Michigan State University Collegiate 4-H Club launched

With enthusiasm, students and advisors bring Collegiate 4-H Club to Michigan State as an official registered student organization.

A green 4-H clover on a black background with a white graduation cap and the words Collegiate 4-H Michigan State University.
MSU Collegiate 4-H Club logo designed by club president, Kiera Goward.

Michigan State University (MSU) has more than 1,000 official registered student organizations (RSOs). As indicated by MSU’s Office of Spartan Experiences, a RSO “is a volunteer group of enrolled students organized to obtain certain goals and objectives met through education, social, cultural, religious or philanthropic activities. These activities enhance and support MSU students, the university and the community. Engaged participation in student organizations benefits students’ growth and education while attending the university.”

The goals of an RSO are very similar to those of a 4-H club and many college students miss the comradery of that experience. To that end, MSU Collegiate 4-H launched on September 27, and is open to any MSU student. Members include current 4-H'ers, 4-H alumni, non-4-H’ers, former FFA members and graduate students. As long as a person is an MSU student, there is a way to be involved and become an official volunteer.

Collegiate 4-H clubs exist across the country at a variety of higher education institutions, not just land-grant universities, where the 4-H youth development programs are typically administered. As a member of a collegiate 4-H program, students can interact and engage with faculty and staff of the state’s Extension and 4-H programs, as well as work with volunteers and 4-H youth throughout their community and state. Membership allows collegiate 4-H members to explore career and volunteer opportunities within Cooperative Extension and 4-H. Attending professional development conferences, career networking events, community service, and facilitating experiences for youth are all common activities in collegiate 4-H programs. In Michigan, collegiate 4-H groups are also forming at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and Lake Superior State University (LSSU). To learn more about NMU's program, contact Liana Pepin. To learn more about LSSU, contact Margaret Merchberger.

According to NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture), a division of USDA (United State Department of Agriculture), the purpose of a collegiate 4-H program is service, leadership development and professional development. In addition, MSU Collegiate 4-H Club members support 4-H Youth Development programs and events while fostering leadership, volunteerism, community service and workforce development skills.

Collegiate 4-H activities can range from working directly with state, county or local 4-H groups, to serving as volunteer leaders for projects, educational workshops, contests and judging competitions. It could also be assisting with service projects. Additionally, collegiate 4-H programs should be participating in campus activities through involvement in community service projects and promoting positive youth development.

Members of the club engaging in pumpkin painting. Photo provided by club advisor Randy Laurenz.

Interacting with older 4-H members and college students is energizing and contagious! MSU Collegiate 4-H is quickly becoming a team of friends with common interests, ready to move forward in 2024 and share more experiences together. Collegiate 4-H will meet every two weeks in the spring semester. Meeting information, the club constitution and more may be found on the club page of the Involve@State site. For more information about the MSU Collegiate 4-H Club, contact student President Kiera Goward at gowardki@msu.edu, or either of the club advisors; Deb Barrett at smithde6@msu.edu or Randy Laurenz at laurenz2@msu.edu.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

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