College commences 10-day CAFNR Week

The 10-day event commenced Monday night.
Amy Oslica / Graphic Designer

Students will bring the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to area kids this week and next as part of its annual CAFNR Week.

The event, which actually spans 10 days, includes presentations at a mud volleyball tournament, participation in Columbia's Twilight Festival, an expo at Lowry Mall and a comedy skit night. The events culminate on Sept. 25 with Barnwarming, a dance party held at The Blue Note in downtown Columbia.

Each club involved with the college selected a king and queen who will participate in all of the week's events. The agriculture-themed organizations will compete against one another for points toward the 2008 title. Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity holds the bragging rights from their victory last year. 

Ed Cope of the CAFNR Week Contest Committee said he sees the friendly rivalry as important to uniting students within their clubs and as part of the college.

"It's a chance to do something fun with friends," Cope said. "It provides for the building of relationships and camaraderie within the school."

In addition to the fun for students and club members, CAFNR Week also has an altruistic purpose in promoting farm safety.

"The events are a way for the clubs within CAFNR to work together and have fun as well as to raise money for a charity," CAFNR Week Fundraising Committee member Adam Keene said. Keene said several outside agricultural companies sponsor CAFNR Week as a whole, while clubs sponsor individual events. The proceeds are donated to Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, an organization that aims to promote safe farm environments and prevent farm-related injuries in children, according to its Web site.

The first events will be Ag in Classrooms, a series of presentations by the clubs at local elementary schools that touch on basic themes in agriculture. On Monday night, each club's royalty picked the school where they wanted to speak. The talks aim to get children thinking about the importance of plants in their lives and the need to preserve the environment.

The agriculture economics club was among the first groups to give its presentation, teaching students how to make butter from cream. Secretary Jeromie Allen said he was excited that his club was off to a quick start in the points but was also happy to see the students learning.

"We showed students that food products don't just come from the grocery store and that there's a process in taking one product and making it into another," Allen said. "I'm looking forward to the points but it's about promoting the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources."

On Thursday, CAFNR Week heads out of the classroom and into town as the clubs will take part in Columbia's weekly summer Twilight Festival. Between soaking up the downtown architecture and the live music of street musicians, CAFNR members will host kid-oriented booths where visitors participate in educational activities centered around the festival's theme, "Stream Extravaganza." There will also be a barbecue and food giveaway.

Next week, CAFNR week will host the Lil' Ag Expo in Lowry Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday. There the clubs will provide free food and distribute information on the majors and career opportunities that are available through the college.

The festivities wrap up with the CAFNR Barnwarming on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. The official king and queen of CAFNR Week will be chosen from the royalty of all the clubs. Club members will get a final chance to dance, hang out with their new friends and rack up their final points toward the bragging rights for the year.

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