Why Starting a Collegiate DECA Chapter is Worth It

Jan 8, 2024

Contributed by Eric Bedrosian | Butler University DECA, IN

During the 3rd week of my freshman year at Butler University, I took a leap of faith and began the paperwork to start a Collegiate DECA chapter. The process has been challenging and has made for some sleepless nights. However, I say this with love and gratitude for the process because it has taught me so much over the past year and a half. Being a founder of a Collegiate DECA chapter is worth it.

At the end of my senior year in high school, two of my closest friends and I placed first at ICDC 2022 in Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research. After walking off that stage, I knew deep down that it wasn't the last time I would be attending a DECA conference. Over the summer between graduation and my first year at Butler, I thought long and hard about my future with the program. By joining Collegiate DECA, I could continue my journey with the program that I have come to know and love.

Unfortunately, the first roadblock to my CDECA career came when I discovered Butler didn't have a chapter. I immediately reached out to the business school dean and verified the process to start clubs on campus. During my third week on campus, I found a team of people I trusted to be on an executive board, and we set off to get Butler University DECA approved. Within two weeks, an approval letter from our Student Government Association was signed and delivered to our advisor. At this point, we submitted the request to DECA to have our chapter approved, and we were ready with a few weeks to go.

One year later, Butler University DECA transformed its membership from 7 members and one advisor to 103 student members, two advisors and 29 professional members. With a diverse group of students, professionals and advisors, our chapter has become very active on campus and in our community. The BU DECA mentorship program, including our 29 professional members, allows our students to become prepared for their competitive events, job interviews and professional networking.

Collaborating with our business school has allowed us to create a curriculum alignment, allowing members to choose their events based on the classes they are taking or have taken in the past. To top it all off, the chapter recently surpassed $30,000.00 in donations, allowing us to send 25 members to CICDC 2024 completely free. These accomplishments were made possible thanks to our amazing advisors and executive team.

Although, as any of them would tell you, there have been some major setbacks and challenges along the way. To form a strong chapter, there must be a dedicated group of people ready to take on the tasks at hand. With a common goal, things can stay smooth along the way. As you work through the process, it is important to remember that everything will be challenging during the first year of operating. Even during our first semester of being an official chapter, I still have to remind myself of this.

Being a founder of a Collegiate DECA chapter has been an amazing opportunity for me to develop as a student, leader and business professional. It has also shown me that being surrounded by a talented team can help create an environment for major success. If your college doesn't have a chapter, there has never been a better time to start one. With resources available under the collegiate tab on DECA's website, you will have the tools to succeed. Take the risk and join a growing community of CDECA members, creating chapters at colleges worldwide.


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