The University of Missouri campus of more than 35,000 students could be rather intimidating for some. Luckily, the university offers numerous clubs and organizations to help make the campus seem smaller and help make students feel a little more at home. Courtney Spencer, senior animal science major at MU said she found her niche within the large school.
Spencer is a student in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) and is extremely passionate about agriculture. To help fulfill her desire to be more involved in school, she became a member of the Alpha Chi chapter, Sigma Alpha, and was later elected president for the 2014-2015 school year.
According to Spencer, Sigma Alpha is a professional agriculture sorority that focuses on scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. It is a national organization with 53 chapters across the country. The Alpha Chi chapter was recently awarded top honors in Outstanding Professional Development Programs, Outstanding Public Service, and Outstanding Community Cooperation in Agriculture.
“These awards are a testament to the chapter’s deep roots in professionalism and public services and are rewards for all the hard work that the committee chairs and members take to plan events each year,” Spencer said.
The mission of Sigma Alpha is to cultivate professional women in agriculture. For Spencer, the organization displays a smorgasbord of opportunities. She knew from the beginning that it would be a way for her to grow both professionally and personally. She also took interest in the sisterhood aspect, as well.
“Being in an organization with members who share the same passion and interest in agriculture is nothing but rewarding,” Spencer said.
“Sigma Alpha is all about service, fellowship, education and leadership,” said Whitney Kinne, assistant director of Career Services in CAFNR. “Those are the types of things employers want to see in a student.”
In the fall of 2007, Kinne was a sophomore at MU and held the position of recruitment chair in Sigma Alpha. During recruitment week she organized events, coordinated the effort, and promoted potential members. Looking back on her time in Sigma Alpha, Kinne said being involved in the organization helped prepare her for where she is today. As recruitment chair, Kinne remembers being in charge of the entire week of recruitment, which relates well to the occupation she currently holds in career services.
As the assistant director in Career Services, Kinne has the opportunity to see how all of the groups and organizations in CAFNR can help students be successful. She stressed how significant it is to be a part of something larger than yourself. Kinne, encourages all students to find a way to be involved.
“A student is going to find their place and their fit, regardless of the organization,” Kinne said. “Get involved; be active. Don’t just be a member that attends the meeting; be a member that is eventually running the meeting.”