Ag ambassadors find a home with ‘CSU ag family’
FORT COLLINS – Julie Meining and Kilee Stahley have a passion for agriculture.
The two Weld County students – Meining is from Platteville and graduated from Valley High School in 2009, Stahley is from Kersey and graduated from Platte Valley High School in 2008 – are CSU Ag Ambassadors. Ambassadors are outstanding students who are selected and trained to represent the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences at several various functions.
This semester, Stahley, the daughter of John and Deena Stahley, is getting her training from Meining, as she transferred to CSU after a couple of years at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Meining, the daughter of Jim and Lori Meining, came to CSU following her graduation from Valley High School in Gilcrest and has been an ambassador since the first semester of her freshman year.
Both said being part of the “CSU ag family” is what drew them to volunteering as ambassadors.
“I felt as coming in as a transfer student I wanted to find a place in agriculture where I could be a part of CSU,” said Stahley, who is the third generation of her family to attend the university. “I have a passion for CSU and agriculture. Being an ambassador allows me to really get involved.”
Meining, who carries a double major in agriculture business and agriculture education with a goal of going on to law school after CSU, agrees.
“We represent the dean’s office and help new students to become a part of the ag family,” Meining said.
Both said the college is different than any other at CSU in that students can get help from professors after class whenever it is needed, and there are several activities that bring the faculty, staff and students together on a regular basis.
“That’s why we promote the college as an ag family,” Meining said. “Some people don’t understand what that means, but all the teachers will stay here to help out a student after hours. I don’t think there are other colleges here that can say that.”
There are 1,174 undergraduate students enrolled in the college this semester, said Ruben Flores of Greeley, a recruiter for the college. This year there are 40 ambassadors and they help Flores recruit at high schools; conduct tours on campus for potential students and their families; and assist with several other college activities, including the annual Ag Day celebration, a career fair, college scholarship breakfast, the National Western Stock Show, and several others.
One of the big events at the beginning of each school year is Ram Camp, a program developed by the college to welcome new students and help them become acquainted with the college’s “family.” The ambassadors plan and stage the event, including a barbecue at the end of the day for new students and members of their families. Last August, there were 500 students, parents, family members, faculty and staff at the barbecue, Flores said.
Each ambassador, Flores explained, is required to volunteer for 25 hours per semester, but Flores said most put in more than that.
“There are some who double or even triple that time,” he said. In addition to all of the other activities, ambassadors meet regularly once a week at the college.
Stahley, who is majoring in agriculture business and communications with a goal of becoming involved in communications for an agriculture organization or getting involved in public relations for the agriculture industry, said that while she spends a lot of time as an ambassador, it’s not like a job.
“It’s just something I really enjoy,” she said. She’s carrying 18 semester hours, which she said she needs since not all her classes transferred from West Texas.
Meining, who is taking 16 hours during the spring semester and is the second generation of her family to go to CSU, said she doesn’t mind the time she spends volunteering.
“What you get out of something is what you put in,” she said.
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