For me, campus events have been the most rewarding part of my year as a National Beef Ambassador. Having the opportunity to engage with students who are in the same walks of life as I am and be able to understand where they are coming from when they express their concerns about nutrition or environmental sustainability has certainly created a platform to have a meaningful conversation about beef. Below are the top 5 reasons why I believe University campus events have been the most valuable part of my National Beef Ambassador experience and why they will ultimately reap the most benefit for the beef community.
Anya and Stacy did an excellent job at planning and executing their Cornell “Beefapolouza.”
1. The event coordinators gained valuable life skills such as how to plan an event, be detail oriented, coordinate volunteers, educate peers and effectively share their passions. In addition, we as the coordinators strengthened a few of our soft skills such as being patient, effectively communicating ideas, problem solving, and being assertive to accomplish time-sensitive tasks. These are all skills that will be necessary for us to be successful in our future careers in agriculture.
2. The campus events turned volunteers into advocates. By taking students who may or may not have had a background with beef cattle, furthering their knowledge on the beef community, and giving them an outlet to share that information with their peers, we have not only deepened their understanding of our own industry, but we have excited them to continually want to learn and share more. By transforming beef supporters into beef advocates, we are ensuring that our industry will have a strong voice in years to come.
Ohio State’s “Ask a Cattlewoman” table was a place were students could have a conversation about beef on any topic they wanted to learn more about.
3. We knocked down barriers with millennials and created an atmosphere that was welcoming for students to ask questions and receive honest answers. College students understand that a group of individuals would not come and set up an event in the middle of their campus unless they believed that they had something valuable to share. Students were excited to hear what we had to say and to engage in the activities, rather than simply looking for a free handout. Students are at college to learn, and any opportunity to learn from their peers is one that they were willing to take.
4. The conversations that I had with students and faculty members were the most genuine of all the events that I have been to. While our outlooks may have differed, the people I engaged with were able to share the same general concerns as I have about finances, nutrition, and what we should eat and how we should cook it. These similarities are ultimately what were able to establish credibility with the audience and allowed us to have a real conversation about what it is about beef that they loved or questioned the most.
5. Every event was unique to the campus that we were visiting. By catering to the demographic and geographic location of each individual campus, we were able to create a different atmosphere in each state that was individualized for it’s students and campus layout. The reason that many of our beef promotion techniques have failed in the past to reach millennials is that they are too “cookie-cutter.” As a millennial myself, I know that my peers and I appreciate creativity and authenticity, and that is exactly what campus events were able to do by being created by students, for students.
These campus events have been the capstone project of my year as a National Beef Ambassador. Overall, I truly believe that our interactions with students and university faculty at our campus promotions will have the most long-term impact on those that our team was able to interact with. From our peers that we spoke with, to the volunteers, and even the event coordinators, everyone involved was able to learn something new about beef and play a role in increasing beef demand and sharing a positive message about the beef community. In my opinion, there was truly no better way to reach the millennial generation than by taking the beef right to their back door. I am so grateful to see all the beef buzz that was able to be generated simply by the power of college students connecting with college students.
All for the Love of Beef,