Dakota Wesleyan University Student Association Senate has announced award winners for the 2019-20 academic year.
Best Fundraising: Lost&Found
One of DWU’s newest clubs, Lost&Found, is a campus organization that connects college students with tools and resources to develop lifelong resilience. Throughout the year, Lost&Found programmed various campus and community events to engage and better inform students, faculty, staff and community members about mental health. Lost&Found’s largest fundraiser was a haunted house in downtown Mitchell the week of Halloween.
“Lost&Found aims to open up conversation about mental health, creating a community of support and providing tools to help students work through their struggles,” said Lost&Found member, Kelsey Buchmann. “As we worked to get our organization’s name out there with fundraisers such as the haunted house and many mental health awareness events, we also got the opportunity to reach out to those who weren’t, and still may not be, comfortable enough with themselves to share their stories just yet, letting them know they’re not alone,” she said.
Up and Coming: Business Club
Another one of DWU’s newest clubs, Business Club, was created in an effort to better educate and prepare students for careers in business. Business Club found success in creating a speaker series that incorporated local businesspersons, alumni and current students to address a variety of business-related topics and questions. Business Club also played a critical role in welcoming this year's Stark Lecture keynote speaker, Sarah Calhoun - founding owner and CEO of Red Ants Pants clothing line and music festival.
“The mission of the DWU Business Club for the 2019-20 year was to create a club atmosphere that would help DWU business majors/minors learn from other business leaders around South Dakota and to help our peers gain more real-world business knowledge and experiences,” said Business Club member, Grace Rule.
Best Service: Future Teachers Organization
Service was a main point of emphasis for Future Teachers Organization (FTO) this year. Throughout the year, FTO members attended and presented at local educational conferences, including Educators Rising and South Dakota STEM Ed. Other campus and community projects included the Dr. Seuss Carnival, in which FTO members planned and organized a variety of games and activities for more than 350 children within the Mitchell community. Another major service element of FTO is its commitment to educating youth. With an ongoing partnership with L.B. Williams Elementary School, aspiring teachers volunteer to substitute teach for two-hour increments while grade level teachers attend professional development sessions. FTO’s community service efforts also included providing access to literature and promoting educational wellbeing. FTO arranged and maintained “Books on the Bus” and “Tiny Libraries” within the Mitchell community.
“FTO reaches out every year to community members and students alike. We completed the 22nd annual Dr. Seuss Carnival this year, in which a free book was given to each child in attendance. “Tiny Libraries” have been set up around town so that community members can take and leave books at their leisure. “Books on the Bus” was created so that the busses in the Mitchell School District contain a tub of books for children to read to and from school - with the help of Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School. As always, DWU FTO provided substitutes through Operation Tiger for L.B. Williams Elementary teachers so they may receive professional development training for a few hours during the week. FTO held meetings to help education students understand the program better and gain insight to their future careers. FTO has been a place for students to gather and discuss service projects, fundraisers, but most importantly, the field of education,” said FTO member, Claire Stoller.
Most Dedicated: Student Ministry Council
Student Ministry Council (SMC) has prevailed and remained steadfast during what could be considered a rather tough year. In the fall, SMC took initiative in community-led service during the catastrophic flooding that struck the Mitchell community. Each day, new members of SMC were interacting and engaging with community members to get them back on their feet. During the spring semester, as students were sent home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, SMC rose to the challenge to provide resources, a sense of community and comfort to those in need. With daily updates, student scripture readings, continued chapel services and Zoom community groups, SMC didn’t miss a beat. During the entire 2019-20 academic year, regular programs such as Worship Under the Stars, Freshmen Ministry, and Life Groups provided access points for students to engage in faithful discussions. Events such as 24 hours of prayer, Random Acts of Kindness, and the SnackPack program demonstrated the value of serving others and truly taking care of each other, a motto that the group lives by. SMC goes above and beyond in each of DWU’s pillars of learning, leadership, faith and service.
“SMC has a motto – ‘take care of each other.’ We are constantly striving to lead our community and our campus with this saying in mind. During the fall of the 2019-20 school year, SMC had a major impact on the community by helping those who were affected by the September flood through flood relief buckets, moving furniture/carpet in people’s homes and volunteering at the Salvation Army. Even though the spring semester moved online, SMC was continuing to keep people connected through weekly chapel, social media posts of scripture reading, encouragement, songs and much more,” said SMC member, Jill Ricke.
“The most prominent component the selection committee recognized when making selections for Senate Awards was the involvement by all clubs for the entirety of the year. The committee reasoned for various ways in which clubs and organizations invested in and impacted our campus, the Mitchell community and well beyond,” said selection committee member, Zach Gors. “I am most proud of the ways students engaged in these efforts, sacrificed time and energy for the betterment of society and provided avenues for growth and transformation through academic programs, service and civic engagement. Our students and campus community are better because of the dedication of these clubs, their leadership, determination and significant belief in their missions.”