The competition was fierce, and the team placed 16th out of 17 teams but was still very excited about its overall performance and the opportunity to compete at nationals.
Making his mark
Memorable experiences and stress outlets are not the only reasons students become involved in clubs. Although many students will tell you that they join clubs to make new friends or build their resumes, Peter Maloney, a junior majoring in crop science, got involved with Agronomy Ambassadors for different reasons.
"I liked the idea of being one of 12 students that would represent the department," Maloney says. "I didn't want to graduate without giving something back and making my mark. I thought being an Agronomy Ambassador would give me that chance."
Agronomy Ambassadors are students chosen by a panel of agronomy faculty and staff to represent the department at various events throughout the year. Kelly Delp, BS'03, Agronomy Ambassador coordinator, says ambassadors meet with prospective and current students, give department and campus tours, and help the department prepare for future students.
To become an ambassador, Maloney had to fill out an application, go through an interview, and participate in semester orientation. The time and work was worth it for Maloney, who describes his involvement as exciting, rewarding and influential.
Maloney and fellow Agronomy Ambassador Lance Mathis started an outreach program for nearby high schools. They go into classrooms and educate students on agronomy.
"Just seeing how the kids reacted when they found out that there was more to agriculture than just throwing seeds in the ground and watching them grow was one of my most memorable college experiences," Maloney says.
"Knowing that through us talking to the kids, we actually changed their perspective on agriculture, it was priceless."
Community service projects are a big part of any agricultural student organization. Not only do community service projects help students build social and teamwork skills, they also get them involved in the Lafayette and West Lafayette communities.
Lisa Yarling of Indianapolis is a 2004 food industry marketing and management graduate and the 2004 president of Collegiate 4-H. There are around 40 members in this organization, and their involvement in community service projects makes them stand out in the College of Agriculture.
"I didn't have much of a social life, because I dedicated a great deal of time to Collegiate 4-H," Yarling says. "I stayed busy for a reason. I wasn't part of the club in order to put it on my resume. I wanted to be part of a club that actually did something and got involved."
Collegiate 4-H participates in everything from community service projects to social events in the Lafayette community and across the state. Yarling was a driving force in getting Collegiate 4-H back on the map as an active Purdue Agriculture student organization, according to club advisor, Steve McKinley, BS '88, MS '90.
"When I came in my freshman year, I felt that the club had more potential than what it was showing," Yarling says. "It was my main goal as secretary my junior year and president my senior year to build our reputation back up. No one knew who we were or what we did."
Yarling and the rest of the members decided to make their mark. They served meals at the Lafayette Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter, cleaned up county roadsides and parks, trained 4-H officers in the state, and visited nursing homes during the holidays.
The list doesn't stop there. For the first time, the club was named the National Collegiate 4-H Club of the year. The accomplishment that helped win this honor was receiving a service learning grant from Purdue to implement an after-school program at Murdock Elementary School in Lafayette.
Every other Wednesday, members worked with the children on educational projects, community service and team building. In addition, some of the Murdock students worked on 4-H projects that were entered in the county fair.
"I learned a lot about young people," Yarling says. "Each child had a different life story that really touched my heart. I realized that the time it took to run the program at the school was well worth it."
Diving right in
Many college students have no idea what kind of agricultural clubs are out there, while others dive right into clubs they find interesting. Rudy Troxel is a senior majoring in agricultural education from LaCrosse, Ind. He describes his club involvement as fulfilling, rewarding and busy.
Troxel got involved in the Avian Science Club, the Purdue Young Group (a Bible study group that also performs community service projects) and the Indiana Association of Agricultural Educators (IAAE). He got involved with these clubs for numerous reasons.
"I wanted to see what opportunities I had and meet professors and colleagues that I would work with throughout my time at Purdue," he says. "First and foremost, I wanted to continue in the interests I had developed before college, such as avian science."
Some of Troxel's more memorable club experiences come from IAAE and the community service projects the students organize each year. IAAE has worked at the Greater Lafayette YWCA Women's Shelter and the Lafayette homeless shelter.
Troxel credits his club involvement for his people skills and teamwork abilities.
"Being a member of these clubs has really opened many doors for me," he says. "It has helped me learn time management and personal responsibility, which has aided me in getting job and internship offers that I would not have gotten without being involved."
Being involved in student clubs has opened up these students to new possibilities, experiences and responsibilities. All four smile with satisfaction as they reflect upon their involvement, and they say their club experiences will follow them for the rest of their lives.
|© 2005 Purdue Agriculture|