/Gerdin Citizenship Program

Gerdin Citizenship Program

Gerdin Citizenship Program 2018-09-06T19:09:26-05:00

What is the Gerdin Citizenship Program?

The Gerdin Citizenship Program (GCP) is a program aimed at increasing the involvement of freshmen and sophomores in the College of Business by engaging them in activities meant to develop their knowledge and abilities in eight different areas.

What do you do?

This is an optional program for any COB student, although it is primarily targeted to incoming students. To become a Gerdin Citizen, students must complete activities related to these eight areas:

The activities, for the most part, are hands-on—e.g., students will need to participate in two community service projects to meet the civic responsibility requirements, and they’ll give four spontaneous one-minute speeches to qualify for public discourse.


How long does the program last?

Because of the nature of this program, we anticipate that it will take students a year to complete all of the activities. Sometime in late April, we will have a celebration event to honor all students who have completed their citizenship program. Upon completion of the program, students receive a certificate—but the real value is in getting a head start in developing the kinds of skills that employers are looking for. In fact, employers and recruiters who have seen the GCP are very excited, because Gerdin Citizens are exactly the kind of students they want to hire—they will be looking for the Gerdin Citizenship designation on resumes.

Let the Gerdin Citizenship Program help you open new doors!

For more information or to join the program, check out our Gerdin Citizenship Program brochure and contact Tara Fisher at

Program Brochure

Program Components

Diversity in GCP

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”

The diversity component requires Gerdin Citizens to attend three diversity-related activities. These activities should put you outside your comfort zone, but they are a great way to be exposed to people who are different than you.

In order to make informed decisions we must understand that the beliefs, values, and perspectives held by others differ from the beliefs, values, and perspectives that we believe in. As we go about our everyday lives we must learn to respect differences and recognize that even though individuals are different from us, they can still make valuable contributions.

By accepting diversity we are able to maximize the potential of ourselves and those around us.
For more information on organizations at Iowa State, visit Student Organizations.

Ethics Opportunity

Ethics-icon“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”
-W.Clement Stone

Video Opportunity

Below is a link to an ethics lecture presented to Gerdin Citizenship Program participants. To verify your ‘attendance,’ please write a short 1/2 – 1 page paper addressing the key points of the lecture and something you learned that you didn’t know before, or something that surprised you. Staple this paper into your Gerdin Citizenship Program booklet under “Ethics” and Tara Fisher (1200 Gerdin) will sign when she reviews your completed booklet.

“Business Ethics: What, Why, and How” by Albert Erisman. February 28, 2013.

Impromptu Speeches

“It usually takes more than 3 weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”
-Mark Twain

Public Discourse

Good leaders are able to think on their feet and are comfortable speaking in front of others about a wide array of topics.

Gerdin Citizens will develop comfort and public speaking skills by spontaneously delivering four one minute speeches.

How it Works

When you present your impromptu speech, you will pick a topic out of a bucket.  The buckets are numbered one through four.  If it’s your first speech you pick out of the number one bucket-these are generally pretty simple.  If it’s your second speech you pick out of the number two bucket-the questions gradually get more challenging as you do more speeches.

How Long are the Speeches?

You will present your 1-2 minute impromptu speech in front of other students, faculty, staff, and recruiters, who will critique you when you are done.  After everyone has given their speech (you can do more than one if you’d like) you are free to go.

The sessions usually last anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour at the most, depending on how many people are present.  Dates, times, and locations for the impromptu speeches will be included on the GCP event calendar, as well as sent in periodic email reminders.


“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” -John C. Maxwell

Without strong leadership, businesses, corporations, and countries will diminish; leaders are the key for a successful future. To develop crucial leadership skills, one must learn through observation and application. Gerdin Citizens are required to become active members of at least one organization, observe a leader within that organization, and observe a leader within a governing council here at Iowa State University. Through observation, one can compare diversified leadership styles and also learn a lot about their own leadership style preferences.

Students may select from a variety of groups

An example for successfully fulfilling this component would be attending the Government of the Student Body Senate assembly. The participant would attend the meeting and observe the chair of the Senate, the Vice President of the Government of the Student Body. While observing, one would notice how he or she runs the meetings, reacts to members, interacts with the assembly, as well as influences, promotes, and dictates direction during the meeting. The individual should also comment on what they liked about a particular leadership style as well as what they disliked.

More Information

For a list of Iowa State governing councils, check out Student Organization Database Councils

To get involved with an organization within the College of Business, check out the Student Organizations.

Poster Presentations

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Global Awareness Poster Presentation

A poster is not a paper; it is more like a billboard. You have approximately one to one-and-a-half minutes to get the idea of your project across to your audience. Do not burden the audience with data, rather, leave them with the concept of your project.

The following are important pieces of information which should be included in your poster:

Your Name
Title of Project
Objectives (list no more than three – Why did you choose this project?)
Methods (How did you go about the project?)

Key Points
Results or information about your topic (list them or use visuals – graphs, pictures. What did you find?)
Conclusions (What did you learn or what would you recommend for your topic?)

The poster may be whatever size you need to get all of your information included. Remember to use large type (2-3” in height) for your title and major headings. It is also a good idea to use color on your poster to help catch the attention of your audience. If you are displaying data, use a bar or line graph. People will not remember numbers, but they will remember a “trend line.”

We recommend using a tri-fold poster board if possible because it will sit on a table. You can purchase these at the University Bookstore, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Dollar Tree, Target, or Wal-Mart.

Resources available on campus for putting your poster together include:

  • Gerdin computer labs (remember Business students have access to free printing)
  • College of Business Communications Center
  • ISU Printing services, Copy Works, Alpha Copies (Note: these resources are not free)

Allow plenty of time to plan and complete your poster. If you are using photos and graphics, two to three weeks may be necessary if using a service. 

Presentation of Posters

All posters will be displayed somewhere on the first floor of the Gerdin Business Building during an appointed time slot near the end of each semester. During this time, faculty, staff, employers, and students will be invited to walk through and visit with you about your poster, so you will be expected to be present. It may be necessary to schedule several days for poster presentations, given the number of students participating in the citizenship program.

To add a little bit more fun to this activity, a group of judges will evaluate the posters on content, overall appearance and skills of the presenter and select the top three, which will be displayed in the either the display case or in the Granite Hallway of the Gerdin Business Building for an extended period of time.

Past Winning Posters

Student in front of poster board Student in front of poster board


“Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation, every possession, a duty.”
-John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Civic Responsibility

As a Gerdin Citizen and a future business leader, civic responsibility entails active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner focused on the common good. Gerdin Citizens are required to participate in at least two service opportunities over the course of the year that allow them to give back to the community.

Activities could include volunteering time at community agencies or for campus-sponsored service events.

For example, Habitat for Humanity house and Dance Marathon.

Community volunteering activities can be found at: http://www.vcstory.org/home.

Blood Drives

The Gerdin Citizenship Program joined with the Blood Center of Iowa for a blood drive in 2008 and again in January of 2009.

Adopt a Highway

GCP adopted a 2 mile section of Highway 30 between mile markers 150 – 152 in Spring of 2009. We clean twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall.

Dates will be announced each semester and posted on the calendar. Safety vests and garbage bags will be provided. Students should wear light colored clothes, long pants, hard-soled shoes or boots, and gloves.

Meet Our Student Leaders

A Gerdin Citizenship Program Student Leadership Fellow is a student who has earned his/her Gerdin Citizenship Certificate and desires to be actively involved in leading the program. We believe that student leaders who understand and are committed to the Gerdin Citizenship Program can and should be the primary leaders of the program. Our GCP Student Leaders are responsible for recruiting new students into the Gerdin Citizenship Program, organizing and implementing activities, networking with employers, mentoring students to help them earn their certificates, and continuing to improve and further develop this program.

Collin Coffey
Senior – Finance, Accounting and International Business

My name is Collin Coffey and I am a senior in Finance, Accounting, and International Business. The Gerdin Citizenship Program provides a great way for students to develop superior interpersonal skills and leadership early on in college. It has provided me with many opportunities to network with other companies and students that I would not have had the chance to otherwise. Being involved in many other organizations on campus, the self-paced structure of the program was great for me. The Ivy College of Business keeps becoming more competitive and I believe that GCP helps business students stand out more as leaders on campus. Please reach out if you have any questions about the program!

Sara Hasenmiller
Senior – Supply Chain Management

Hi Everyone! My name is Sara Hasenmiller and I am a senior in Supply Chain Management. I completed the Gerdin Citizenship Program my first semester during freshman year and I am so happy that I decided to pursue this organization. This program is self-paced and flexible, which helped me finish my requirements with the different clubs and organizations that I was involved in. GCP expanded my knowledge on the opportunities that both the Ivy College of Business and Iowa State University have to offer. I attended events to master 8 powerful skills that I have utilized throughout my academic career and internship experiences. I will continue to use these skills in the future. With the help of GCP, I have gained confidence as a student and I encourage every student in the Ivy College of Business to complete this program and use it as a tool for success.

Madison Phillips
Sophomore – Business Undecided

Hi there! My name is Madison Phillips. I am a sophomore in the College of Business, and I am currently Business Undecided. Therefore, my favorite part about going through the Gerdin Citizenship Program has been getting to meet with employers and learning about the various areas of business they are involved in. This has helped me to expand my knowledge on what I might want to major in and do as a career someday. In addition to this, completing the Gerdin Citizenship Program has also allowed me to meet other students in the Ivy College of Business, gain confidence in my public speaking ability, and experience diversity on a whole new level. If you are interested in learning more about the Gerdin Citizenship Program, feel free to reach out!