The University of Lethbridge Agricultural Students’ Society, fondly referred to as the Aggies by its members, is working hard to position itself as an important social network for students studying agriculture or those interested in learning more about the field.
Given that agriculture is such a vital part of southern Alberta, the students involved in the club know how valuable it is to increase agricultural knowledge on campus and in the community. They have organized a Grow the Future Gala on Friday, Mar. 16 in an effort to showcase the accomplishments of the club over the past year, as well as to inform industry in the area about the agriculture-related work being done at the university.
Christine Suominen, a third-year agricultural biotechnology co-op student and club treasurer, decided to get involved with the Aggies two years ago when she was new to the University. Suominen values her membership in the club and believes in the future of agriculture as a relevant industry for young people.
“I love getting to know the members of our club and hear about their knowledge of agriculture and where they see the industry in the future,” she says.
The club hosts several meetings and events throughout the year, including tours and industry nights that allow members to gain more information about the various career options open to them.
The Aggies are currently pursuing tours of industry sites in the Lethbridge area to provide students with an opportunity to learn about different sectors of the industry. One of their main projects for the future, the Bar UL Beef Project, involves working with Kasko Cattle Co. to purchase a steer and study the animal in their feedlot. Students will be able to obtain data that will help them learn about the nutrition, economics, veterinary care and multiple other aspects that come with the beef sector, while giving club members hands-on experience they would not see in a classroom.
Club president and fourth-year agricultural studies student, Garrett Rockafellow, joined the club to stay connected to people in the industry and to build relationships with other students in the agriculture program. He presented the club with the idea of pursuing Robert Saik as a keynote speaker for the Grow the Future Gala. Saik is a renowned author, movie producer and agricultural advocate. Known worldwide for his insight concerning leadership and business development, Saik was recognized as Canada's 2014 Agri-Marketer of the Year. His presentation will resonate with anyone interested in agri-food, entrepreneurship and the role of science and technology.
“Mr. Saik has been in the same shoes many of us are in now — he was a university student about to enter the industry at one point. We believe that he offers a lot of inspiration to youth in agriculture and has the mindset to help better the agriculture community for the future,” explains Rockafellow.
The Aggies are always open to gaining new members and are welcoming to those with or without agricultural backgrounds. They have meetings every three weeks and invite anyone interested to attend and see if they would like to join the club. The students involved have done an exceptional job at making the industry accessible to students and club members in order to assist them in finding a satisfying and successful career.
The Grow the Future Gala is a semi-formal event with a silent auction, roast beef dinner and cash bar. The event takes place on Friday, March 16, 2018 in the Students’ Union Ballroom. Cocktail hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and can be obtained by March 12 by contacting email@example.com.