Many Iowa State University clubs can help students increase their knowledge and expand their leadership skills. For those interested in animal agriculture, the Block and Bridle Club fits the bill nicely. As the largest on-campus organization, it offers opportunities for various livestock topical groups, including the swine interest group. Current Swine Interest Group president Brielle Smeby said activities for the group can range from industry trips, guest speakers and career events.
“The Swine Industry Tour, organized by our officers, is an awesome experience for our members,” she said. “This fall, we traveled to Illinois and Indiana with stops including Quality Plus Feeds, Carthage Systems, University of Illinois, Purple Power Boar Stud, and National Swine Registry.”
The group also organizes the pre-career fair event, Swine Night. Smeby said she chose to pursue this opportunity because of her previous experience and passion for the swine industry, as well as wanting to make more connections in the industry.
Advisor Dalton Humphrey said the Swine Interest Group brings together students who have a common interest and passion for the swine industry. This group is unique among other student groups because it allows students with a range of backgrounds to network with their peers and industry professionals while gaining knowledge and experiences to carry with them into their future careers. Humphrey said events like the fall industry trip and swine shows strongly influence student success by providing the means for students to explore their interests while taking responsibility and playing a role in both university and community engagement.
The industry’s desire for students who have been heavily involved is evident to the Block and Bridle Advisor, Dr. Laura Greiner. She knows employers are looking for student involvement in the livestock industry before graduation.
“Block and Bridle not only gives the students exposure to animal agriculture, but it provides students the opportunities to practice leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that are essential for a successful career and cannot be completely taught within the classroom,” she said. “In addition, so many of the Block and Bridle activities are large, which demonstrates the individual’s ability to oversee a large activity and budget.”
Although their positions and responsibilities with the Swine Interest Group are quite different, Smeby, Humphrey and Greiner agree that there are many things for students to gain from Block and Bridle. Smeby said she wants students to know the swine industry is a thriving industry, especially in Iowa, and it is important to increase awareness of all the possibilities awaiting students there. Both Humphrey and Greiner have seen students develop into future industry leaders, and he said he knows from experience that opportunities like those available through active participation in the group can lead to future career and job connections.