDSU shares that mentality.”
Farmhouse doesn’t require a minimum participation from its members, and the College of Nursing doesn’t require extracurricular involvement from its students.
“Some colleges in South Dakota require nursing students to register as national, and SDSU doesn’t’ do that because I think in years past, the dean thinks the students should want to be a part of a professional organization and not be forced to,” Wright said.
At a broader aspect, the student involvement in organizations on the SDSU campus shows different things to different people.
Nichols believes that the distinct awards presented to these three organizations shows the strength of the student organizations on campus.
“I think it’s a strong endorsement of the vitality of student organizations on campus and in the community,” Nichols said. “They develop leadership skills and it prepares them to make a difference in their communities and professions.”
Cuperus thinks these kinds of awards make SDSU stand out from other colleges, and while an award might be nice, he says that SDSU students share the mentality of being humble about their contributions and service through respective organizations. Larsen shares a similar view.
Larsen said, “I think it shows that we’re really diverse, and the groups that got the awards anything that you’re involved in has an impact for the community and on campus here at State.”