Howe Hall hosts Merit Badge University for boy scouts

Lindsay Hostert

The words of the Boy Scout Oath echoed off the walls of Howe Hall’s atrium as nearly 500 boy scouts recited them in unison.

Members of Alpha Phi Omega played host to more than a few boy scouts on Saturday November 10th for their third annual Merit Badge University. This event helps boy scouts all over Iowa further their progress in receiving their Eagle scout badges.

Upon arriving at Iowa State University, the scouts were eager to begin their day. The unmistakable look of curiosity and excitement were stamped on all of their faces.

Members of Alpha Phi Omega had a big day planned for them to learn a lot of new skills and gain the knowledge needed to proceed to the Eagle Scout level.

Scouts could choose from several different badges they could earn for that day, including: animal science, truck transportation, robotics, medicine and many more.

The scouts were split into groups based on the badges they chose to earn for that day and were then escorted all over campus.

Once inside their respective classrooms, the scouts were engaged in several fun and hands on activities that helped them earn that badge.

The boy scouts are very important to members of Alpha Phi Omega because their fraternity was founded on the principles of scouting.

Wendy Van Winkle, a senior studying mechanical engineering and President of Alpha Phi Omega was excited to host all of the scouts again this year.

“Working with youth is one of my favorite things to do,” Winkle said. “It’s cool that we can all come together and put on an event of this magnitude.”

The members of Alpha Phi Omega began planning this year’s Merit Badge University the day after last year’s event had finished and were excited to see all the scouts enjoying themselves.

“It really is the people behind the scenes who have put in the long extra hours who deserve credit,” Mattes said.

An immense amount of planning and preparation has to go into this event in order ensure things will run smoothly and all the scouts have a good time.

“It’s a lot of late nights, but it’s nice to see all of our hard work pay off,” Van Winkle said.

Paige Mattes, a junior studying chemical engineering and Merit Badge Coordinator was most excited to see “the enthusiasm the boy scouts bring to campus during the day.”

“The scouts have an opportunity to become knowledgeable in subjects they have a good chance of pursuing in the future as a career, possibly even back at Iowa State,” Mattes explained.

As the coordinator of Merit Badge University, Mattes had been busy for weeks working to finalize all the plans.

“Working on different tasks has been a balancing act, but the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day makes all of the struggles and triumphs worth it,” Mattes said.

“It really is the people behind the scenes who have put in the long extra hours who deserve credit,” Mattes said, praising the incredible amount of time her committees and fellow members of Alpha Phi Omega have put into the event.