Faculty Women's Club (South Dakota State University)

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Faculty Women's Club (South Dakota State University)

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  • Faculty Women's Club (South Dakota College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts)
  • SDSU Club (South Dakota State University)

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The first meeting of the Faculty Women's Club was held at the home of Mrs. Elwood C. Perisho, wife of the president of South Dakota State College. She called some of the faculty women and wives of faculty men together to propose establishing an organization that would form a relationship between women of the faculty and women students. The purpose of the group was to bring about a closer acquaintance between faculty women and women students and to help them in many specific ways. At the same time, the organization was to promote social enjoyment among women of the club.

There were many ideas suggested for the organization of the club, with four standing committees eventually adopted. One of the committees was a student loan fund committee. An extension committee brought useful programs to club members and sent information about State College to out-of-town girls. Since there was no student health service on campus, a hospital bed committee was created. Finally, a Faculty Mother Committee was established. In this committee, faculty housewives were assigned a group of girls to call on and entertain informally. This was later dropped for lack of interest and a Courtesy Committee was added in its place.

In the 1920's, the Faculty Women's Club was very active. By 1926, there were three standing committees, Student Loan, Courtesy, and a Calling Committee. Of particular interest and value was the work of the Student Loan Committee. Money was raised for the fund through various benefits, teas, bake sales, motion pictures concessions, graduation night collections, etc. Loans were advanced to those in need and a small interest payment was added to the repayment schedule.

Although club members were involved with mostly campus activities, they were also concerned with city affairs. In the early 1920's, the club worked with the Civic League to ask for a city garbage disposal system and a program to beautify the depot grounds. They also set up an employment center where students could be hired as domestics doing housework and babysitting.

The 1930's were lean years for Faculty Women's Club. Club members kept busy trying to build up and maintain the loan fund. The club's loan fund was secured by a bond. During this era, the group branched out from its recreational programs and added programs on international affairs and travel lectures. They assisted in organizing the Girl Scouts in Brookings and worked to help needy children. They continued to service the college by entertaining women attending the annual Farm and Home Week conference and initiating May Day festivities.

Faculty Women's Club members served the World War II effort with Red Cross work, filling kit bags and buying war bonds and stamps. The wives of men involved in the Army Administration School on campus were welcomed in the club. Interest groups were started and included needlework, dramatics, book reviews, and recreation. An auxiliary group, the Newcomers Club, was organized. Wives of new faculty men and new women faculty members were eligible for membership in the club for three years.

In 1953-54, Faculty Women's Club favored the establishment of an art center and museum on the campus of South Dakota State College. They started a building fund and appointed a committee to work out a long-term plan for the project. By the 1960s, the club had turned over thousands of dollars toward the art center project. It was also during this time that the student loan fund was united with the college loan fund program.

In the 1970's, the club started having more interest groups, like horticulture, gourmet cooking, and antiques. They stopped having monthly meetings and began to meet only three or four times a year. The awarding of scholarships was transferred to the financial aid office on campus by the 1980s. The club continued to evolve throughout the 1990's. By the late 1990's, the Faculty Women's Club evolved into the SDSU Club and began to include men in its membership.

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