CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's Collegiate 4-H Club earned New Club of the Year honors at the recent National 4-H Conference in Denver, Colo.
"OSU's Collegiate 4-H Club was just an idea in October," said Amy Krahn, club adviser.
Now the group has more than 85 people interested in the club's projects and activities. The club focus is community service and leadership development, but it is also proving to be a great way to help new students adjust to OSU, said Brandi Horikawa, an OSU freshman from Mililani, Hawaii.
"Collegiate 4-H is a great way for me, coming from Hawaii, to meet many people with similar interests and background," said Horikawa, an exercise and sport science major.
The home-away-from-home atmosphere is especially attractive to students who were involved in 4-H and other community service activities in high school, members say. Lisa Bentley, OSU club president was a 4-H member in her native Washington's Klickitat County.
The primary purpose of OSU Collegiate 4-H is to engage students in service projects that emphasize 4-H Youth Development Programs at the state and local levels, Krahn said.
Involvement in school and community is a natural for club members, added Patricia Hammill, an OSU junior from Creswell and club community service co-chair.
"Collegiate 4-H has given me the opportunity to meet people and become involved in a school activity, and it has opened the door for me to participate in community service," said Hammill, a sophomore in agricultural business management.
Among recent service projects was a canned food drive to benefit needy people in Linn and Benton Counties. Other projects in the planning stages include support for local 4-H clubs; assistance with state 4-H events such as Ambassador Weekend, Summer Days at OSU, the Oregon State Fair; and work projects at the 4-H Center near Salem.
Hope Gard, an OSU junior from Azalea and club vice president, is working as a coach for a local 4-H horse bowl team.
"Collegiate 4-H has allowed me to stay active in the best organization I know. It's been an intermediate step from being a member to becoming a leader," said Gard, who is a member of OSU's Honors College and is studying animal science.
The club eventually hopes to develop a directory of members such as Gard who are interested in being resources for local and county 4-H Clubs.
The club's quick track to success has attracted attention from other colleges and universities, Krahn said. Students from two area community colleges, and two neighboring universities are interested in the program and may help spread the movement during the next year, she said.
"Our future goals promise to lead us down many exciting paths," said Greta Holmstrom, club secretary. Holmstrom, an OSU sophomore in animal science from Cascade Locks, added that the club was "looking forward to many years of serving our community, and promoting the 4-H program at both the state and national levels."