Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

BHSU Presented with inaugural Gladys Pyle Award

Brianna Amaral
South Dakota Secretary of State Monae L. Johnson presents award to BHSU in recognition of the university’s continued efforts to register students to vote

In recognition of the dedication to student voter registration
and spreading awareness of the importance of civic engagement, Black Hills State University was awarded the brand-new Gladys
Pyle Award.

Gladys Pyle, elected in 1927, was the first female South Dakota state secretary to earn the job without having been previously appointed to the position. In 1937, she became the first female senator to represent South Dakota and the Republican Party.

In remembrance of the late Gladys Pyle, current South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson conceived an award named after Pyle to be presented to academic institutions within the state that exemplify advocacy for voter registration amongst students.

“I wanted to do an award that would honor [Pyle] and all the work she did for South Dakota,” Johnson said. “So, we created these awards and I have put it out to the high schools. If they get 90 percent of all the seniors in their school registered to vote, then I will present them with [the] award.”

Johnson made an appearance at the BHSU Student Union Sept.19, National Voter Registration Day, to promote voter registration and to personally present Dr. Laurie Nichols, president of BHSU, with the new award.

“[Voter registration is] something that [Black Hills] has done quite a bit in [the] past,” Nichols said. “We try to get as many students as possible to register to vote in South Dakota. I believe we have had a voter registration day or two every year since I’ve been here.”

Even before Nichols arrived at BHSU, the university made it a point to host voter registration events for its students.

“I would say [the voter registration events] predate me,” Nichols
said. “It’s really part of the history here. We really encourage students to get registered and vote.”

Dr. Nicholas Drummond, an associate professor of political science at BHSU, plays a role in the planning process of each registration event.

“We had originally planned to do a voter registration drive last week on our constitution civics day,” Drummond said. “But a staff member from the secretary’s office reached out to me and expressed interest in the voter registration drive, so we moved it to [Sept. 19].”

The interest in paying BHSU a visit expressed by the secretary of state was initially due to Johnson’s plan to present the school with the Gladys Pyle Award. However, Johnson felt that National Voter Registration Day was an opportunity to promote voter awareness.

“Next year is going to be a huge election,” Johnson said. “Our hope is to get [citizens] more aware of some of the situations and some of the ballot measures BHSU presented with inaugural Gladys Pyle Award that are coming.”

Among the potential ballots coming in 2024, some of the more recognized topics include the legalization of possession, use and distribution of marijuana, an amendment regarding vaccine or medical mandates and an amendment establishing the right to
abortion in the state constitution.

Although BHSU has a historyof consistently holding voter registration events, each event often looks different from year to year. “Last year we folded [the voter registration event] into our civics day,” Drummond said. “We’ll probably do that again next year.
But this was the national registration day, so maybe going forward that makes us do it today.”

Information regarding the next BHSU voter registration event can be found on fliers around campus and on the Black Hills State University website.

About the Contributors
Nathan Feller, Editor-in-Chief
Brianna Amaral
Brianna Amaral, Photographer & Reporter