AGEC Students Achieve Giant Leaps Serving on Ag Week Task Force

Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor, Agricultural Economics

The Ag Week Task force works each year to bring together the entire campus community to increase Agriculture awareness and fight hunger on a global level. The Task Force is composed of students from all departments in the College of Agriculture who partner with campus professionals to make all of these activities possible. 

This year’s Ag Week achieved many milestones including hosting the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, packaging 150,000 meals to fight global hunger and engaging 2,000 students across campus through daily quizzes. 

Alexie Schroeder (Junior; Applied Agricultural Economics; Idaville, IN) lead the Task Force as this year’s President of Purdue Ag week. As the President, she assisted in a variety of ways throughout the week. One of her most notable experiences was partnering with Dean Plaut to lead the Presidential Dialogue with Mitch Daniels and Sonny Perdue. She also mentioned being part of a close knit and engaged team as being one of her biggest highlights of the week. “It was an honor to work alongside my team to bring such a successful year of Purdue Ag Week and I couldn't be more grateful for all of the help and support of the college throughout this journey.”

Alexie began serving on the Task Force as a freshman and has continued to do so ever since. “Through my involvement in Purdue Ag Week, I have been able to grow professionally as we have worked with others in the college of Agriculture to create successful events.  I have worked with people from all different departments within the college along with sponsors, industry professionals, and people from the office of the Secretary of Agriculture. These opportunities wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't gotten involved in Purdue Ag Week.”

For students who have never been a part of the Ag Week Task Force but are interested, Alexie has some advice. “To any student who has a passion for Agriculture and a desire to share the industry with others I would suggest applying for Task Force.  My experiences with Purdue Ag Week have been some of my most rewarding experiences on campus, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.” 

Haley Mood (Junior; Agrimarketing; North Salem, IN) served as the Recruitment Chair which allowed her to incorporate her passion for the Agriculture Industry and mentorship of younger students. As the chair, Haley identified new underclassmen to serve and take on leadership roles in the future. Serving in this role has given her the opportunity to share the College of Agriculture with industry professionals by utilizing her event planning and creativity.  

“The Ag Week Task Force has opened several doors for me and allowed me to develop relationships with some very cool people. Whether it’s meeting industry professionals during our Ag Expo or presenting to a group of executives requesting corporate sponsorships, it has been such an amazing experience.” 

Caroline Edmonson (Freshman; Agribusiness; Clayton, IN) served on multiple committees including the Media Team, Hammer Down Hunger and Fry Day. Fry Day was a new event this year where three of the College of Agriculture’s leadership organizations came together for an event celebrating these organizations and the work that they do.

Of all of the events she was involved in, Caroline especially enjoyed the Hammer Down Hunger Event. “My favorite part of Ag Week was getting to see so many people happily serving others through Hammer Down Hunger.  The event was fun, educational, and a great opportunity to teach people from all over campus about global food insecurity.  Seeing so many people smiling and having a great time while we packed 150,000 meals to make a difference was so great!” 

As a freshman, Brad Bertlet (Sophomore; Agribusiness; Walton, IN) witnessed the impact Ag Week had across campus and knew that he wanted to join the Task Force. His first year serving on the task force allowed him to gain experience in several areas and fill in shifts as needed.  His favorite part of being involved with the task force was the teamwork he saw from within. ”I loved seeing how the team came together to put on such a big event, It took everyone on the team to make it a success.”

Through his experience, Brad noticed he grew professionally and strengthened skills sets such as planning, organizing and putting together a large scale event like Ag Week. With such a positive experience, he plans to continue serving on the task force for the rest of his career here at Purdue.

Molly Grotjan (Freshman; Agribusiness; Zionsville, IN) has known that she wanted to be a member of the Ag Week Task Force before she was even a student at Purdue. “I was drawn by their social media accounts and the students involved. I felt like serving on the Task Force would allow me to be challenged, but would also allow me to understand more about engaging with the public about Agriculture, especially controversial topics within Agriculture.”

This year, Molly worked as a member of the task force and worked several shifts and filled in wherever she was needed. She found that her favorite part was participating in the service event, Hammer Down Hunger. “There is something so unique about finding an opportunity to serve the world right here at Purdue.” 

Molly also found that her skill sets, and those of her peers, were strengthen in many ways by participating in the Task Force. “This opportunity allows us to foster connections with industry representatives, the College of Agriculture, and current student leaders. Conflict resolution, time management, and project management are just a few of the professional skills that we get to strengthen while serving on Task Force.”  
Dane Chapman (Junior; Agrimarketing; Brookston, IN) served in many capacities during Ag week. He led the Hammer Down Hunger event as a co-chairman, but also had the chance to engage in many ways throughout the week. These experiences impacted Dane in more ways than one and allowed him to contribute to the industry he is passionate about. “Ag Week has allowed me to grow my passion for food and Agriculture while strengthening my advocacy skills. Interacting with company representatives and presenting our team's mission was also a unique opportunity that helped to further develop my ability to speak in public settings.”  

In reflecting on his experience with the Task Force, he contributes the successes to all of the students and partnering agencies involved. “I am so thankful for the amazing team of people, not only the Task Force but all other key stakeholders that helped make the 2019 Ag Week a success. We could not have done it without everyone's help and for that, I am grateful!”

Other AGEC students who served on the Ag Week Task Force were Bennet Walther, Emily Pfaffenbach, Kayla Fogg, Jake Schuler, Kathleen Jacobs, Matthew Lucas and Nick Bowser.

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