The air was buzzing with excitement and music Saturday afternoon at the Student Organization Fair. With the new academic year beginning, USD student organizations are recruiting members and planning fresh activities and events.
From Math Club to Campus Activities Board, the fair offered a wide variety of organizations for students to look into.
For students interested in special education or volunteer work, the Council for Exceptional Children combines the two to promote special education at USD and around the community.
Katy Mertens, sophomore elementary and special education major, is the president for the Council for Exceptional Children and said she is looking forward to taking on her new role and organizing events.
“We do a lot in the community to promote special education,” Mertens said. “We partner with Special Olympics on campus and do other things around the community.”
The Council for Exceptional Children is part of the School of Education at USD but they welcome all majors.
Mertens said she is ready to recruit new members.
“We want to find more volunteer opportunities to get our name out in the community,” Mertens said. “We want to get the word out to people that are not only education majors because anyone can join.”
Avery DelGrosso, senior medical biology major, is president of the USD Habitat for Humanity organization. Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has just recently been revamped in the last few years after the former faculty adviser retired and the senior officers graduated.
“We’re a nationwide service organization that provides affordable and decent housing for low-income families,” DelGrosso said. “We also do other programs around the community.”
After years of fundraising, Habitat for Humanity is beginning its first home build in Vermillion on Aug. 26. Volunteers will help build a home for a single mother and her four children.
DelGrosso said he is excited to take on this new project.
“We do anything from shingling, siding, painting and putting up drywall,” DelGrosso said. “All the labor is supplied by volunteers.”
Habitat for Humanity has about 150 members and volunteers signing up whenever they can.
With the groundbreaking for the home build fast approaching, DelGrosso said he is hoping to increase volunteer hours and get more people to meetings.
“I feel like it’s important for people to have a recap of what we’ve done and accomplished,” DelGrosso said. “Because I think if you can look back and say ‘I made a difference,’ it will make you want to volunteer more.”
The Latino-Hispanic Student Organization also tabled at the organization fair and is looking to involve new members after revamping the club in the last few years.
Sophomore medical biology major Camila Ordonz is the president of the Latino-Hispanic Student Organization and their mission is to teach students about the Hispanic community at USD.
“This semester we have so much planned,” Ordonz said. “We have open mic nights and movie nights. Our biggest event is Day of the Dead. We want to do so much with that.”
Ordonz said bringing awareness to the Latino and Hispanic communities is a crucial part of what their organization does.
“Especially in South Dakota, it is such a small community but is still such an important part of any community,” Ordonz said. “Latino and Hispanic communities have such a beautiful culture and we just want more people to be aware of it and show how beautiful our culture really is.”