Dairy Science Club Hopes To Leave Lasting Impact On Penn State
The Penn State Dairy Science Club was founded on the principle of giving students with an interest in dairy an opportunity to continue their passion in college. Together, the 80 members of the club spend their semesters learning about the dairy industry as well as volunteering around the community.
“I got into dairy before I got here, but the dairy program at Penn State was a big reason I came to this school, so the Dairy Science Club let me meet a bunch of people with similar interests,” club president Shoshana Brody said. “It brings us all together.”
The club’s year starts in September when members make the trip to Harrisburg for the annual Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show. At this youth event, held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Show, members help set up for the show, register dairy cattle from all across the state, and assist in the show ring on show day.
Members come back to Harrisburg in January to volunteer at the Pennsylvania Farm Show for the duration of the season. They help the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association sell cheese cubes, milkshakes, and grilled cheese to visitors.
Back here on campus, the club works hard to connect dairy within the Penn State community. The spring is the prime time for all of these events.
One of the club’s largest events is “Meet-A-Farm-Animal Day.” Around 400 kindergarten through second grade-aged children visit Penn State to catch a glimpse of campus as well as to meet various farm animals. University livestock farms and Department of Animal Science clubs work together in hosting this event. The day even features the Penn State Dairy Princess, a member elected by the club to help promote dairy on campus.
“It is a valuable event because it exposes young students to agriculture and allows them to ask questions about the animals,” Brody said.
The Osteochallenge 5K is another big part of the agenda for the spring semester. To help promote the benefits of dairy while also raising money, the club hosts an annual 5K walk/run to support the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
The club also has various events in the spring and summer for members of 4-H and FFA. Over the summer, kids with an interest in dairy can attend Dairy Days Cow Camp at Penn State. 4-H and FFA members also visit Penn State for two different dairy judging contests. This allows the chance for kids to come together to celebrate their passion for agriculture while learning more about Penn State.
Fundraisers are another big part of the club, as there are two that it has been putting on for over 30 years.
For the past 36 years, the Dairy Science Club has worked with the Pennsylvania Holstein Association to find the best cows in Pennsylvania and surrounding states for their annual Nittany Lion Fall Classic. At the Fall Classic, cows are auctioned off to buyers around the country. Although most of the animals are sold to customers in Pennsylvania, this year’s sale also featured buyers from as far away as California.
Another major fundraiser for the club is the Cheesebox Sale. This annual sale has been happening for over 40 years. The club partners with the Penn State Berkey Creamery to package cheese boxes that people can buy as gifts for the holiday season.
These two fundraisers come together to support the Spring Trip that Dairy Science Club members take each year. On alternating years, the club either takes an international trip or stays in the United States. Last year, the club traveled to the Netherlands. This year, it will visit another region of the United States. This trip provides the opportunity to see the ways that the dairy industry differs in different areas around the world.
Overall, the club hopes to grow a connection to the community surrounding Penn State through its events. Several events throughout the year have allowed more people to learn about what Penn State has to offer while teaching the importance of our farmers.
Club treasurer Isaac Clements had a perfect description regarding the importance of Penn State’s Dairy Science Club.
“Every farmer matters. By 2050, the population is going to be about nine billion,” Clements said. “We need every farmer to help grow food or [provide] dairy products. [We need] agriculture to help feed the future of the world.”
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