FHSU Student Organization Feature – Virtual Agribusiness Club

BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
GRAPHIC BY ALYXIUS TORRES

This week’s featured organization pertains to one of the most prominent career paths in rural communities like Hays, agricultural business. According to Tigerlink, the Virtual Agricultural Club is the only online student-led organization that promotes professional business development amongst future agricultural professionals and exposes students to diverse career fields. 

Treasurer of the Virtual Agricultural Business Club Connor Chiarelli gives background into why the club was created. 

“The purpose of our club is to give online students the chance to be a part of something outside of their classes,” Chiarelli said. “The club was originally made to meet with agriculture business partners to learn about internships and/ or potentially find one.”

Chiarelli continues by explaining how the club has grown based on that initial initiative, saying they are now also interested in meeting with companies for job opportunities after graduation and sharing business ideas amongst each other. 

“On top of all of that, we just genuinely spend time getting more into what agricultural business is about,” she said. “We are truly a team of people who love agriculture and want to help each other in this specific business world.”

Vice President of the Virtual Agricultural Business Club Sierra Swank builds off of Chiarelli’s summary and focuses on the inclusion of online students off-campus saying the purpose of their organization is to provide a virtual group for our fellow online agriculture students. 

“We all feel as if online students tend to get left out of the atmosphere that being an on-campus student offers,” Swank said. “We just want to extend that feeling of having a place to belong, even while being online.”

Club President Elisa Donley speaks on the multiple benefits that being involved in student clubs or organizations holds. 

“It is important to get involved for many reasons. First, it will also allow students to have a deeper connection to FHSU,” Donley said. “Secondly, being involved helps advance career development. Our club hopes to give members opportunities to network within the industry.”

She goes into more detail as to why networking is significant to the club saying the agriculture industry is a relationship-driven industry and the club provides a way for those online students to make connections and will ultimately help set up virtual agriculture students for success. 

Swank takes this chance to describe how large of an industry agriculture truly is and how it is crucial to everyone, no matter who you are or what you do. 

“Agriculture feeds the world, from the grain our farmers’ plant and harvest, the beef that our ranchers raise, to the companies that manufacture products from the grain and the animal pharmaceutical companies marketing new medicine,” Swank said. “Agriculture is so vital for our survival as humans.”

Chiarelli agrees saying agriculture is a huge part of everyday life, from the way that people eat to what they see every day outside their door. 

“It supports livelihoods through food, habitats, and jobs and it contributes largely to the global supply chain as well as how our economics develop,” Chiarelli said.

In conclusion, Chiarelli circles back to the recently developed club and is optimistic of its progress going forward. 

“We just started our club and have had only two official meetings, but we plan to do more in the future,” she said. “As for right now, we’re just trying to build up our club.”

Chiarelli then makes it a point to invite students to check out the Virtual Agriculture Business club on Tigerlink saying they are constantly overlooked because we are an online organization. 

“We aren’t well known by many students throughout the campus because we are an entirely new club and we are completely online so make sure to check us out on Tigerlink,” she said.  

The Virtual Agricultural Business club has bi-weekly meetings over Zoom. Those interested in teh club can email Elisa Donley at erdonley@mail.fhsu.edu or the club’s advisor at bcsancewich@fhsu.edu for the next Zoom link. 

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