Weber State University’s Collegiate Distribution Educational Clubs of America organization is making quite a name for itself. Students may know it as Delta Epsilon Chi, its name prior to the 2010-2011 academic year.
Collegiate DECA is an organization designed to get students ready for their career.
“Collegiate DECA gives [students] the opportunity to show that they’re willing to go beyond what is required at the university,” said Vel Casler, the WSU Collegiate DECA adviser.
Members participate in activities like expanding networks, training on resumes and cover letters, and developing other technical skills that will differentiate them from others as they enter the workforce. Members showcase these skills at a competition every year in one of twenty events that are typically related to areas such as business, marketing or hospitality.
The Collegiate DECA members at WSU have proven to do quite well at the International Career Development Conference. The ICDC is generally three days long with 1,400-2,000 participants from all over the U.S., Canada and Guam. This last spring, the ICDC was held in Orlando, Fla. The students had an opportunity to network, meet with the President of Sales and Marketing at Universal Studios, compete and participate in many other activities.
“I was able to attend workshops and learn how to better myself as a business professional and a student as well. Learning how to communicate with others and networking was emphasized at the last competition a lot,” said Halla Mansour, the current WSU President for Collegiate DECA and attendee of the ICDC in 2011.
Of the fourteen WSU students competing at the ICDC, seven were top ten medalists, with WSU’s own Tyler Turnblom taking first place in his event, hospitality.
This year, student members have the unique opportunity of attending ICDC here in Salt Lake City. Because it is so close, members will only have a registration fee to pay as opposed to the airline and hotel fees that Collegiate DECA can only assist in funding. Placing in the top six in their event at state competition gives students an automatic spot at ICDC; however, almost any student can go to ICDC.
Casler explained that openings come available as students who placed in the top six in multiple events at state competition must choose only one to compete in at ICDC. In addition, there are two events at ICDC that students do not even have to place in at state to qualify for the conference. One is National Management Institute and the other is Culinary Arts Institute.
Though it’s more typically known among students that major within the sales and service technology department, any student on campus is welcome to join Collegiate DECA. “We really want students from all over campus in our organization. We’ve had students from communication. We’ve had students from health sciences. We’ve had them from criminal justice,” said Casler. Membership is just $30 for the year. Students meet bimonthly, have the opportunity to attend a leadership conference in the fall and get to compete at the state competition with the chance of attending ICDC in the spring.
“The skills that I’ve picked up from DECA helped me have a successful internship [with Goldman Sachs],” said Seth Dickison, a WSU senior and President of the Utah Association for Collegiate DECA. “Last week, Goldman Sachs gave me an offer to start working for them in February. I attribute a lot of my success to participation in DECA. DECA helps you get ready for your career. I have a great job opportunity, and I’m taking the right steps toward a career, and a lot of it’s because of DECA.”
Mansour agreed that Collegiate DECA has helped her get out of her comfort zone and given her confidence for success.