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Student Senate approves name change for academic organization

September 23, 2010

Student Senate approved the name change for the special academic interest organization, DTS-Women of Agriculture, formerly known as Delta Theta Sigma-Little Sisters, at the Sept. 14 meeting.

Full approval for the change by Student Life Director, Paul Shepherd, is still in the works, according to Michelle Haring, vice president of DTS-Women of Agriculture.

The Student Life office worked with the DTS-Women of Agriculture to re-write their constitution and develop a new name that clarified that the organization is not a sorority or connected formally to any fraternity, according to Paul Shepherd.

The DTS part in the new name does not stand for Delta Theta Sigma. The DTS-Women of Agriculture went to the Senate for approval since there was no policy saying they could not still have DTS in the name, according to Jenny Breuer, the representative of DTS-Women of Agriculture.

“It is just like how FFA does not stand for ‘Future Farmers of America’ anymore,” Bauer said. “The DTS part of our new name is just an acronym with no meaning behind it. We fought to keep the DTS part because we wanted one little piece of our history to remain.”

Student Life has worked with this organization since October 2009 to help them reorganize to become compliant with the UW System policy regarding student organizations. The main issues Student Life had with the organization were that it was not open to all students, and it operated like a sorority, according to Shepherd.

The DTS-Women of Agriculture lost their Greek letters in this process, according to Cheryl Jeske, president of DTS-Women of Agriculture. This was due largely to confusion that people thought DTS-Little Sisters was a Greek organization, but really was not. The letters represented tradition and history, according to Breuer.

“Most of the girls in this organization are hurt and frustrated because they had earned those letters,” Jeske said.

“It felt like a piece of us was ripped away,” Breuer said.

The DTS-Little Sisters have been in existence since 1969. The organization is designed to reach out to women interested in and promoting agriculture. The organization is active on campus and in the community, according to Breuer.

“We are involved with Adopt-a-Highway program, we do activities like bingo and pumpkin carving with a nursing home, and we participate in a backpack program with a local church filling backpacks with food and supplies for needy families,” Breuer said.

On campus, DTS-Women of Agriculture participate in homecoming events, the winter carnival, Agriculture Olympics, Freshman move-in day, the rodeo and Agriculture Tech Day, according to Haring.

DTS-Women of Agriculture is open to all areas of study but was granted the right to remain a female-exclusive organization, according to Breuer.

“Our by-laws and constitution are now up to par. We have an advisor, Peter Rayne. We fixed all the issues that [Student Life] asked us to do so we were allowed to remain an all-female organization,” Breuer said.

Student Life feels this compromise was appropriate based on the commitment from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences to work with the organization as a special academic interest area, Shepherd said.

The DTS-Women of Agriculture organization wants to have even more of a campus and community presence, according to Jeske. The organization is accepting new members. There will be a general information application process where new members will state why they are interested in joining. New members will learn the history of the group, work with other organizations and have a Big Sister mentor for support and guidance.

“We want the UWRF campus to know that we still exist, even though our name is different,” Breuer said. “We did not do anything wrong, we just had to change a few things to be compliant with the UW System’s policy of student organizations.”

DTS-Women of Agriculture meetings are held Monday nights. Any women interested in joining this organization can contact Cheryl Jeske at cheryl.jeske@uwrf.edu for more information.