CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension Communications, 304-293-4221, ext. 3416
The West Virginia University Collegiate 4-H Club was honored as the National Collegiate Club of the Year at the 2002 National Collegiate 4-H Conference Feb. 21-24 in St. Louis, Mo. The award was presented by the National Collegiate 4-H Action Board to WVU’s student leaders.
The award was especially meaningful, said club president James Grantham, a WVU senior from Kearneysville, because 4-H is celebrating its centennial.
“I’m excited about all the future holds for the club as it continues to build upon the strong participation and support that it currently enjoys,” Grantham said.
WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr., who serves as a trustee on the National 4-H Council, lauded the group, noting that the award recognizes a club for “outstanding community service and continued involvement in regional and national levels of collegiate 4-H.” He said 4-H is international, with clubs in over 80 countries and a membership of close to 4 million.
WVU’s delegates to the national conference prepared a summary of the club’s activities over the past year and an essay describing the WVU 4-H organization.
“The WVU club’s service to 4-H and the organization’s support of the University impressed the National Action Board,” Grantham said.
Grantham and four other student leaders attended the national conference, including Abby Aikens, Martinsburg; Bill Frye, Weston; Laura Tuckwiller, Clintonville; and Lewis Honaker, Ronceverte.
Last year, the group noted, the local club conducted a book drive, collected school supplies for elementary school children, read to elementary school classes, painted pumpkins and made Valentine’s Day decorations for nursing home residents and participated in the Adopt-A-Street project.
In addition, the group’s 70 members support West Virginia’s total 4-H program in many ways. They help with work days and Friends Day at WVU Jackson’s Mill (the state 4-H camp), volunteer at local and state 4-H events, serve food during the annual 4-H Alumni Football Tailgate and organize activities at the annual conference of 4-H All Stars (an honorary organization). The club also is developing an educational program on tobacco prevention.
The WVU 4-H Club promotes the University by hosting high-school-age 4-H members for a weekend of campus tours and activities. The group is helping to organize a statewide collegiate 4-H council to coordinate club activities, help with the formation of new clubs and support the work of all collegiate 4-H clubs in the state.
WVU 4-H’ers have served as representatives on several state and local planning boards, as participants in the recent local and state 4-H Conversations (held in conjunction with 4-H’s centennial), and as officers of the Northeast Region of the National Collegiate 4-H Program. Membership is open to all college students regardless of age or previous 4-H experience.
Grantham said even more activities are planned this fall in conjunction with the 4-H centennial.
Collegiate 4-H has a long history at WVU, with the first group being organized in the mid-1920s.
Throughout the state, 44,000 young people participate in the 4-H program, which is sponsored by the WVU Extension Service with assistance from state and local governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 7,600 adult volunteers.