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Tech Collegiate 4-H breaks new ground with service focus

While traditionally associated with cows and plows, today’s collegiate 4-H organizations, led by more than five dozen top-flight students at Texas Tech University, are broadening their campus footprint with outreach programs and community service.

Amy Schwertner is one face of the new focus of 2009.

Community Service. With traditional values firmly in hand, the senior nutritional sciences major from Miles last month welcomed more than 90 regional students, parents and Texas AgriLife extension agents to a campus outing that featured an introduction to Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, a Fuddrucker’s hamburger cookout and front-and-center seating for a Lady Red Raiders basketball game at Tech’s sprawling United Spirit Arena.

“The day was just an amazing experience,” said Schwertner, who serves as the Tech 4-H Club president.

Giving Back. Though youth 4-H concentrates primarily on competition areas like food and nutrition, photography, livestock and clothing, Schwertner pointed out that at the collegiate level things are a bit different. “We’re interested in giving back to the community and to the youth programs where many of our members got their start in 4-H,” she said.

Among the Lubbock group’s projects are a monthly community service project at organizations like the Lubbock Children’s Home, as well as program presentations at local youth 4-H clubs. “It’s extremely gratifying to work with a group of college students from all majors who are interested in giving back to society,” said David Lawver, club advisor and a professor in Tech’s Department of Agricultural Educations and Communication.

OMK in LBK. In the coming months the Tech group will team with members of the District 2 4-H Council to launch ‘Operation Military Kids’ in the South Plains hub city. Known as ‘OMK in LBK,’ the afternoon event – set for April 5 – will feature “an afternoon of ice cream and fun to honor military families in the area,” Schwertner said. “Our entire membership looks forward to honoring those who honor us each and every day.”

In an effort to boost their community service skill sets, Texas Tech is sending seven delegates from the 4-H Club and their advisor to the National Collegiate 4-H Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota this month, where they’ll share ideas and activities with other college-level clubs from around the country.

Great People. In addition, the conference delegates are set to participate in a national collegiate 4-H community project, just as they did in 2007 when they helped landscape a New Orleans’s school damaged in catastrophic Hurricane Katrina.

“Collegiate 4-H has been a way for me to express my gratitude for all of the great things that 4-H did for me during my youth,” Schwertner said. “I’ve been able to meet so many really great people from across the nation, as well as potential future employers.”

Club Leaders. In addition to Schwertner, the officers of the Texas Tech 4-H Club, which has more than 60 members, include:
• Sara Schwertner, a sophomore agricultural and applied economics major from Miles – Vice President
• Suzanne Watson, a sophomore agricultural communications major from Alice – Secretary
• Dusty Winkler, a senior petroleum engineering major from Roswell, New Mexico – Treasurer
• Amy Dromgoole, a sophomore agricultural communications major from Corpus Christi – Agricultural Council Representative
• Loni Woolley, a freshman animal sciences major from Grandview – Alternate Agricultural Council Representative

The group’s faculty advisors are Lawver and doctoral graduate student Mark Russell.

Written by Sean Cleveland

CONTACT: Amy Schwertner, President, Texas Tech 4-H Club, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at amy.schwertner@ttu.edu

 

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