Michigan 4-H Foundation

Collegiate 4-H launched at MSU 

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A unique club that connects Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension to the students who also call MSU home was launched in fall 2023: MSU Collegiate 4-H Club. The club aims to provide MSU students with the same comradery and connection that a typical 4-H club provides while supporting their growth and education at the university. 

“It has been so fun to get Collegiate 4-H off the ground here at MSU and to connect with the wonderful students on campus,” explained Debra Barrett, MSU Extension 4-H senior educator, who serves as the academic staff advisor for the club. “There have been previous attempts to launch Collegiate 4-H in the past but this time, there has been so much interest. Our club is official and going strong!”  

As required by MSU guidelines, MSU Collegiate 4-H is an official campus registered student organization (RSO), of which there are more than 1,000 on campus. As indicated by MSU’s Office of Spartan Experiences, an RSO “is a volunteer group of enrolled students organized to obtain certain goals and objectives met through education, social, cultural, religious or philanthropic activities. These activities enhance and support MSU students, the university and the community. Engaged participation in student organizations benefits students’ growth and education while attending the university.”  

Officially launched on Sept. 27, MSU Collegiate 4-H is open to any MSU student. Members include current 4-H’ers, 4-H alumni, non-4-H’ers, former FFA members and graduate students. As long as a person is an MSU student, there is a way to be involved and become an official volunteer with MSU Collegiate 4-H. 

“We have about 20 youth who are actively engaged in our MSU Collegiate 4-H Club,” said Barrett. “We’ve done fun things like paint pumpkins in the fall and are actively looking for ways our members can foster leadership, volunteerism, community service and workforce development skills.” 

Collegiate 4-H clubs exist across the country at a variety of higher education institutions. According to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, the purpose of a collegiate 4-H program is service, leadership development and professional development. As a member of a collegiate 4-H program, students can interact and engage with faculty and staff of the state’s Extension and 4H programs as well as work with volunteers and 4-H youth throughout their community and state. Membership allows collegiate 4-H members to explore career and volunteer opportunities as well as attend professional development conferences and career networking events, take part in community service and facilitate experiences for youth. 

“We’re looking forward to wrapping up our first full year as a club this spring and making plans to kick off another fun year in the fall,” continued Barrett. “As they say, we’ll continue to make the best better!” 

In Michigan, another collegiate 4-H group has also formed at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and a third is in the works at Lake Superior State University (LSSU). To learn more about NMU’s program, contact Liana Pepin at deisenro@msu.edu. To learn more about LSSU, which hopes to launch in the fall of 2024, contact Margaret Merchberger at merchber@msu.edu. For more information about the MSU Collegiate 4-H Club, contact student president Kiera Goward at gowardki@msu.edu, or either of the club advisors: Deb Barrett at smithde6@msu.edu or Randy Laurenz at laurenz2@msu.edu