An FFA Alumni group has recently joined the list of clubs at the University of Connecticut.
“Most of us were in the FFA while we were in high school, and it’s an organization for kids who want to go into agricultural careers, and we are extending that to college as an alumni chapter,” Sarah Negron, secretary of the UConn FFA Alumni group, said.
The National FFA Organization is an association established nationwide and offered in many high schools around the country for students to have a place to focus on exploring careers in agriculture. This is the first year for an alumni group for college students to form on campus, Negron said.
Joining the FFA Alumni group provides bountiful opportunities for agricultural students looking to make connections, said Jon Tumolo, vice president of the UConn FFA Alumni group.
“For the Connecticut FFA association there are over 3,000 high school students in our state, so there are opportunities to volunteer at our state conference and to get scholarships for the students,” Tumolo said.
The group is currently planning for volunteer opportunities and local events in the near future, Negron said.
“We are hoping to do fundraisers and we want donations from other alumni chapters, or people from the school,” Negron said.
Planning for future fundraisers and publicity events have begun with the help of a $500 startup grant from the National FFA Association, Tumolo said.
“With the money we can start fundraising like going locally, like at Storrs Center, plant sales or even bake sales. There are tons of ideas that we have been coming up with, but we are still brand new and trying to narrow down the exact path we want to take,” Tumolo said.
One long-term goal for the UConn FFA is to next year make it to the National FFA Convention and represent UConn to students and business leaders, which is hosted in Indiana from Oct. 24 to 27 this year, Negron said.
“It is the largest youth conference in the United States, so it gives students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and recruit for the University of Connecticut as well as make connections with industry leaders and also have the opportunity to network for jobs and internships post graduation,” Tumolo said.
Scholarships are available to students in the FFA Alumni group, Tumolo said.
“When we have scholarships in place for high school students, it can go towards books, tuition or even a new laptop. It is all their choice,” Tumolo said.
The FFA also has a program called “Give the Gift of Blue,” which gifts FFA jackets, which are part of the official uniform for events, to high school FFA members in need, Tumolo said.
“We provide high school students, who can’t afford the official FFA jacket, a jacket for themselves with their name and chapter on it,” Tumolo said.
Meetings for the UConn FFA are every two weeks on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in room 138 of the Young Building, Negron said.
“Students that were in the FFA in high school or students that plan on going into an agricultural related career are encouraged to come, but anyone is welcome,” Negron said. “We also have an Instagram and Facebook, @uconnffa.”
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.