UNK’s Agribusiness Association preparing students for future careers
Steve Bristol can bring back life to something that was once dead. At least, that’s what he did with the Agribusiness Association. Bristol is an agribusiness major from Cumro, Neb., at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is president of UNK’s Agribusiness Association. He says when he first joined two and half years ago, there wasn’t much going on with the club.
“It was so dead when I got there, I had thought it had just started,” Bristol said. “It had been going on for two years where they hadn’t been doing much.”
After transferring to UNK from a different school, Bristol joined the Agribusiness Association and became the vice-president during his first semester, but he said nothing was really happening.
“We met I think like three or four times; we really didn’t do much. So after that first semester, that’s when I became president.”
Bristol says he was “thrown into it” but was drawn to the opportunity because of the dedication of the people in the club.
“What really drew me into it is the amount that people really care about that club,” said Bristol. “You really don’t have to push people too hard to get them to do things, so that’s pretty nice.”
Bristol has now been the president of the club for two years and appreciates all that the club offers to its members. Meetings are held monthly and Bristol keeps members updated through e-mail and Facebook. He says that monthly meetings work well because of the busy schedules of college students.
“If I feel like we need to touch base and I can’t do it in an e-mail, then we’ll have (a meeting), but with schedules and stuff it’s easiest to do it monthly and then send mass e-mails whenever I need to,” said Bristol.
Jeremy Uhrich, an agribusiness major from Wood River, Neb., is one of the Agribusiness Association’s 15 members and has been in the club since he was a freshman but didn’t really get involved until the past couple of years, since Bristol has been president. Uhrich says one of the main reason he enjoys being involved is because of the networking possibilities and connections he makes with people.
“We use Ag Business Club to meet people and make friends with your fellow students,” said Uhrich. “You never know in the future when you might need a referral or if you know somebody in another business.”
Bristol says that the volunteering the group does makes a big impact on how they are perceived by the community. Last month, they helped with the Gateway Farm Expo in Kearney and also set up a booth for the club. This type of event gets the group recognition among the agricultural community.
“I had more people come up to me during the booth this year – which was the first time we’ve had one off campus – asking for graduates than anything else,” said Bristol. “They were like, ‘How do we get in contact with you? How do we get internships set up? I want your graduates here.'”
Local events aren’t the only things that the club participates in, however. Last spring, 10 members travelled to the Chicago Board of Trade. Bristol hopes to make it an annual trip for the club.
Overall, Bristol, who graduates in May along with Uhrich, feels that being involved with an organization like this, has helped him to gain leadership and delegation skills. “Dealing with people, dealing with problems that were unforeseen, dealing with schedules, everything that comes with being in an organization – that really has been helpful,” said Bristol.
Uhrich is just happy that the club is up and running and encourages others to join in because it’s open to everyone, not just agribusiness majors. “We’re proud of what we do,” said Uhrich, “and we want people to know about it.”