Agricultural Advocacy Lunch Educational for Students
April 30, 2012
For many college students, the opportunity to get a free lunch is hard to pass up. However, for members of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, serving a free lunch is a great way to education their peers about agriculture.
On Wednesday, April 25, members of Sigma Alpha hosted an Agricultural Advocacy Barbeque on Colorado State University’s campus, and used the event as a vector to connect the food that students were eating to where it came from.
“It is important because agriculture affects every person on this planet every single day. As of late, agriculture has come under a lot of scrutiny from society and much of this is undeserved. The most important tool we have as agriculturalists today is education,” said Chelsea Methany, one of the organizers for the event.
She continued, “We need to break down the walls that the superfluous media has created and get back to our story. Our story includes providing the world with safe, wholesome and nutritious products with half the resources we used a century ago. It all comes down to having a passion for the industry and a passion for nourishing the world.”
The barbeque was funded in part with the Presidential Greek Vision Award, which the chapter won in 2011. The grant is given to a chapter to host a community service award.
“The Presidential Greek Vision Award is given to organizations that demonstrate a willingness and desire to make a difference. The award came with a $1,500 grant to use towards an event that promotes the organization in a positive manner on campus and in the surrounding community,” said Methany.
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To win the award, the chapter had to prove that their event would make an impact. “Sigma Alpha was chosen because our proposed Agriculture Advocacy BBQ was an educational event that had the opportunity to teach a large variety of people. Our target audience was not other Ag students; instead it was geared towards students, faculty and community members that have been removed from agriculture. The free BBQ attracted so many different people from different backgrounds and that is what we wanted. We wanted to chance to show people that agriculture is a big deal and if affects almost every aspect of their life,” she said.
Sigma Alpha is a sorority that focuses on scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. As a professional sorority, the main goals of the chapter are on leadership and professional development, as well as community service.
“Receiving this award was a huge honor for our chapter. We have never been given this opportunity before, and we’re blessed to be in a position to promote agriculture on campus. It was important to us to remind CSU that it was founded as an agriculturally-based school, as many often forget,” Methany said.
In fact, CSU is the only land-grant university in Colorado, and was started as an agricultural college. Reminding the students of their roots helped the girls connect the nearly 600 students they served to agriculture.
“The student body responded with incredible enthusiasm. We had an absolutely incredible opportunity to promote the industry. We had people from all walks of life asking questions. We also passed out flyers that included agricultural facts specific to Colorado, and so many people were surprised that the state is a huge player in ag production. Being able to open up that world to people is the first step,” she said.
The event was also sponsored by JBS, the Western Dairy Association, J.R. Simplot Co. and Coca-Cola. “There was a lot of planning and coordination for this event. We were lucky to have our sponsors generously donate all of the food for our event. Without them, our event would not have been as successful as it was,” she said.
Promoting agriculture was important to these women because it’s what they are passionate about. “Agriculture is what makes the world go round. It is the most important industry in the world,” Methany said.