While overcast conditions eventually gave way to a rainy Friday morning, students entering the Poole Agricultural Center on Clemson University’s main campus were greeted by warm coffee, fresh doughnuts and the friendly faces of Katie Martin and Carey Herndon.
Together, the two members of Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) were putting the wraps on a successful agriculture awareness week.
“Agriculture awareness week is our biggest thing every year,” said Martin, a junior from just down the road in Pendleton, South Carolina. “We decided this year to kick it off in conjunction with the Food Summit, which was held last Saturday. We went there and gave out free stickers and continued throughout the week with various promotional appearances. We tabled on library bridge earlier this week. On Thursday, we set up in McGinty Mall (the Ag quad) and gave out some Certified SC Grown products.”
On this particular day, Martin and Herndon had set up a table and handwritten thank-you notes to various donors who have made an impact within the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. Their generosity to passersby came prior to the All In Market, which was set up from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in Carillon Garden, where vendors and local produce sellers have come together a few times this year to offer an assortment of alternative food options for students, faculty and staff.
Martin and Herndon are among 12 members of CUSG’s agriculture affairs committee. Martin is an agricultural education major, with an emphasis in teaching, and is a student senator. She joined CUSG as a second-semester freshman and hopes to earn certification to be able to teach agriculture classes at either the middle school or high school level. Because her major is broad, she has taken a wide range of courses to expand her education.
“I have taken or will take classes in horticulture, animal science, wildlife, agricultural mechanization — anything and everything, really,” she said. “I could potentially be teaching students about it one day. I consider it a jack of all trades, master of none.”
Like Martin, Herndon grew up in the state of South Carolina. She hails from Bamberg, where she grew up around farming. Martin was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in high school, while Herndon was a member of the 4-H youth development organization. Both have carried that interest over to Clemson as part of the Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter. She is a sophomore communication major, with an emphasis in agriculture. She hopes to go into public relations and help build better relationships between farmers and consumers.
While many Clemson students have a good idea of Clemson’s history with agriculture, Martin and Herndon both noted the importance of spreading that awareness across the university. This past week’s efforts were indicative of that.
“We pride ourselves as a committee on bringing in a diversity of majors,” Martin said. “We try and bring in a lot of different perspectives, so we reach everyone rather than just people like us. We make sure we’re getting across campus, and in years to come I could definitely see us branching out and doing more of these types of events.”
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