Recently featured in Auburn Family.
The Ag Council at the College of Agriculture held their 11th annual “Ag Week” this week. Various organizations within the college came together to host a variety of events for families and students to attend while learning about the agricultural industry.
The festivities kicked off on Monday morning when the AU Young Farmers and Block & Bridle pulled up to the Student Center Greenspace with trucks and trailers full of farm animals. The two clubs joined forces to hold a “Petting Zoo” for students, faculty and staff. The animals included an Alpaca, Llama, dairy calf, beef heifers, a sheep, and a goat.
Block & Bridle president, Ellen Rankins, was eager to educate students about the different animals.
“Most of these people have never seen any of these animals, let alone touched them. This event is our chance to show the public what we do in animal agriculture and start meaningful conversations with them.
Over 800 people stopped by the Petting Zoo, giving both clubs countless opportunities to spread their knowledge of agriculture.
On Tuesday afternoon, clubs and organizations set up carnival games at the ALFA Pavilion at Ag Heritage Park for the “Ag Carnival”. Families from the university and community came out for a night of food, fun and games along with a mechanical bull and bouncy house and slide.
Over 200 children went through the carnival by the end of the night making the event a huge success for the Ag Council.
Sigma Alpha professional agricultural sorority took over on Wednesday when they hosted the “Ag Hill Picnic” on Comer Lawn. The young ladies served plates of catfish or chicken with fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies, brownie and a drink to almost 300 people in a two-hour timespan.
Ashley Stegall, a freshman in Poultry Science and public relations chairwoman for Sigma Alpha, coordinated with the Ag Council to put on the event. Stegall boasted about the success of the picnic.
“The Ag Week Picnic was a huge success this year!” Stegall stated. “On behalf of the Sigma Alpha sisters, I would like to thank everyone who came out and bought a plate, and thank you to the college of ag and Ag Council for putting your trust in us to host the event. I am really proud of the hard work the Sigma Alpha girls put in to make this happen. We enjoyed seeing everyone there and we can’t wait for next year!”
In addition to the picnic, the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) passed out this semester’s edition of the “Agazine” – a magazine produced and edited by Agricultural Communications students. The production features articles on several different topics in agriculture written by the students and a farewell address from retiring Ag Council president Chandler Mulvaney.
Wednesday morning, long before the picnic began, two LifeSouth Blood Drive buses made their way up Ag Hill. Block & Bridle hosted a blood drive in memory of David Bufkin – father of agricultural communications senior, Michelle Bufkin. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to donate blood and raise awareness for Leukemia while supporting a fellow CoA student and her love for her father.
In the College of Agriculture, family is the most important thing. So when Bufkin’s father was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in November 2014, the college rallied behind the Bufkin family and held a blood drive in honor of her father. Since then, the Block and Bridle hosts a blood drive each year.
For Thursday morning, clubs lined the Haley Concourse for Ag Week’s first “Ag Awareness Day”. Students stood as ambassadors for agriculture and handed out informational cards on several different controversial topics in the industry.
“Ag Awareness Day is really important to those of us that are in agriculture because it gives us a chance to personally address the concerns that people may have about where their food is coming from and how it is produced. For me, the morning was about teaching people what GMO’s are, how they work, and the benefits that come along with using them,” Wendland explained.
“If there is one thing that I hope students took away from Ag awareness day, it is that they can come to us as producers with their questions and fears at any time. Our number one goal is to produce safe, healthy food in a way that is environmentally friendly, and will continue to sustain life on earth for thousands of years to come. People need to know that. To do this, we have to embrace the technology that we have available. Every other industry in the world has evolved with technology, it shouldn’t be scary if agriculture does too.”
Later that afternoon at 4 p.m., Robert Bertram, chief scientist in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security, spoke on The End of Hunger – From Vision to Reality as part of the E.T. York lecture series. The lecture took place in The Hotel at Auburn University auditorium.
The week was rounded out on Friday morning when the Ag Ambassadors hosted “Get Ag-tive” for over 100 kindergarteners from the area. Clubs and organizations put on different “field day” activities involving agriculture.
Ag Ambassador president, John Allen Nichols, was extremely satisfied with the lives touched from “Get Ag-tive.
“It was such an exhausting day, but it was great to see all clubs coming together to make a difference. We may not have taught them much, but we did our best and that’s all that matters.”
Founded in 2011, the Ag Council functions as the voice for the college of agriculture’s student body to the college faculty and administration as well as the SGA.
Administrators, faculty and numerous student leaders put in countless hours to ensure the success of Ag Week.
Megan Ross, Student Development and Programs Coordinator at the college of agriculture, serves as the advisor for the Ag Council and aided in the coordination and planning of the weeks events and activities.
“Ag Week has been a huge success,” Ross boasted. “Our students have interacted with over 1800 fellow students, faculty, and community members. I am so proud of our students and the work they have put into this week. They have given so much of their time and talents to make the events of this week really impact the Auburn University Campus and Community.”
Agricultural Communications junior, Abby Himburg, was highly satisfied with the outcome of the week.
‘”My favorite was most definitely the carnival on Tuesday. I enjoyed seeing all the clubs come together to host such a successful event for not only students but families as well,” stated Himburg. “The college of ag students always look forward to Ag week and the many fun activities that come along with it. It is because of events like Ag week that our college is such a success and allows students to form new friendships. I am so proud to be a student in the college of ag where we are always promoting agriculture and informing the public about the importance of it.”
Recently featured in Auburn Family.
Among the many opportunities to gain professional experience that Auburn University supplies students, the most sought out in the College of Agriculture is the Alumni Mentoring Program. Students in various majors within the college are selected through an application process and paired with a mentor that will best suit their job interests, internship interests, and career goals.
Students participate in the 12-month program by getting meaningful first-hand experience in their prospective fields.
This program has made lasting impacts on several students in the College of Agriculture. Karri Fievet, a senior in Poultry Science production said, “Programs like this absolutely played a huge role in my time here in Auburn. Upon transferring in, I was extremely quiet and shy. I have participated in the program three times, attaining three different mentors. Each of which has given me the chance to come out of my shell, meet tons of new people, and network with industry representatives that I never would have been connected with otherwise.”
During the fall and spring semesters, mentors and mentees are encouraged to participate in monthly activities planned by Student Services Coordinators, Megan Ross, and Amanda Martin. Meet and Greets, resume building, Etiquette workshops, job shadowing, networking, and interview training are some of the various tools a mentee will have access to.
Mentors are encouraged to attend each monthly function to share experiences and give tips to the students about the professional world outside of college. During the face-to-face meetings, mentees are encouraged to introduce themselves to other mentors to further develop their professional network.
Ashley Culpepper Grant is an alumna working at Ranch House Designs in Wharton, Texas. “I was a mentee my senior year during the fledgling year of the program,” said Grant. “As both a previous student participant and now an alumni participant, I am so grateful to be a part of this program.”
Grant realized many benefits from the program after graduation, “I wish I had put more effort into the program,” said Grant. “Participating in a program like this may not be a priority to you freshman year… I know that I was too worried about what fraternity the Velcro Pygmies were playing at when I was 19, but looking back, I realized I should have focused more on professional development opportunities during my undergraduate years.”
The mentees have several responsibilities in order to gain a full experience from the program. Students must keep regular contact with their mentor via phone, email, and/or meetings. He or she must be proactive and willing to meet their mentor at least once a month and continue the relationship through to the official end of the program. Besides networking, students are taught how to act in a professional setting. They are expected to respond to phone calls and emails from their mentors in a timely fashion and act professionally at all times. These types of skills are expected in the workforce and having these skills instilled in students now will only help them in the future.
This is Bradley Cox’s first year as a mentor in the program. Cox serves six counties in Northwest Alabama as Area Director for the Alabama Farmers Federation. Cox graduated with a bachelor of science in agriculture education in 2012 and a master’s degree in the same field in 2013.
When asked about the professional experience he was able to provide his mentee, Cox said, “I have escorted my mentee around our home office and I have made all of the events scheduled by Amanda. I have made it a point to introduce her to as many people within the agriculture industry as I possibly could. These connections and networking opportunities will pay huge dividends in the future.”
One of the most common misconceptions about being an agriculture student is everyone automatically assumes every student has some form of an agricultural background. That is not always the case. Cox had the opportunity to educate his mentee about a whole new aspect of the agriculture industry.
“Being a part of the mentor program has been so rewarding for me. My mentee does not come from an agriculture background so I have enjoyed getting to inform her about production agriculture. ”
Bradley is just one of over 50 mentors participating in the program. Each mentor is a volunteer and has every intention of assisting the mentee in every way they can.
Luke Knight, a junior in agricultural communications, has benefited from the program immensely. While job shadowing, Knight was able to open many doors and gain exposure in the industry that would have never been possible otherwise.
“This past year I was shadowing my mentor, and I was able to operate a cotton module. For a kid that didn’t grow up on a farm, that was pretty cool!”
The key importance of the program is to aid students in deciding whether their field of choice is right for them. For Knight and Feivet, the program has been a great help in deciding their future in the agriculture industry.
After having two mentors, Knight was fortunate enough to see two different sectors of the industry that has led him to focus in on his ultimate career goals. “The two mentors of mine had totally different work days and I appealed to both of them. So, I would like to work in sales for an agribusiness company upon graduation, ultimately leading to an organization that represents America’s farmers. “
Feivet shared the same views, “This program helps to open your eyes to things that Auburn graduates end up doing after they graduate and begin their lifelong career journey!
For incoming freshman and transfer students to the College of Agriculture, the Alumni Mentoring program is something each student should make an effort to join.
Knight made a point to highly recommend the program to incoming freshman and transfer students to the College of Agriculture, “This program opens your eyes to how diverse and small the agricultural industry really is. I can say that through this program the two mentors that I have had have been extremely great to me and I want a career path much like the jobs that they have. If anything, this program provides clarity to my future and really narrows in on what I want to do. These mentors are going to be your future employers one day so it is extremely beneficial for incoming students to start networking early, and finding a path they want to pursue.”
Bradley Cox couldn’t say enough about being a part of the Auburn Family. “My time at Auburn University was hands down the most rewarding experience of my life. Auburn will prepare you for your career, but more importantly, it will allow you to meet some of the best friends you will ever make. The “Auburn Family” is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an alumnus of Auburn University. You will meet people from all over the country that will have the same love for Auburn that you do. I would encourage you to get involved, to meet as many people within the industry as possible, and to have a great time…you will be a senior before you know it!”
For more information about applying to the program or becoming a mentor visit Alumni Mentoring Program.
All photos via the Alumni Mentoring Program.
Recently featured in Auburn Family
Housing is one of the most stressful parts of a student’s college career aside from classes. Trailer or mobile home living is often seen as “redneck” or trashy, but not all trailers should be judged by their flamingos. There many different advantages to living in a trailer. Once you get past the stereotypes, you will find living in a trailer can be a great experience.
When you break it down, the average cost of renting an apartment/condo/townhouse is about $700 a month (not including power, cable and other essentials). The average cost of living in a trailer, or “mobile home”, is about $500 a month including power, cable and gas – sometimes less.
Buying a trailer is more of an investment rather than throwing away four years of rent. Once you are ready to move out, you just sell it and get your most of your money back.
Flexibility with pets
If you own the trailer there is no “pet fee” if you want to bring you furry friend to college with you! You are allowed to have a fenced play area for them and most lots have a good amount of yard space. Most students that live in a trailer have a pet of some sort so your furry companion will have lots of friends!
Sharing is nonexistent (sort of)
You have your own house. You’re not sharing walls with someone above, below or beside you. Sure the walls are thin and you can probably hear someone walking across the floor but it’s better than listening to your neighbor and his flavor of the month argue and scream at each other at four in the morning. You also get your own bathroom! Yay! No sharing with a suite-mate or that roommate you were “matched” with.
Wide Open Spaces
You can do what you want when you want (providing you don’t break any major laws or commit a crime). You want to have a fish fry with the entire trailer park? Go for it! You’ve got the space. If you come from a rural part of the world, you know the importance of having breathing room. You don’t have to stress your friends over parking in the “visitor” parking lot or getting towed because you don’t have a parking pass. “Gatherings” often frequent the residents of the trailer parks and that’s ok because you can have regular events every fourth Saturday; whereas in an apartment, your neighbors would have a heart attack from all the people.
It’s your home away from home
Unlike an apartment or condo, you don’t feel like your living in a hotel room for four years. You have a yard, a fully functioning kitchen and laundry room and you have room for friends or family to visit and stay awhile. In a way, trailer living feels more permanent. The space is your own and you can tailor is to your specific style. You don’t have to worry about getting permission to paint the walls or redo the floors.
Most importantly, if you choose to live in a trailer park in college you are choosing to live in a community that’s unique from any other group of people you will encounter in your four years at Auburn. We enjoy getting new neighbors and we’ll be sad to see the old ones leave. You will live among some of the most down-to-earth, kindhearted people out there and maybe get initiated into a “secret organization” for trailer park people but you’ll have to find that out for yourself.
When asked about trailer living, agronomy and soils senior at Auburn University, Noel Welch, had a few things to say about his experience over the past four years.
“It’s been an experience for sure. My best memories of college are from sitting in Ridgewood on a Friday night with my best friends just hanging out,” said Welch, “If anyone is thinking about where to live when they come to Auburn, tell them to try living in a trailer. They won’t regret it.”
College is about experiencing new things and meeting new people. So live life on the rural side and get yourself a trailer. It’ll be the best decision you and your parents ever make.
“Hey if all else fails, haul that bad boy home and you can live on the back 40.” – Noel Welch