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A voice for Aggies

Aggie clubs and teams at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are represented on the NCTA Student Senate, gathered here on the steps of the historic Agriculture Hall. (Annie Bassett / NCTA Photo)
Aggie clubs and teams at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are represented on the NCTA Student Senate, gathered here on the steps of the historic Agriculture Hall. (Annie Bassett / NCTA Photo)

By NCTA Dean Larry Gossen, Ph.D.

James Lee appreciates the leadership skills he gained as an FFA member at Sutherland High School.

Now, in his second semester as a college freshman in Curtis at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, the agribusiness major and former Sutherland Sailor is leading the Aggie student body.

He was elected vice president of NCTA Student Senate last fall when he attended the Senate’s organizational meeting, as a first-year representative of the NCTA Business Club.

Last week, James officially moved into the president’s role when Sarah Campbell, a veterinary technician student in her final eight weeks at NCTA, left for a student internship and work experience before she graduates with an associate degree May 6.

James is comfortable leading a meeting, setting an agenda, working with fellow officers, and using the parliamentary skills he honed as an FFA member.

“The Student Senate provides a voice for the entire student body on or off campus,” he says. “We represent all of the various clubs, teams and student organizations, and give input to improvements or activities we like to see around campus. These are our ideas and proposals we can bring to the Dean’s Office that they might be able to help us with at NCTA.”

As the college’s dean, I applaud the attitude and goals of our Aggie students and I look forward to our conversations enjoyed throughout the week, not just as meetings of the Student Senate or the Dean’s Council.

Leadership skills are an important component of youth programs, particularly in FFA. At college, we strive to broaden their early training and experiences in developing leadership, confidence, communication, personal integrity and responsibility, and respect for all perspectives and individuals.

Aggie representatives

Aggie academic competition teams and official student clubs approved by the Student Senate each have student leaders, a faculty or staff advisor, and a charter or organizational bylaws which guide their function and policies.

The competition teams are Crops Judging, Livestock Judging, Ranch Horse, Rodeo, Shotgun Sports, and Stock Dogs.

Student clubs are Ag Mechanics, Business, Collegiate Cattlemen, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate 4-H, Farm Bureau, CRU, Horticulture, Safari, Student Technicians of Veterinary Medicine Association, Intramurals, Phi Theta Kappa, and Women in Ag.

Student Senate officers for Spring semester are James Lee, Sutherland, president; Jose de la Cruz, Columbus, vice president; Taylor Hendrix, Holyoke, Colo., treasurer; Aubrey Kelly, Waverly, secretary; Dean’s Council representatives, Macy Zentner, Cedar Rapids, and Ayden Long, Lebanon, Kansas.

Macy and Ayden serve on the Dean’s Council, meeting with faculty and administrators and giving updates from the Student Senate.

Their input and that of all Aggie students is helpful in designing campus programs, safety concerns for lighting, roads, sidewalks and parking, student service projects at NCTA or in the Curtis community, and financial support to student resources and events.

Recently, the Student Senate conducted a survey of Aggie students about their priorities and the order we should use in paving parking areas and improving roads and sidewalks. Nearly 200 students gave voice to their priorities, starting with pavement at the Vet Tech complex.

Last week I attended the Student Senate meeting to seek input on improvements they would like to see at the Student Activities Center (The Barn) to increase student use and enjoyment of the old gymnasium. The historic building houses Chandie’s Castle Deli and is fully air conditioned for hot summer days. The Senate suggested adding pool tables, basketball hoops and more game tables.

As our graduates and alumni return to NCTA for the Aggie Alumni Reunion on June 26, they may see some of the upgrades around campus. The Aggie student council started 50 years ago is still a strong advocate for NCTA students. We aim to keep it that way.

Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries. NCTA is known for its affordable tuition, high job-placement rate for its graduates, and for the success of student teams in competitive activities including crops judging, ranch horse events, livestock judging, shotgun sports, stock dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best two-year schools in the nation.

NCTA Events:

March 12-14: Cattle AI School, Livestock Teaching Center

March 13-14: Stock Dog Trials, 8:30 a.m., Livestock Teaching Center

March 15: Western Regional H.S. Science Fair

March 15:  Frontier County 4-H Council meeting

March 15-19:  Spring Break, no classes, offices open

March 27-28:  Sherman Tegtmeier Reining, Horsemanship Clinic, LTC

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