Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Agronomy Club recently received the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Week Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization Award. Alex Baumert, an agronomy sophomore, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization Member Award. Presentations were made during the Steve and Jessie Waller Awards Luncheon on March 8, part of the 19th annual CASNR Week celebration.
The organization award recognizes extra experience and enjoyment for undergraduate and graduate students in college. The member award recognizes an outstanding member of an undergraduate organization.
Past club president Samantha Teten said the club has had exceptional growth and involvement in CASNR with active membership and service learning events doubling in the last two years.
“This club brought a lot of attention to CASNR last spring by hosting the Spring Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences meeting in Lincoln for approximately 200 students from across the nation,” Teten said. “Through this event, students explored Nebraska agriculture and brought attention to the graduate programs within the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.”
“We have a really great group of students in the organization right now,” said Meghan Sindelar, assistant professor of practice of agronomy and co-advisor.
“Hosting the 2018 SASES meeting is what led to the club being named the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization,” Sindelar said. “They had a great vision to share Nebraska agriculture with their peers across the United States and worked hard to set up tours, speakers and opportunities that highlight Nebraska and CASNR.”
Club members have represented CASNR and Nebraska well at national competitions. They received second place in the President's Trophy Outstanding Club award at the 2018 American Society of Agronomy conference.
Members provide many service and outreach activities focused on increasing ag literacy and recruiting future agronomy majors. They are involved in CASNR events such as the Advisory Board, Husker Food Connection and CASNR week community night. The club sponsored Experience Agronomy Day for high school students. They also organize and host an FFA career development event during the annual Nebraska State FFA Convention.
“Members also participate in learning activities for Lincoln Public Schools. We help with multiple educational activities with area elementary schools, educating students about the importance of agriculture and ag literacy,” said Jake Krings, current Agronomy Club president.
Through career events and hosting bi-weekly industry speakers, the club has helped students find internships and jobs. They also host events to honor agronomy faculty, staff and emeriti.
“But most important, the club creates a sense of community and family that helps students find their friends on campus and stay involved," Teten said.
“As a transfer student, the Agronomy Club was one of the first places where I made friends on campus, and the members are always friendly and willing to lend a hand,’ Krings said.
Baumert, recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Member award, is described as hard-working, reliable, kind and willing to volunteer for the club’s service learning activities.
“As the president of the club, Alex was someone I could count on to accomplish tasks and was great to bounce ideas off of,” Teten said. “He came to college a little shy and quiet, so it has been a joy to watch him grow as a student and leader throughout his time as a member. He does not come from a traditional farming background, which makes his perspective and passion for agriculture even more impressive.”
Krings said the thing that truly makes the Agronomy Club great is the involvement of its members and their ability to make the club a success.
The awards were established in 2001 as part of CASNR Week to empower students and provide them with opportunities to gain skills and leadership experience, and to be recognized for their contributions to clubs and organizations. This program provides students the opportunity to run their own awards program, develop criteria, solicit nominations, screen and select recipients, and organize and host the awards program.
The awards also thank faculty and staff making a difference in student educational experiences.
“This is very much a peer driven program for students and I do think that the faculty and staff place it as one of the most memorable nominations/award, since it is recognition by the students, said Steve Waller, emeritus dean of CASNR and current interim director of UNL’s Center for Grassland Studies. “The students and student organizations recognized know that it is an acknowledgment by their peers, which is one of the highest compliments and validates the value of their efforts.”
Students interested in joining the Agronomy Club can contact Krings at firstname.lastname@example.org.