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DECA chapter coming to UWRF next fall

April 8, 2015

UW-River Falls could see another new student organization on campus come next year; this new student organization will be DECA.

DECA, previously known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an international organization aimed at preparing high school and college-level students for positions in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

DECA was founded over 70 years ago, and has helped more than 10 million students worldwide. The students in a DECA chapter participate in conferences worldwide, while also doing marketing and advertising campaigns in their own chapter. Some of these campaigns are real and some of them are “faux” campaigns designed to engage students and give them valuable experience in their field.

“What sets some of these schools even further apart is that they take extra steps to provide an environment in which students can become involved in activities that build leadership, communication and leadership skills,” said the Dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE) Michael Fronmueller, in an email interview. “DECA is one of the best ways to accomplish this.”

According to the DECA website, the organization has over 200,000 members in high school, and over 15,000 students at the collegiate level. These numbers span 3,500 high schools and 275 colleges respectively.

“Many of the students I have worked with participated in DECA in high school and enjoyed the professional development opportunities that were available to them through teamwork in competitions and projects,” said CBE Senior Academic Advisor Ellen Schultz, in an email interview.

“Most high school students who have been DECA members in high school really like the experience, but then regret that they cannot continue once they enter college,” Fronmueller said. “Collegiate DECA is a rare breed, usually found at a few schools, UWRF is now of those schools.”

In addition to the U.S., there are also several DECA chapters around the world. Some of these countries include: China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Canada and Spain. The chapters in the U.S. are regulated by the Department of Education and Congress.

Collegiate chapters of DECA have very open enrollment policies; however, these can change based on how a chapter wishes to set membership requirements. The only other requirement is that each member must pay their proper membership fees.

The requirements for a chapter of DECA include: having a minimum of 10 student members and at least one advisor. The advisor for the UWRF chapter of DECA is Stacy Vollmers, a CBE professor.

Vollmers says that the group has been in the planning stage for about a year now, and she hopes to see the chapter come to fruition. Vollmers also wants to see this chapter help students in their field, and to help them succeed in their future careers after college.

The DECA chapter coming to UWRF is still in the early stage of becoming a student organization. Currently the group of about 15 interested individuals is establishing bylaws and constitution. If everything goes according to plan, however, UWRF can expect to see a DECA chapter next fall.