Black Hills State University President Kay Schallenkamp honors Kami Wagner, sophomore elementary education major from Rapid City, with the Outstanding Student Leader Award during the 18th Annual Student Volunteer Awards Ceremony at BHSU. Wagner was chosen for her exemplary leadership skills. Wagner’s leadership style revolves around giving others the confidence to get involved. She also acts as a supporter, helping and encouraging other student volunteers.

Black Hills State University recognized and honored the service, dedication, and achievements of BHSU student leaders, volunteers, organizations, and advisors during the 18th Annual Student Volunteer Awards Celebration.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Leading the Way” commending BHSU students for their leadership roles in higher education and in the Black Hills community.

The Outstanding Student Leader Award was presented to Kami Wagner, sophomore elementary education major from Rapid City, for her exemplary leadership skills. Wagner’s leadership style revolves around giving others the confidence to get involved. She also acts as a supporter, helping and encouraging other student volunteers. Wagner says, “being a student leader means that I am a person who is able to incorporate my values, knowledge, and personal experiences into a working community to create an overall positive impact for every individual.” She believes that getting involved on campus and in the community through activities and organizations, students are able to build a bond with the University which will grow throughout their academic career and continue after graduation.

The award for Outstanding Residence Life Involvement was given to Joann Hilman, freshman mass communication major from Laramie, Wyo. Hilman has actively sought out ways to make the residence hall community better for her fellow residents.

Lara Goodteacher, junior history major from Yankton, was presented with the Outstanding Leadership in Residence Life Award for the positive impact she has made through her leadership in the residence halls. According to Goodteacher, living in the residence halls means experiencing something unique while trying to create events that provide opportunities and unite the residence hall students as a whole.

This year’s Outstanding Freshman Award went to Raesha Ray, freshman elementary education major from Pagosa Springs, Colo. The award is presented to a freshman who is actively involved in at least one student organization and participates in campus activities and programs outside the classroom. Since coming to BHSU Ray has attended a multitude of campus wide and residence hall programs, and is an active member of the BHSU Rodeo Team; Community Council; Campus Ventures; Yellow Jacket Delegates; and Student Support Services.  Ray strives to have a positive impact on the campus as well as in the Spearfish community.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award was given to M.J. Stermer, sophomore Spanish major from Minneapolis, Minn. Stermer faithfully contributed her time and talents for the betterment of student organizations and the campus community. Stermer is a member of the Residence Hall Association (RHA); P.E.T.E. (People for the Ethical Treatment of the Environment); the Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program; and participates in the Alternative Spring Break Program. “People thank me for my time, but I am thankful for the experience.  Volunteering at BH is a part of the shaping of my successful future,” says Stermer.

The Excellence in Leadership award is given to students with senior status who have best demonstrated involvement on campus and in the community throughout their enrollment and leadership tenure at BHSU as well as maintained high academic standards.  Amanda Reed, elementary education major from Powell, Wyo.; Ashley Uthe, elementary education major from Presho; Kayla Schuring, elementary education major from Andover; Rachel Hendricks, Spanish major from Corona; John Geske, Spanish major from Excelsior, Minn.; and Dylan Wince, social science major from Rapid City, were all recognized for their contributions to both community leadership and academic excellence.

Peggy Hall, sophomore education major from Sheridan, Wyo., was awarded the Vice President for Student Life Rising Star Award. The award is given to a sophomore student who has shown excellence in leadership and has made outstanding contributions to the BHSU community. Hall is involved in a number of organizations on campus, has taken on several leadership roles, and organized the Swarm Days Coronation.

The Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award was presented to Janette Hettick, Heidepriem Hall Director, for volunteering her time to advise the RHA. According to RHA members, Hettick’s support extends beyond the organization to helping students when they are also having problems on a personal level.

The Leadership Scholarship, which is voted for by the students on the night of the awards ceremony, went to Newley Kartak, junior commercial art major from Colome.

Several BHSU student organizations were are also recognized for their accomplishments throughout the year. Winners include:

  • The Outstanding Student Organization Award went to the Rodeo Club. The Rodeo Club volunteers their time in the Spearfish community with the Adopt-A-Highway program and the Northern Hills Humane Society.  The organization actively embraces and helps students understand and celebrate the legacy of our region, which sets them apart from other organizations.
  • The Outstanding New Student Organization Award was awarded to the Jacket Volunteers.  This organization works on strengthening the relationship between BHSU and the Northern Hills through various service projects throughout the surrounding communities including the regional Special Olympics program and creating a fundraiser for the Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Most Improved Student Organization Award went to P.E.T.E. This organization has grown and brought sustainability awareness to the forefront of campus consciousness.  P.E.T.E.  has created and planned numerous events including an International Day of Climate Action rally in the Spearfish City Park. The organization was also able to send five of its members to a conference in Washington D.C.

Outstanding Community Service Projects and Programs were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Lakota Omniciye was recognized for their Red Shirt Table Program. For the past nine years the organization has been helping the families of Shannon County during the holidays by creating angel trees. Students, faculty, staff and community members select an angel and purchase presents for that student.  The project is unique as it provides education and awareness to BHSU students about the richness of the native culture.
  • The Residence Hall Association was awarded for their Trick or Treat for a Cause Program. In just an hour and a half, 80 students were able to collect over 1,300 food items to be donated to the Spearfish food pantry and the Artemis House.
  • The Residence Hall Association was also recognized for their Ski Night Program. The attendance of over 100 residential students gave them the opportunity to get off campus and enjoy outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
  • The Office of Civic Engagement was awarded for the Alternative Spring Break program, which encourages students to participate in service activities and become engaged citizens. The group took a week-long service trip to Camp Campbell, a YMCA camp in the California Redwoods.  Each student worked with the outdoor science school and served as a cabin leader for approximately 10 fifth-grade students during the course of the week.

Also announced during the ceremony were three BHSU student organizations that will receive recognition from the South Dakota Board of Regents next fall at the annual board meeting in Rapid City.

  • The Board of Regents Award for Academic Excellence - Theatre Society
  • The Board of Regents Community Service Award - Jacket Volunteers
  • The Board of Regents Organizational Leadership Award - Residence Hall Association

Following the tragic natural disaster in Haiti, campus departments, student organizations, and interested individuals joined together to create The Hearts for Haiti Campaign, which was designed to centralize the various relief efforts on campus.  A challenge was given to all student organizations to see who could raise the most money. Through all of these efforts, the campus raised over $2,700. The Residence Hall Association raised the most money for the cause and won the challenge.

If you would like more information on the Student Volunteer Awards contact Susie Hadrick, Student Engagement Program Coordinator at BHSU, at 642-6378 or email Susie.Hadrick@BHSU.edu.