USD provides 178 different recognized organizations for students to get involved and many of these organizations table during the first weekend that freshmen arrive on campus.
However, these organizations are divided into two equally important camps: passion-oriented organizations and profession-oriented organizations. While both of these camps are equally important, profession-oriented organizations do not always acquire the limelight the way passion organizations do.
Passion organizations are organizations that usually bring people together and revolve around an issue. This branch includes organizations like Yotes for Life, Students for Reproductive Rights, Dakotathon, AWOL and so many more. These organizations are prominent on campus because it is easy for people to rally behind issues such as abortion, volunteerism, service, or even degree majors.
What is harder for students to find are the organizations that help build professional skills. This is not to say that passion organizations do not help build professional skills, but they are not actively growing them. Professional organizations are those that are usually centered on a particular profession or set of professions. These include organizations like Mock Trial, Coyote Capital Management and Cross Media Council.
When I arrived at USD, I quickly got involved in the Student Government Association (SGA), an organization which blurs the line between passion and profession oriented organizations. From my first year until now I have continuously served the student body of the University of South Dakota in the students’ Senate on SGA.
In that time, I have been given the opportunity to see every GAF funded organization present their activities and plans to the Student Government Association. From this perspective, I have noticed that students do not always branch out beyond the first few organizations they join their first year on campus.
The University of South Dakota is committed to the pillars of Inclusiveness and Diversity in all aspects of university life here in Vermillion.
Part of a student’s university life is their involvement in extracurricular student organizations. Student organizations epitomize the pillars of Inclusiveness and Diversity by allowing all students to join and bringing students of diverse thoughts and backgrounds together. However, when students join passion-oriented student organizations, it is easy to continue down the line of thinking that organization’s agenda requires.
While these organizations are important for personal development, profession-oriented student organizations do not require the same thought caused by an issue or political agenda.
Mock Trial for instance provides students valuable experience articulating both sides of an argument; Coyote Capital Management provides its members with valuable experience managing client’s finances, and Cross Media Council provides valuable experiences in creating multiple-platform storytelling.
Organizations centered on professional skills allow our diverse thoughts and backgrounds to help each other experience professional growth. They also emphasize the diversity of thought found in their membership in order to see all sides to a story, an argument, and a fluctuating stock market. While passion-based organizations are valuable, USD’s profession-based organizations need more attention and growth so that students are not only growing personally, but also professionally.