USD Hosts American Legion Auxiliary S.D. Girls State

VERMILLION, S.D. – The W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at the University of South Dakota will host the 2017 American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State program, May 29-June 3.

During the 16th consecutive ALA Girls State event co-hosted by USD, 412 high school junior girls, chosen by the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary, will learn about civic participation and all levels of government over the course of six days.

Students are divided into cities and counties where they have an opportunity to run for a political office ranging from governor to local law enforcement positions. Additional activities for the week include a college fair, general assemblies, talent auditions, invited speakers, and law enforcement demonstrations.

Students will also have an opportunity to learn firsthand from state and local public servants, including, U.S. Sen. John Thune, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, S.D. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, S.D. Attorney General Mary Jackley; State Sen. Billie Sutton, State Rep. Jean Hunhoff and State Rep. Mike Stevens.

Inauguration of the new ALA S.D. Girls State governor will take place at 8 p.m. June 2 in Aalfs Auditorium with Ally Monson, 2016 ALA S.D. Girls State Governor, providing the keynote address. The ALA Girls State Chorus, under the direction of Ethel Cooper of Springfield, will present a concert prior to the inauguration ceremony open to the public.

Other public events include an active shooter presentation demonstrated by Lt. Michael Burgeson of the Yankton Police Department in Aalfs Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 3.

The ALA SD Girls State community project for 2017 is supporting veterans living in HUD-VASH housing, the Barakah House and those in the Transition in Place Program. Throughout the week, ALA Girls State will collect monetary donations, toiletries, towels, single bed sheets, alarm clocks, shower curtains, gift cards, and household kitchen items.

For more information about ALA SD Girls State, including a brief history and a list of activities and events, and live video stream, please visit or e-mail:


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News