DECA students in Atlanta, Georgia at Coca-Cola

After a 30-year absence, the University of Minnesota Crookston brought back their collegiate Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter to campus and student members have already hit the ground running. Their first chapter meeting was held October 11, 2022 with members and alumni from across the United States joining them on Zoom, and since then they’ve held a pumpkin DECA-rating contest, participated in the campus Trunk or Treat Halloween event, traveled to Atlanta, Georgia November 3-5 for the Collegiate DECA Engagement Conference where Crookston DECA president Clara Hanson placed in the top 20 out of 200 in the case study competition, engaged with corporate businesses at their weekly meetings, hosted informational tables at various events, campaigned during Give to the Max Day 2022, and traveled to Mankato for the DECA Emerging Leaders Academy.

Next up for U of M Crookston DECA is the state competition February 16-17, 2023 in Alexandria, Minn. where they’ll participate in competition against other chapters from Minnesota and connect with potential employers, plus they have the opportunity to advance to the international conference which will be held April 15-18, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.

Crookston DECA advisor Abbey Linstad, who doubles as the campus area coordinator for Residential Life, said she was inspired to restart the chapter after seeing the need for business students. Linstad was part of the DECA chapter at her alma mater and saw how much it opened doors for students, so she communicated with her supervisor and looked for steps to get approved.

DECA students at an aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia

“Starting DECA was a big challenge, but I can see the opportunities it has for students,” said Linstad. “Being in DECA you’re eligible to apply for scholarships through DECA, Inc. and we were able to secure additional grants and donations from John Deere, Coca-Cola, and the U of M Crookston Concerts and Lectures Committee to be able to go to the Atlanta conference.”  

Seeing how much the students got out of the conference helped open people’s eyes and make them more aware of the Crookston chapter, Linstad added.

“It was my first time in Atlanta and my first opportunity to go to a DECA conference in two years after DECA in high school,” shared Crookston DECA president Clara Hanson. “These DECA conferences are some of the best times of my life as it’s a gateway to the business world and gaining knowledge in marketing, business, hospitality, tourism, and finance.”

“I’m thankful that Abbey came along and started it here,” Hanson added.

“Abbey is so considerate of every single person that she meets,” said Courtney, another U of M Crookston Collegiate DECA member. “Abbey truly loves DECA and is an advocator for the great things it has done for her life and career. She is an awesome collegiate DECA advisor!”


DECA students at a zoo in Atlanta, GA
DECA students visiting Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA
DECA students all dressed up for the conference in Atlanta, GA

Story Contact: Abbey Linstad - - (218) 281-8536