Community service projects are a big part of any agricultural student organization. Not only do community service projects help students build social and teamwork skills, they also get them involved in the Lafayette and West Lafayette communities.
Lisa Yarling of Indianapolis is a 2004 food industry marketing and management graduate and the 2004 president of Collegiate 4-H. There are around 40 members in this organization, and their involvement in community service projects makes them stand out in the College of Agriculture.
"I didn’t have much of a social life, because I dedicated a great deal of time to Collegiate 4-H," Yarling says. "I stayed busy for a reason. I wasn’t part of the club in order to put it on my resume. I wanted to be part of a club that actually did something and got involved."
Collegiate 4-H participates in everything from community service projects to social events in the Lafayette community and across the state. Yarling was a driving force in getting Collegiate 4-H back on the map as an active Purdue Agriculture student organization, according to club advisor, Steve McKinley, BS ’88, MS ’90.
"When I came in my freshman year, I felt that the club had more potential than what it was showing," Yarling says. "It was my main goal as secretary my junior year and president my senior year to build our reputation back up. No one knew who we were or what we did."
Yarling and the rest of the members decided to make their mark. They served meals at the Lafayette Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter, cleaned up county roadsides and parks, trained 4-H officers in the state, and visited nursing homes during the holidays.
The list doesn’t stop there. For the first time, the club was named the National Collegiate 4-H Club of the year. The accomplishment that helped win this honor was receiving a service learning grant from Purdue to implement an after-school program at Murdock Elementary School in Lafayette.
Every other Wednesday, members worked with the children on educational projects, community service and team building. In addition, some of the Murdock students worked on 4-H projects that were entered in the county fair.
"I learned a lot about young people," Yarling says. "Each child had a different life story that really touched my heart. I realized that the time it took to run the program at the school was well worth it."