Opinion: What’s an Ag?

Melisa Soysal Melisa Soysal /THE REVIEW
Madeline Davidson expounds on her love of South Campus, despite its obscurity in the minds of the rest of the student body.

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It is no secret that the University of Delaware is home to miles of brick-lined paths, state-of-the art architecture, and a vast array of Division I athletic complexes. What often goes unnoticed, however, is the shy little piece of the world housed on the southern edge of campus, nestled between our bustling main campus and our historic football stadium. I have a feeling that somebody reading this now questions, “Wait, we have a south campus?” I get that a lot.

I was at an involvement fair this semester, representing the co-ed professional agricultural fraternity, Alpha Zeta. First, you may ask, why co-ed? It seemed like an easy decision for me to join a group of students with common interests, hence the interest in Greek Life, but this fraternity was unique in that it has a special affinity for agriculture. And while my pre-veterinary medicine major consists predominantly of females, a co-ed fraternity is representative of the dynamic present in the real-world, a world where individuals can learn to co-exist regardless of gender differences, or any differences for that matter.

Anyway, at this particular involvement fair, I was confronted with the large percentage of the student population who had never heard of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

After being at the fair for not too long, I was asked, “What’s an Ag?” A common misunderstanding is that “ag” can define a person as being farmer-esque, or however else you’d like to put it. While that is an identity wholeheartedly embraced by our college, it is also true that “ag” could refer to one of our diverse collection of majors that one might even consider “cool.” These are including but not limited to food science, pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences, food and agribusiness marketing and management, and statistics. As an aside, no one quite knows how statistics evaded the math department, but we welcomed it with open arms.

The reality for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, currently embracing its 150th Anniversary, is that it is one of the lesser-known beauties of the school. Students in the “College of Ag,” as it is colloquially called, enjoy the largest classroom on campus, 350 acres to be exact. South Campus is home to a dairy farm and many other amenities including a milking parlor, numerous greenhouses, and an equine barn down on Webb Farm.

Fortunately, you do not need to have aspirations of being a farmer to visit South Campus and embrace its extremely natural beauty. In fact, less than 2% of students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources come from any type of farm background. This was especially appealing to me as I was visiting schools, growing up in ultimate suburbia.

There is one day each year where South Campus overflows with students and members of the Newark community; where you can try honey made from UD’s own apiary, fearlessly (that might be debatable) hold a drone bee, pet a friendly Holstein calf, and try authentic pulled pork sandwiches from a local farm, all in one day. Not to mention the opportunity to try fresh ice cream from UDairy, undoubtedly a student favorite. Ag Day is the special event held each spring that truly captures the essence of campus originality, right here in our own backyard.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here as a student of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Through my experiences, I have realized how fortunate I am to be able to attend the University of Delaware. I have finally learned what that “homey feeling” is that tour guides always speak about while trying to sell their school.

So maybe one day before finals, just as I will, take the UD shuttle down to the College of Ag. Take a deep breath and learn to love the natural scents of the world around us, learn to look at everything and take it in for half a second longer, and just embrace everything there is to love about being a college student on one of the most unique and beautiful campuses in the world.

Top 5 things to do while on South Campus:
– Try a variety of flavors at UDairy
– Take a selfie with a cow
– Take a stroll through the Lepidoptera Trail
– Enjoy the changing colors of leaves in the fall
– Learn what really makes South Campus so special in the hearts of so many

Madeline Davidson is a senior studying pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences at the university. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s staff. She may be reached at davim@udel.edu.

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