College students are lining up for the chance to win more than $25,000 in scholarships while advocating for agriculture in the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 10th annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition which kicks off September 10.
The nine-week competition empowers undergraduate and graduate students to advocate for agriculture as industry mentors offer expertise and guidance. The competition includes an individual and club division. Individuals develop communication skills by tackling weekly challenges and creating social media content. Clubs host events, such as farm tours, food drives, and campus booths, inviting their peers to have a conversation about agriculture. Last year, students reached 4.4 million people on social media and more than 16,000 people at club events.
“College Aggies Online was a fantastic opportunity to gain real, hands-on experience in advocating for agriculture, while stuck in the mundane routine of graduate school,” said Erica Ballmer, 2017 CAO first place winner. “I am thankful for everything I learned throughout the competition and look forward to applying the skills I gained in my future career.”
Dairy Management Inc. is the platinum sponsor of the competition. “It’s more important than ever that young people become connected to where their food comes from and the College Aggies Online program is a great way to empower agriculture communicators to do just that,” said Lisa McComb, DMI senior vice president of Communications and Animal Agriculture Alliance Board member. “We’re thrilled to support this program that will help make that farm-to-fork connection while also providing valuable scholarship funds.”
As part of DMI’s sponsorship, Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital initiatives, will serve as one of the program mentors and webinar hosts for the individual division. For the club division, DMI is sponsoring the “Undeniably Dairy” challenge, which encourages students to hand out chocolate milk at an athletic event as a recovery drink, give away pizza and tacos at campus events, and talk with their peers about dairy farming and agriculture. Students are encouraged to have dairy farmers participate in the event as a way to bring the farm closer to campus. This is the fifth year DMI has sponsored CAO.
CAO would not be possible without the generous support of DMI and other 2018 program sponsors including: Seaboard Foundation, National Pork Industry Foundation, Cooper Family Foundation, Diamond V, Monsanto, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Board, Alltech, Vivayic, Ohio Poultry Association, Domino’s Pizza Inc., National Chicken Council, and Pennsylvania Beef Council.