It may seem odd to talk about traditions in the context of young, forward-looking college students, but the DU chapter at Iowa State University (ISU) has a longstanding track record of success. It is, after all, the oldest continuously operated collegiate committee in DU history.
Dr. Stephen Dinsmore, who is professor and associate department chair of the university's Natural Resource Ecology and Management department, has served as the ISU chapter student adviser since 2005. He offers some perspective on the chapter's historical achievements.
"What is unique about the ISU chapter is that we've always had leadership stability within the ranks of the faculty mentors who serve as student advisers," Dinsmore says. "Our goal has always been to train and shape the future leaders of this organization."
Dinsmore understands the importance of continuity when it comes to mentoring young college students. In October 1984, he attended the inaugural ISU banquet. "I wasn't a student at that time. However, I became a student member and chapter co-chairman after starting my undergraduate degree here in 1985," he says. In serving as chapter adviser, he has not only come full circle, but also is following in the footsteps of previous advisers, including his own father,
James J. Dinsmore, and Dr. William Clark.
"The most rewarding experience about being a student adviser is that I continue to be connected to chapter members from 10 or 12 years ago," Dinsmore adds. "What I love is that they're still involved with the chapter as alumni. Many of them will come back to campus just to attend our event."
Not surprisingly, the ISU chapter has developed a culture of succession planning among its student leaders. "I have always been impressed with the continual recruitment of new members and future DU leaders on the ISU committee," says Josh Finley, DU's senior regional director for central and southwest Iowa. "The chapter is currently led by Chairman Travis Hursh, who understands the importance of filling the pipeline with new members who will carry forward the rich traditions of the chapter and Ducks Unlimited."
The ISU chapter has also benefited from the support of local DU volunteers and the state's leadership team. "We have great support from our adult volunteers in the state," Dinsmore says. "They always attend chapter events and help us make what these young men and women are doing special."