BHSU student organizations honored at South Dakota Board of Regents meeting

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, December 4, 2014/Categories: 2014

The Black Hills State University Student Senate was recognized for its organizational leadership at the South Dakota Board of Regents meeting Dec. 3 in Rapid City.

The Black Hills State University student organization Lakota Omniciye was recognized for its community service at the South Dakota Board of Regents meeting Dec. 3 in Rapid City.  

The Black Hills State University Honors Club was recognized for its academic excellence at the South Dakota Board of Regents meeting Dec. 3 in Rapid City.  

The South Dakota Board of Regents (SD BOR) recognized three Black Hills State University student organizations for their community service, academic achievements and leadership skills at its meeting Dec. 3 in Rapid City.

The BHSU Honors Club, Lakota Omniciye, and Student Senate were honored. Each year the SD BOR recognizes student organizations at state universities in South Dakota.

The BHSU Student Senate received the award for organizational leadership. The Student Senate is the governing student body at BHSU. The Student Senate allows students to develop leadership skills and represent BHSU before the President of the University, faculty, campus committees and the South Dakota Board of Regents in order to build cooperation and unity. The senate promotes student activities and acts on matters relating to student affairs. In addition, the Student Senate shares in the budgeting responsibilities of the general allocation fund. The Student Senate organizes the annual welcome week held at the beginning of the fall semester and general programming throughout the year to increase student engagement. The Student Senate also lobbies for student and education initiatives and works closely with the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation to assess what businesses would benefit students in Spearfish.

Chase Vogel, business administration-economics and finance major from Cheyenne, Wyo., joined the Student Senate his sophomore year as an elected senator. He's continued his involvement in the organization, and now, he serves as Student Senate president. Vogel said he's learned a lot with Student Senate, including how higher education functions and the impact a student voice can have at the University level.

"When I started my sophomore year, I quickly realized that this body of students accurately and respectfully represents the voices of every student at Black Hills State University," Vogel said. "I've been lucky enough to represent our students locally, statewide, nationally and internationally."

Lakota Omniciye was recognized with the award for community service. Lakota Omniciye is a BHSU student organization that seeks to bridge the cultural gaps between non-Indian and Indian students and to provide educational assistance to its members. The group also strives to spread awareness of American Indian cultures on the BHSU campus and in the community.

"As an organization we want to do all we can to help others," said Mary Mitchell, elementary education major from Eagle Butte and Lakota Omniciye president.

Lakota Omniciye currently is collecting toys for their annual Red Shirt Toy Drive. The toys are given to children in Shannon County. Angel trees set up on campus provide students and faculty with the chance to help fulfill students' wishes.

"This project is extremely humbling," Mitchell said. "In some cases, these are the only presents the students receive for Christmas. In receiving donations we also get school supplies and hygiene items because these are things the students can't afford."

Lakota Omniciye hosts the American Indian Awareness Week and raises funds for the 31st annual Lakota Omnicieye Wacipi (Pow-Wow). In addition, the organization helps the Center of American Indian Studies with its Bridge Program, which helps Native American's transition to college life.

The BHSU Honors Club received the award for academic excellence. The Honors Club provides a social outlet for honors students. Students enrolled in the honors program have additional academic requirements and the Honors Club is meant to be a place where students can come together and establish lifelong friendships.

"The Honors Club indicates the self-motivation we as students have in doing more for the University, each other and ourselves," said Cody Drolc, political science major and secretary/treasurer of the honors club. "Our actions and activities are accurate reflections of the commitment we have to higher education and building a strong community to foster academic success."

Drolc added the study socials and other activities allow students to build good grades and lasting relationships with other honors students. Members of the Honors Club complete community service projects throughout the year and have sponsored weekly study socials, co-sponsored a spelling bee for area third grade students, hosted a community blood drive and co-sponsored a lecture series with various academic departments at BHSU.

"We work together to build a positive environment," Drolc said. "College is not easy. We do the best we can and our best so far has been positive in building academic excellence and promoting a community of great minds on the Black Hills State University campus."

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