Equine center

Drone image of the SIU Equine Center during the FFA Horse Judging Competition (photo by SIU Plant and Service Operations).

September 13, 2018

Agriculture competitions, trainings and tailgate parties bring over 1200 high school students to SIU

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — From horse judging contests, to FFA conferences and tailgate parties, an estimated 1200 prospective students are joining Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the College of Agricultural Sciences on campus for a September full of activity.

Prospective students joining competitions

The action started Sept. 7 with the SIU FFA Invitational Horse Judging event hosted at the SIU equine center. With over 42 local high school FFA chapters joining the competition, the event boasted nearly 400 individual participants.

Many of the high school teams used the event as preparation for the Illinois state competition. The students judged the horses based on six different classes, and were scored by official judges. Growing in popularity over the last several years, the horse judging event marked a key way to expose high school students to the work done by SIU’s equine science program, which is the only equine science bachelor’s program in Illinois.

FFA training and mentorship

On Sept. 11, the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted the State Major FFA Officer team for a training with the high school district 5 FFA section officers. Approximately 50 high school students were on campus for this event, training to be ambassadors and leaders for their local FFA chapter.

An opening ceremony was held at the SIU Student Center ballrooms Sept. 11 for FFA Greenhands and chapter officers, featuring 510 students and advisors, all participating in a variety of workshops, presentations and trainings.

For most of the students, this was the first time for them to visit the SIU campus. The fee was waived for any FFA chapter or section officers interested in applying to SIU, and approximately 36 application requests were received.

More events upcoming

The Illinois state forestry competition will be held at SIU on Sept. 15. Tested on their forestry skills, students compete with the goal of advancing to the national forestry competition.

Working in collaboration with the FFA organization, approximately 10-15 high schools will be represented at the competition. This event provides another opportunity for students to participate in campus activities and get a taste for the many unique things the forestry department has to offer.

The busy month will conclude with a tailgate party at the SIU football game on Sept. 29 for all FFA students in Illinois. These high school students will have the opportunity to experience the excitement of Saluki athletics, while also having access to all of the other activities schedule for SIU Family Weekend.

Longtime partners with FFA

FFA is focused on providing excellent support and education to the future leaders in the agriculture world. With over 669,000 members nationwide, the FFA is the largest student-led organization in the United States.

SIU is proud to have a strong partnership with the organization and is home to collegiate chapter in district five. The collegiate FFA aids local high school FFA chapters in providing judges for contests, hosting contests and serving as mentors and speakers to local chapters. The students in this organization not only assist in managing events but also serve as ambassadors for the College of Agricultural Sciences. As a registered student organization, the club is managed by student leaders and led by a faculty advisor.

For questions about supporting the organization or joining the club, contact Seburn Pense at 618/453-2467.