April 14, 2003

AgFest Draws Crowd

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This past Saturday, residents of Cornell and Ithaca gathered at the Livestock Pavilion for the first annual Ag Festival. Alpha Zeta Fraternity, the organizers of the event, invited a variety of local businesses and campus clubs to join in the day, which included a DJ, agriculturally-themed games for kids, and 20 booths with information about agriculture’s many opportunities.

“I like seeing an event that families can come to. Its educational but its fun as well,” said Kate Bakey ’05, who manned one of the booths as a volunteer for the Ithaca Science Center.

The event featured N.Y. State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Nathan Rudgers ’82, who spoke about agriculture and its connection to Cornell students, urging students to take the full advantage of their opportunities. Rudgers is an honorary Alpha Zeta member.

The idea for AgFest sprouted because members of the Alpha Zeta fraternity felt there was not enough information about agricultural career opportunities on campus.

“Alpha Zeta is an Ag frat. We try to promote agriculture in any way we can and we wanted to do something that incorporated Cornell and the Ithaca community. It wasn’t something we had seen before; you won’t find information about Ag opportunities at career fairs. I think it’s been a great success for its first year and we’re happy with it,” said organizer Lisa Pina.

Throughout the day Cornell students and faculty, as well as prospective students and Ithaca families wandered in and out of the Livestock Pavilion, speaking with organizers, participating in the games, and enjoying the atmosphere.

“There’s been a good flow of people throughout the day. There has been a great turnout by contributing organizations,” said Tim Oonk, associate director of alumni affairs.

Though the event was originally scheduled to be held on the Ag Quad, AgFest organiziers were pleased with the switch to the indoor Livestock Pavilion.

“We probably would have gotten slightly more traffic if we were on the Quad but this way we don’t have to deal with the wind or the soggy ground and its more centralized,” Pina said.

The event took a year to plan, and was originally proposed for Fall 2002.

“We actually started planning this last spring, working with some Alpha Zeta alumni and career development officers, who gave us contacts,” Pina said.

Alpha Zeta hopes to continue this event next year. “We want it to become an annual thing and get bigger and better every year. Now we know how things work a little better. That’s the hope though, to keep it going,” Pina said.

“We hope next year it will expand so that we can raise awareness about the agriculture industry and bring together the Ithaca community with the Cornell student population,” Oonk said.

Archived article by Logan Bromer