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April 19, 2012
By Coleman Cornelius
When members of an agricultural sorority serve a tasty barbecue lunch to 500 fellow CSU students next week, they also hope to dish out interesting food facts and a dollop of appreciation for the farmers and ranchers who supply our food.
“We want to convey that food doesn’t just come from the grocery store,” said Chelsea Metheny, an animal science major and lead organizer.
The Agricultural Advocacy Barbecue will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 25 on the Lory Student Center Plaza. Hosts will serve pulled-pork sandwiches, chips, drinks and ice cream to CSU students on a first-come, first-served basis. The lunch will be free.
The CSU chapter of Sigma Alpha is planning and hosting the barbecue. The sorority has about 30 members pursuing careers in agriculture. The organization, which does not have a sorority house in Fort Collins, is unique for its focus on career-building and leadership among young women entering agriculture.
The Sigma Alpha barbecue is funded largely with a Presidential Greek Vision Award totaling $1,500. The grant, awarded by the CSU President’s Office, is meant to encourage significant community-service projects among Greek organizations.
When Sigma Alpha applied for the award, the group noted that agriculture needs consumer support to continue providing safe, nutritious and affordable food and to advance as a sustainable industry.
The sorority members also noted the historical connection between agriculture and the top-tier research university they attend today: The university was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, and the College of Agricultural Sciences remains central to CSU’s mission as a land-grant university, even as CSU has evolved into a campus with nearly 30,000 students that attracts more than $300 million in annual research funding.
“We want to encourage support for agriculture and what we bring to the table,” said Jessica Brown, a sophomore studying animal science and agricultural business.
The barbecue will go beyond free food for students. It will feature signs and booths that highlight agriculture and key sectors within the food system.
So as they munch, students might be reminded that:
Sigma Alpha event planners said that alongside lunch, they want to convey the value of agriculture and the people who produce the world’s food.
“Agriculture is definitely growing in importance, especially with world food demand growing at exponential rates,” said Kelsey Brazik, who is majoring in animal science and equine science, with a minor in business. “Our barbecue will be fun, and it will also make that point.”
Also contributing to the event are donors JBS, Western Dairy Association and J.R. Simplot Co.