University News

WIU Agriculture Students Earns Top Honors from the Animal Agriculture Alliance

December 8, 2016

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MACOMB, IL -- For the second consecutive year, the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture's "Communicating Agricultural Issues" course was named the first place student organization winner in the annual Animal Agriculture Alliance's College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition.

The course, which comprised of 64 students in three sections, is taught by agriculture instructor and WIU alumna Janna Knupp. Students, as a class, competed against more than 30 student agriculture organizations from colleges and universities across the U.S. for scholarship funds. The competition was a nine-week program during which student organizations completed club challenges, including holding an "Ag Day" on campus, teaching at local elementary schools, handing out candy-wrapped with meat myths and facts and much more, Knupp explained. The clubs received points for each challenge they completed. As the first place winner, the WIU School of Agriculture received $2,500 in scholarship funds, and one representative from the course will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Alliance's 2017 Stakeholders Summit May 3-4 in Kansas City, MO.

"In nine weeks, we managed to talk to nearly 2,000 people about agriculture, all while the students improved their understanding of agriculture issues, communication skills and teamwork," Knupp said.

As part of the competition, which serves to educate the public about the importance of agriculture, the WIU Agriculture Club completed the following activities:

* Distributing more than 600 half-pints of chocolate milk, donated by Prairie Farms, to runners at the Homecoming 5K and Fallen Soldiers 5K to promote dairy and the muscle regeneration powers of chocolate milk.

* Handed out over 200 pounds of apples, purchased from Camp Grove Orchard near Good Hope, and caramel to the campus community to promote Illinois produce and eating locally.

* Hosted the showing of the movie, "Bitter Seeds," in conjunction with Sustainability Week, which illustrated the struggles of farmers in India.

* Handed out over 500 pieces of candy with meat myths attached to dispel common myths about livestock production.

* Distributed 100 samples of pork and beef, which included nutritional information, to illustrate the nutrients found in lean cuts of beef and pork.

* Visited first and second grade Lincoln Elementary School students to teach lessons on pumpkins and pumpkin production and a lesson on where food comes from, which included an activity making cracker pizzas.

* Gave out 200 "pumpkin pies in a cup" to promote pumpkin production in Illinois.

* Hosted a showing of the documentary "Dive: Living Off America's Waste" to 65 students to educate about food waste in the U.S.

* Hosted two tours of the WIU farm, with more than 30 people in attendance who had never been visited a farm.

* Hosted 35 preschoolers from The Crossing Preschool at the WIU farm for "Little Farmers University."

* Sponsored a speakers panel with Ada Neighbors and Dan Murphy from Sodexo to discuss food waste on campus.

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