Stout Students Dietetics Association (SSDA) is the professional organization on campus for the dietetics students. These students work together to brainstorm ideas, help each other out and volunteer in the community. Their main goal is to “promote nutrition awareness within Stout and the community,” according to SSDA President Elizabeth Bronk.
Graduating from the dietetics major is an interesting and complex process, with more additional requirements than many other majors. “We have to complete 320 hours of field experience in undergrad (usually unpaid), and then during our senior year we apply to ‘the Internship’ that we will complete after graduation, which we have to complete before we can sit for the registered dietitian board exam,” said Bronk. Those are the most basic requirements to become a registered dietitian; there are many more steps in each of those individual levels. For example, “During the internship, [students] complete rotations in Clinical Nutrition, Community Nutrition and Food Service Management,” Bronk said.
“There’s a lot to do, and SSDA is really just a good resource for Dietetics students to utilize,” Bronk said. Within SSDA, students can bounce ideas from each other, collaborate on projects and give assistance to other students who need it. “SSDA is designed to help guide our members through undergrad and build their resumes so they can be ready to apply for the internship after they graduate,” said Bronk. To help underclassmen navigate their complex program, each SSDA underclassman member is assigned to an upperclassman mentor, who will help their mentee as they get into the “nitty gritty” of their major.
SSDA likes to incorporate interactivity and enjoyment in their volunteer events. Bronk described how they “like to do fun, seasonal activities at the Neighbors of Dunn County like carve pumpkins, bake Christmas cookies, make valentines and dye Easter eggs with the residents.” Bronk also explained how the SSDA has a booth at the Wellness Fair and fundraises with homemade energy bites to help fund their trip to the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND) conference.
Along with many volunteer opportunities, there are also many student leadership opportunities as well. “Every year we hold elections for our organization’s leadership, but we also have three committees within the organization that each need a chair to lead it,” Bronk said. The committees within SSDA are Fundraising, Events and Bulletin Board and Awareness. Bronk spoke of the SSDA’s goal to provide opportunities for its members, saying, “We just try to find as many opportunities for our members as we can to help them become the best future dietetic interns and dietitians they can be.”
Dietetics majors are strongly encouraged to join the organization, but students from other majors are welcomed as well. The meetings are every other Monday at 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall, room 208. Along with bi-weekly updates, the meeting will often feature a guest speaker. Generally, there is also some sort of project, as well as time for mentors to meet with their mentees.
Currently, SSDA is preparing for the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Chicago. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year at the conference, which will be a very special celebration. Bronk explained that the SSDA has many fundraising events in the works, and they are currently holding a bake sale for all to enjoy. Vouched by many and agreed by most, SSDA is one of the keys to success with a dietetics major; look for them on OrgSync to learn more.