ISU Student Leader’s Adventure Starts with 4-H

AMES, Iowa--The president-elect of the Government of the Student Body at Iowa State University started his adventure at Iowa State University with his leadership experiences as the president of the Guys n’ Gals 4-H club in Louisa County.

Dakota Hoben, senior in agricultural business, political science, international agriculture and economics, participated in 4-H for nine years, from fourth grade until his senior year of high school.

“It was 4-H that provided me the first opportunity to seek a leadership position among my peers,” he said. “Pushing myself to widen my horizon to pursue personal growth was an outcome of my early days as an officer in my 4-H club.”

4-H, an Iowa State University Extension program for children and youth from kindergarteners to seniors in high school, is the nation’s largest youth development organization.

“4-H empowers children and youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults,” said Shelly Greving, Iowa 4-H Foundation marketing director. “4-H provides opportunities for young people to become confident and connected citizens while building life skills such as goal setting, communication, leadership and citizenship.”

Today, Hoben, along with handling the responsibilities of a quadruple major, sits in the highest student leadership role on Iowa State’s campus. He will begin his term as student body president in the fall semester of 2011. Some of his campaign goals include improving the access to funds for student organizations, improving dead week policies and establishing new financial literacy programs.

He describes his and his vice president’s goals for GSB as “working to enhance the student experience for every student attending Iowa State University.” Hoben is no stranger to student involvement, with some of his previous roles including senator for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) students, ambassador for CALS and a member of the dean’s student budget committee. He’s also an active member of the Ag Business Club and Collegiate FFA.

“Managing different opinions has always been one of the most difficult struggles in any leadership position,” he said. “It takes a lot of patience and understanding to work through differences among team members to achieve goals and complete tasks.”

During his commitments to Iowa State University and the challenges he has faced as a student leader, Hoben recognizes the impact 4-H made on him since his first days in the Guys n’ Gals 4-H Club.

“Some of my favorite activities included showing cattle at the county and state fair and also doing issues projects,” Hoben said. “It's the most basic skills like hard work, responsibility and humility that are built while putting in the long hours preparing projects for the fairs.”

Hoben also had the opportunity as a 4-H’er to attend Citizenship Washington Focus, a weeklong 4-H citizenship program for youth ages 14-19 that takes place annually at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center near Washington, D.C. He said the program greatly influenced his goals by revealing the importance of participation in the civic process.

These 4-H opportunities, along with Hoben’s natural leadership abilities, gave him the tools to excel in college leadership positions. A Southeast Iowa native, he plans to follow his passion for agriculture and continue to voice support for the Iowa 4-H program.

“In the future I hope to provide more involvement by encouraging youth to become involved in 4-H,” Hoben said. “I also look forward to my kids one day being able to be part of a great organization that teaches life skills to youth.”

About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program

4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact an Iowa State University Extension county office at or visit