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ASCE chapter named best in region

ASCE chapter named best in region
South Dakota State University's 2019 concrete canoe team poses by its contest entry at Iowa City, Iowa. For its participation in such skill activities as well as performing community service, the American Society of Civil Engineers at South Dakota State University has been named the top school in its region.

For the first time since 2011, South Dakota State University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has been named the top one in the region.

The region has 23 chapters in the region, which stretches from Colorado to Missouri and South Dakota to Kansas, according to Zach Gutzmer, a faculty member in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering and club adviser for the past nine years. There are nine regions within the United States.

Chapters are judged based on annual reports, which are submitted to the national ASCE office.

The reports covered spring and fall semesters 2019.

 “A large part of the annual report score evaluates the chapter’s goal setting, goal measurements and goal reflection,” Gutzmer said. “The annual report highlights the SDSU chapter’s activities on campus and in the engineering community, local community involvement and participation in national and regional ASCE events.

“We had a very impactful year by bringing engineering speakers to campus and participating in or hosting student activities,” he continued. “We had a lot of student and professional interaction through the local professional ASCE branch and ASCE region events. SDSU also hosted a student conference last spring for eight regional universities that brought about 100 students to Brookings.”

Chapter president Taylor Fauth said, “The success of SDSU’s ASCE student chapter can be attributed directly to its members.

“Our chapter is full of dedicated students who work hard year-round to make sure that ASCE is continually the best it can be at SDSU. We have students who are involved at all levels of their college careers, from freshman in their first week on campus up to graduate students and even faculty and professional involvement.  

“All our student competition teams, including concrete canoe, steel bridge, GeoWall, and Mead presentation, are extremely accomplished, placing high in regional and even national competitions many times over the past several years.  These teams are an integral part of our chapter, giving our students a chance for hands-on learning outside of the classroom as well as a fun way to work with each other.  

“Our student chapter also owes a lot of its success to our faculty adviser, Zach Gutzmer, who was recognized in his own right this year as ASCE’s Region 7 Outstanding Faculty Adviser. I am very proud of SDSU ASCE, and I know that our student chapter will continue to shine in the years to come.”

Fauth, of Leola, was one of five senior officers in the club in 2019. She was joined by Selene Renes, Harrisburg, vice president and compiler of the annual report; Nathan Powell, Chamberlain, recording secretary; Kaitlyn Hague, Highmore, canoe captain; and Tyler Tetrault, Lakeville, Minnesota, bridge captain.

Gutzmer said, “This is a student-led group and our strength is our students. We have had strong student officers and very active student members that push the student chapter to achieve its goals. This award belongs to the students. As adviser, I am happy to see all of their hard work recognized and rewarded.”

With 120 members, ASCE is one of the largest groups in the college. It is known for participating in building contests such as concrete canoe and steel bridge and community activities such as food drives and Habitat for Humanity.