University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences agricultural education students were named the Collegiate Teach Ag Day Contest winners for the second consecutive year.
National Teach Ag Day celebrates school-based agricultural education and encourages advocates to share with others the great career opportunities in ag education. Although National Teach Ag Day takes place on March 24, U of I students chose to focus on the entire month of March because they had too many activities planned to fit into one day.
"Our students deserve to be named 'champs' again for the National Teach Ag Campaign because of their creativity and commitment to promoting the great profession of agricultural education by planning a variety of activities to spread the word about a career that teaches others about the most important industry in the world," says Brandy Krapf, U of I agricultural education teaching associate.
Community outreach through one-on-one interaction, a media campaign, and social networking took awareness efforts from the college level to a much larger audience.
U of I student activities included conducting multiple television and radio interviews that were seen and heard across the state, notes Sarah Carson, a U of I junior in agricultural education and student project leader. Students also submitted newspaper articles and editorials to Illinois agricultural publications and hometown newspapers.
Students also sent out 403 handwritten thank-you notes to agriscience teachers throughout the state. Some students gave presentations in high school classrooms and developed bulletin board displays. Others conducted a bowling event and educational activities at ExplorACES, a college-wide recruitment event.
"Winning the contest two years in a row shows the quality of our educational program and the dedication of our students," Carson says. "We want people to know that agricultural education at U of I has a place and purpose for everyone. No matter what your agricultural background is, this program can benefit you and lead to an exciting and fulfilling career teaching in high schools or working in the agriculture industry."
With two national titles under their belt, U of I students want to make their Teach Ag Campaign bigger and better next year by continuing their efforts and expanding their social media campaign.
National Teach Ag Day is part of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. For more information, visit www.naae.org/teachag.