College Aggies Online Kicks Off 6th Year with Record Participation
September 8, 2014 –With students from more than 45 colleges and universities representing more than 31 states and Canada signed up to compete, the Animal Agriculture Alliance today begins its sixth annual College Aggies Online Scholarship competition (CAO). CAO helps college students with an interest in agriculture become confident, positive and proactive communicators for the entire industry.
“With over 150 students and more than 25 clubs already signed up to compete—and more coming in every day, we are positioned to surpass last year’s participation and set an all-time record for the program,” said Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith. “The incredible interest and record sign-ups certainly speaks to the value the program provides to college students and the prestige that new Program Mentor, Andy Vance, adds to this already successful initiative.”
This year, the Alliance staff has collaborated intensively with Vance, as well as the program’s sponsors, to create new and inventive challenges that will help students learn how to connect with and beyond industry stakeholders both on-line, on-campus and in their local communities. In the first few weeks of the competition, students competing as individuals will learn from Vance and other communications experts the best practices for social media engagement, blogging and public speaking. In subsequent weeks these basic skills will be put to the test as competitors are tasked with participating in webinars, Twitter chats, Google+ hangouts, as well as writing blogs, letters to the editor and creating “memes” to share on Instagram and Facebook.
“The entire individual competition will culminate this year in a public speaking assignment where students will put their knowledge about hot topics affecting agriculture to the test and literally tell ag’s story in a positive and proactive way,” said Alliance Vice President of Communications and
Membership Emily Meredith.
This year’s program’s success can also be attributed to the industry experts and sponsors, including Tyson Foods, Inc., the National Pork Producers Council Foundation, Ohio Poultry Association, and others who will share their expertise with the 2014 participants. “Professionals in this industry really helped me get my bearings when I was starting out as a college student, and I want to ‘pay it forward’ by doing the same for this class of College Aggies Online,” Vance said. “We’ve already begun the dialogue via the program’s Facebook page, and I’m impressed with the depth of discussion taking place among the students.”
The more than 25 clubs currently signed up (a new record) will also be undertaking fresh, brand new challenges this year, including taking the SNAP benefits challenge, visiting elementary schools to host an “Ag Show & Tell,” promoting the recovery benefits of chocolate milk at their campus gyms or after local marathons, and taking a club field trip to meet with state legislators.
The final points will be tallied in late November and the club with the most points will receive a $5,000.00 scholarship, national recognition and a trip for two representatives to attend the Alliance’s annual Stakeholders Summit in May 2015. The first place individual will win a $2,500.00 scholarship and a trip to Summit. Scholarships and recognition will also be awarded to the runner up in the club competition and to the second and third placing individuals.
To learn more about the competition and how to sign up, or for a complete list of the 2014 Program. Sponsors, please visit the Alliance website.
About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance is an industry-united, nonprofit organization that helps bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation. Find the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter.
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