UConn Dairy Club is the oldest club on campus with 25-30 members that participate in public outreach and educating people about the dairy industry. Photos by Rebecca Flodquist
One of the oldest clubs on campus, the UConn Dairy Club was established in 1948. Current members of the club hope to honor the club’s long history while also establishing some more modern goals. Dairy Club’s Vice President and Publicity Chair Rebecca Flodquist talked about how she and other students in the club carry out this mission by continuing such traditions as dairy shows as well as by performing public outreach and educating people about the industry.
Dairy Club has 25-30 members who meet weekly, but Flodquist says that most of Dairy Club’s other activities are more hands-on than their meetings. In fact, Dairy Club is a very active club, hosting events on campus and also traveling to other places during the school year.
In the fall, Dairy Club takes part in Production Herd. Members bring eight heifers and 10 milking cows to the Big E to show off the cows and teach the public about them.
“Basically the whole point is to educate the public about the dairy industry,” Flodquist said. “So we have them there, and we do two milking demonstrations a day … and it’s really fun. People get to interact with the cows, and it’s something that we do every year that we really have fun with.”
Besides Production Herd, Dairy Club goes to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto in November. They go to watch the dairy shows but also stop at farms along the way to see how other farmers raise their cows. Flodquist says Dairy Club typically stops at several farms in the U.S. and then one or two in Canada so that members can see how practices might differ north of the border.
In the spring, Dairy Club hosts its own dairy show in the Horsebarn Hill Arena. Any interested student can sign up to learn how to show dairy cows, no matter their major.
“You can have no experience working with cows, you can have all the experience in the world, showing since you were little, but we hold practices so you get to work with a heifer here on campus,” Flodquist said.
In addition to these big events, Dairy Club pops up at some smaller events throughout campus. For example, Dairy Club brought three heifers to the women’s basketball game at Gampel on Nov. 10. Flodquist said that the athletics department wanted to honor UConn’s history as an agricultural school, so Dairy Club was invited to bring some cows outside the arena. The cows attracted a lot of viewers, and it was a good opportunity for the public to interact with the cows, according to Flodquist.
Dairy Club enjoys interacting with the public, as one of its aims is to educate people about the dairy industry. As more people begin to realize where their food comes from, the Dairy Club thinks it is important to teach people the truth about the industry. They want to challenge misconceptions about the way that farmers treat their animals and about the prevalence of antibiotics in milk.
“We’re really passionate about kind of dispelling those rumors and teaching people the truth about dairy farming,” Flodquist said. “It’s a really great industry, and dairy farmers are really honest, hardworking people, and unfortunately, there’s always gonna be the few that you know, kind of give a bad rap to the rest of them, but I would say a great majority of dairy farmers really care about what they’re doing, so we really try to emphasize that at all of our events.”
Given the initiative and passion of Dairy Club members, you might see them at the next event you attend!
Students can contact the Dairy Club at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also visit the Dairy Club on Facebook at UConn Dairy Club and Instagram @uconndairyclub.
Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.