Weber State University will send Utah's first national Delta Epsilon Chi president to the nation's capital next month, where he will learn the tricks of the trade and rub shoulders with some of business' greats.

"In our day and age, it's come to a point when you have to show that you stand out above the rest," said Steve Hanson, recently elected Delta Epsilon Chi president and WSU sophomore studying sales and service technology. "I'm willing to do more and be my best, not just for myself, but for others."

Delta Epsilon Chi, a college division of DECA Inc., promotes competition among students venturing into the business world.

The nonprofit business-and-marketing organization carries forward goals set by DECA members in high schools across the country, allowing college students to work with partners in multiple disciplines to gain hands-on experience involving business practices in their fields.

Hanson was elected to the position by his peers, as each state carries a certain number of votes. He was, however, first selected to run by a national team of advisors who accepted his 20-page application detailing leadership goals, skills and other outstanding characteristics.

As president of the 10,000-plus member organization, Hanson hopes to unify various college groups who currently call themselves different names.

"We'd be much stronger under a unified front, going by the same name," he said. He said he'd also like to grow the membership, giving more students insight into the benefits of belonging to such a group.

Hanson also would like to offer more leadership positions within the organization, giving more people responsibilities. "There's a leader within everybody," Hanson said. The group works on various community projects entailing everything from recycling and community service to business functions and fundraising. "We're not just bettering ourselves as students; we're bettering the world around us."

Having the prestigious leadership experience is something Hanson said he hopes will help him gain an edge over people with whom he will someday be competing for jobs. He says Delta Epsilon Chi has the reputation of helping students "who are willing to go above and beyond." He hopes to someday open his own company offering management and human resource advice. "I feel very strongly that when a manager can serve his employees, his customers or those people who are working for him, they will serve the real customers and those people paying at the front lines so much better," Hanson said. Amidst all the meetings, conferences and competitions he is required to attend as president, he plans to continue his education and earn a master's degree in marketing and management.

"It helps me to look at life a lot differently and understand a lot more of what's going on out there than just what's in the textbooks or at school because we're actually doing it," he said. "It's just like running a real organization." College students can join Delta Epsilon Chi by contacting campus representatives or visiting deltaepsilonchi.org and paying a $20 annual fee. Hanson said benefits can be had for any student, including those from culinary arts programs to landscape design.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com