mAGnify: A Closer Look at Agriculture is the theme of this week’s 4th annual Purdue Ag Week, a week in which many daily events are created by ag students for the general student population passing through the Memorial Mall on campus. Zach Frazier, Ag Week Task Force president, tells HAT the ag clubs participating try to engage with those students, not educate them.
“One of the things we really strive for during Ag Week is that we don’t necessarily want to push a stance. Nobody really wants to come be educated so we really do want to engage. One of the things we encourage our option clubs to do is ask questions and let them give you an answer. Then talk about what the differences and what that answer means to you vs. what that answer means to them and let them leave with the thought process that maybe that’s not what I thought it was.”
According to Frazier, a junior from Pennsylvania majoring in agricultural economics and animal sciences, addressing hunger is one of their focuses this week.
“We did a Hammer Down Hunger event (Tuesday night) where we packed 70,038 meals that we’ll send to food-insecure children in Haiti, and a follow up event to that is an Oxfam Hunger dinner. The combination of those two events is to highlight food insecurity around the world and get people more aware of why we do the research that we do in ag.”
At a think tank session presented by the Purdue Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney took questions from college of ag students, and one message he shared was that the outreach efforts of Purdue Ag Week need to continue.
“We always have to re-brand ourselves and find that next new innovative marketing hook, and yes, you’ve got to keep doing that. We do need to have these kinds of dialogue and meaningful exchanges, and I would urge you to work very hard to get the non-ag audience engaged, which is what I think you’ve been trying to do with the things on the mall, and way to go!”
Among the over 20 Purdue Ag Week events this year were:
Farmer 5K—an agriculture-themed run and walk around Purdue’s campus sponsored by the Purdue Collegiate FFA Chapter.
Milk Monday—an event emphasizing the dairy industry during which members of the Purdue Dairy Club will give away hundreds of grilled cheese sandwiches and cartons of milk.
Farmer’s Breakfast—an opportunity for the Purdue community to enjoy a morning meal by paying $0.25, which represents the profits a farmer would make on the breakfast.
Oxfam Hunger Banquet—student leaders are invited to a unique dining experience to learn about the effects of global hunger.
Hammer Down Hunger –a meal-packing event open to all students and campus organizations that aims to pack 70,000 meals to send to children in Haiti.