On a Thursday afternoon, the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS) entertained hundreds of students, faculty, staff and local residents at the university farm. To honor students, guests experienced a modern day twist to the “Western Soiree”.
As the CAHS dean, Dr. Alton Johnson stated, “honoring our students is our intention and encouraging all University students to continue striving for excellence. We have a deep sense of pride, responsibility and commitment to use our talents in the application of knowledge to advance our State in the global economy through agriculture.”
As the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaches nearly $1.8 trillion in the agricultural sector, it is crucial that all land grant universities tap into the talented minds of the youth and provide quality education to the non-traditional learner about agricultural career opportunities. The campus farm is the educational laboratory for harnessing literacy of crop and livestock production, and identifies revenue for startup businesses.
The CAHS has more distinct characteristics than any other because it is supported by teaching, research and extension. This three part mission allows multiple disciplines to integrate with a different perspective in the scope of agriculture regarding a multi-ethnic Texas.
Johnson continued, “With creativity, faculty is finding new ways to develop educated and productive citizens. Our researchers are increasing shelf life of milk, protecting fruit against sunlight, removing allergens from peanuts, and developing strategies to enhance watershed functionality while meeting needs and changing the lives of Texans through extension.”
In many communities, agriculture reduces poverty and is poised to reconstruct the socio-economics of a people. This is done through local resources to build entrepreneurship. Success in agriculture stimulates growth with enterprises and attracts a new class of viable agribusiness by promoting leadership and management skills.
It is central that agriculture is viewed as a long term career field in a decreasing economy yet population is steadily increasing, bright, talented and ambitious youth listened intently as alum Carl Taylor, owner of Bonfire Wings, charged them with knowledge and effectiveness of global agricultural awareness and responsiveness.
The university farm was transformed into a chic cowboy venue where guests listened to music that infused country, rhythm & blues, and hip hop into a coveted playlist. Encouraged to wear their best western attire, boots and hats to the modern “Western Soiree”, each generational guest brought their roots and style to the event.
When speaking with guests, each voiced their amazement of what the CAHS offered from academics to careers and how it helped to provide industry strengths. The event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the academic pride of students, flatter the crowd as the rodeo and livestock teams demonstrated roping techniques, and detailed skills and hands on experiences from veterinarian medicine to farm management in a real world setting. What started as an event to honor students who excelled in academics quickly became the capstone of educating masses of what one small university college can offer the world.
The occasion involved a menu filled with beef, pork and goat products, vegetables and desserts raised, produced and processed from the university farm. Everyone at the event revered over the food selection and the fresh palatable taste of the cuisine. The day did not end with the meal as guests enjoyed activities that included: hayrides, cattle roping, horseback riding, breathtaking landscapes and line dancing.
Having attentive audiences and eager administrators make for memorable moments. As one resident stated, “Prairie View A&M University is the staple of the community and I come to every event that is offered. There is just something about the vibe here that makes the community want to come out. It’s most gratifying.”
The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences is essential to enriching students with fresh perspectives, broad knowledge and leading edge research to the agricultural industry. This soiree was important in illustrating the strength of the program and to support the new direction of the college. Students met scientist ranging from biotechnology to crop management and animal health and reproduction. Agriculture is vital to the economy and addresses issues of profitability, environmental impact and health.
By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon