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Service organization comes to DCTC

Seeking out ways to link students with the professional world is a continual mission for Dakota County Technical College. That's why, when an opportunity came up to start a Lions Club on campus, college staff jumped at the chance.

"As we continue to expand our student life options we've looked at a lot of options and decided that having a professional overreaching organization like the Lions Club on campus would be a good thing," said communications and marketing director Erin Edlund.

The club will start meeting this month and the hope is that membership in the organization will help students bridge the gap between the student and professional worlds.

"We see there being huge benefits for our students," said DCTC vice president Sharon LaComb about starting a club on campus.

Mike Molenda, the Lions' District Governor, suggested starting a club at DCTC. LaComb said she loved the idea and started asking other staff if they would be interested in helping. LaComb said she received a lot of positive feedback.

A handful of staff and faculty members have volunteered to join Lions and to serve as mentors for the fledgling club. Rosemount and Farmington Clubs will provide support to the DCTC club.

Although the club is just starting out, LaComb said they don't plan on wasting any time getting going. She said they hope to get some events and community service project planned for later in the year.

"We want to get immediately into this and start planning events," said LaComb.

Lions Club International is a network of 1.3 million men and women in 205 countries and geographic areas who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world, according to the organization's web site.

Lions is the biggest service organization in the world. Locally clubs take an active part in the community through service projects and charitable donations. The clubs in Rosemount and Farmington hold fund raisers throughout the year which benefit a number of charities and organizations including the city of Rosemount, the city of Farmington, Meals on Wheels, University of Minnesota Eye bank and more.

DCTC's club will follow in those footsteps and come up with its own way to help the campus and community through service projects. In return students will get invaluable experience.

Rosemount club member Susan Mullen said by participating in Lions service projects students will get leadership and volunteer opportunities that they wouldn't normally get on campus.

"(Lions) can offer students something that the college can't," said Mullen. "We can provide leadership opportunities, resume building opportunities, networking opportunities and volunteer opportunities."

Through those opportunities, LaComb said, students will learn practical skills such as public speaking, time management and organization.

Furthermore, LaComb said students who join will have access to worldwide networking that will help students for life.

"This is really a great opportunity," said LaComb.

Bringing in youth

The students aren't the only group benefiting from the club.

"The organization is being proactive in their thinking and bringing the Lions' philosophy to a group that normally hasn't been approached," said LaComb.

LaComb said after students finish school they will be encouraged to join a club in the area they settle down in and bring their skills with them.

Mullen said the new members will bring youth and energy into clubs throughout the region.

"Youth are our future and we're trying to bring youth into the fold to bring their experience and enthusiasm into the organization," said Mullen.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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