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MSU's Collegiate 4-H receives national honor
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A group of Mississippi State University students has spent two years breathing life into the inactive chapter of Collegiate 4-H on campus, and for those doing the hard work, recognition from the National Collegiate 4-H organization feels great.
MSU’s Collegiate 4-H received the “National New Collegiate 4-H Club of the Year” during the national organization’s recent conference hosted by the University of Maryland’s Collegiate 4-H in College Park. MSU 4-H chapter president Terence Norwood and club member Savannah Duckworth represented the club at the conference.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for MSU to showcase its Collegiate 4-H program at the national level,” said faculty adviser John Long, 4-H youth development specialist with MSU’s Extension Service. “I am proud of how far we have come in establishing a sustainable collegiate 4-H program for MSU students and the future we can offer them.”
MSU 4-H members have been involved with many philanthropic activities on campus. They have worked with the Columbus-based Palmer Home for Children, conducted toy and food drives, and pitched in when other campus service organizations needed help.
When the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion needed a student group to take over the campus sweet potato drop, Collegiate 4-H stepped up. The club incorporated the event into its agenda as hosts of the annual meeting of clubs in Southern Region Collegiate 4-H.
Photos of the drop were carried by the Associated Press and distributed nationwide. Prestigious newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal published the photos of college students stuffing 30,000 pounds of donated sweet potatoes into 10-pound bags for food pantries and soup kitchens.
MSU 4-H’ers included these photos and news clippings of other service projects in a scrapbook and prepared their application for the national honor. Judges were impressed by the body of work documented in the scrapbook and records MSU submitted.
“We felt honored and humbled because we knew there were other clubs nominated that worked as hard as we did,” Norwood said. “We also knew the other clubs in our region supported us, and they were equally as happy that MSU was recognized.”
At the conference, Norwood and Duckworth held a workshop on building better and stronger collegiate 4-H chapters. They led a panel discussion where the duo presented their ideas for success.
“We told our story, and the participants shared what they had done,” Norwood said. “We had a great time talking and laughing about getting things done.”
Winning national new club was not the only honor bestowed upon MSU’s Collegiate 4-H chapter. Norwood was elected as president of Southern Region Collegiate 4-H. In his new position, Norwood will serve on the 4-H National Action Team and coordinate interaction among member clubs in the region.
“Terence’s election is great exposure for MSU’s club on a regional and national level,” Long said. “He wants to show others that collegiate chapters take the 4-H motto of ‘make the best better’ quite seriously. As a regional leader, he will help our club and other clubs develop their full potential.”
Norwood said he hopes to work on developing his own leadership potential, too.
“When you serve others, you don’t have to worry about being rewarded,” Norwood said. “Service is the reward itself.”