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CFFA represents at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo

By Lia Van Egmond

My experience working for Collegiate FFA at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo was unlike any other experience I have had through FFA. To start out, the Collegiate FFA was joined by the National FFA Alumni Association in a joint booth at the expo. This teamwork allowed me to feel welcome the entire time. We shared a common goal of keeping members involved after they have graduated high school.

As students flooded through the expo doors on opening day, our staff could see the potential each member had if they were to get involved in CFFA. As we spoke to potential CFFA members about what we have to offer through joining, opportunities such as becoming an Agriculture Ambassador, attend the I-CAL program or be part of the New Century Farmer conference. We could see these discussions spark an interest in their minds that could ignite action in the months to come as application deadlines start to arrive.

In addition to the expo, members of our staff had the opportunity to speak at different luncheons or other gatherings to answer the question of many members’ “What do I do after I’m out of the blue and gold jacket?” I and two other staff members had the wonderful opportunity of giving a short talk to all of the delegates from each state. It was very well received and many questions were asked and answered. As the week progressed, we found ourselves stepping completely out of our comfort zones and starting conversations with strangers as they walked by.

One major event that CFFA staff put on that was incredibly successful was the Collegiate and Alumni Career Fair. We were able to help connect employers to prospective employees and interns and other business connections were made as well. In addition, we hosted the Collegiate House Party at the Sports and Social Club on 4th Street live. Free food and bowling were provided and it was a big hit. Exhibitors and guests were all invited and encouraged to come. This gave college students a social outlet to meet new people from different states and bond over competition and laughter.

On a more personal level, this job gave me an opportunity to meet people all across the nation. Every collegiate member on our staff was from a different state and because of this we discovered so much more about agriculture and the differences across the United States. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had in FFA. I encourage every eligible person to become active in Collegiate FFA.

Lia is a junior at California State University, Chico studying agriculture education. She was an active member in her local FFA program, and received her American FFA Degree at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo.

Collegiate FFA provides professional and leadership development opportunities to college students across the United States. Collegiate FFA networking events at the National FFA Convention and Expo are made possible through the Collegiate FFA Continuum which is sponsored by AgCareers.com, Crop Production Services, and John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.