Dairy graduation Fall signals the return of students back to school and the re-launch of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s third annual College Aggies Online (CAO) agriculture advocacy scholarship program on October 3, 2011. This competition helps undergraduate students with a passion for agriculture become confident advocates for the industry.
Last year, approximately 600 students representing more than 50 universities participated in the CAO. On the program’s private forum, accessible at http://aggiesonline.ning.com, students posted photos, responded to blogs and completed “aggie homework” in order to earn points for themselves and their collegiate clubs.
“The growth of College Aggies Online demonstrates the increasing drive that student agriculturalists feel to effectively communicate with their peers about food production,” said Alliance Executive Vice President Kay Johnson Smith. “In particular, social media allows young agriculturists from across the country to connect while learning new ways to share agriculture’s story.”
Students with an interest in agriculture (including those who are involved in agriculture-related clubs at any college or university) are encouraged to sign up at http://aggiesonline.ning.com. Starting October 3, students will earn points by customizing their profile, uploading photos, writing blog posts, and participating in challenges outside of the network. Students are also encouraged to write opinion pieces and host agriculture advocacy events at their school to earn more points for their club. The Alliance provides resources, including a “Meet Your Meat” brochure, for assistance in planning an activity on campus.
“By actively participating in College Aggies Online, students are better prepared to answer questions about current agriculture issues at a future job or when talking to the public.” stated Johnson Smith.
The final points will be tallied in April 2012 and the club with the most points will receive a $1,000 scholarship, national recognition and a trip for one representative to Washington, D.C. for the Alliance’s annual Stakeholders Summit in May. Scholarships and recognition will also be awarded to the runner-up in the club competition as well as to the two top-placing individuals.
Last year Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Cattlemen’s Club took home top honors and was represented by Jacob Nyhuis at the Summit.
To learn more about the competition, visit the CAO Facebook page. Interested collegiate clubs or departments can also contact Krissa Welshans, Project Coordinator, at Krissa.g.Thom@gmail.com. Industry stakeholders interested in program sponsorship opportunities should contact Krissa or visit the Alliance's website for more information.