Student Clubs & Teams
Animal Science students at Michigan State University have many opportunities to participate in animal-oriented clubs and teams. The following seven campus-wide student clubs are affiliated with the Department of Animal Science:
- Block and Bridle Club
- Driving Club
- Dairy Club
- Horsemen’s Association
- Avian Science Club
- Rodeo Club
- Animal Science Undergraduate Research Student Association
Club membership is open to all MSU students. These organizations offer students the opportunity to cultivate their leadership and communication abilities with students having similar interests and concerns. Animal Science faculty serve as club advisors and are supportive of all club functions and events.
The Animal Science Department also sponsors the following competitive teams:
- an Academic Quadrathalon competition;
- the MSU Dairy Challenge Contest;
- Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest; and
- Intercollegiate Judging Teams for dairy, horse, livestock and meats.
The department realizes the importance of the development of the whole student and recommends that students join one or more of these organizations. Further information can be obtained in the Undergraduate Student Affairs Office in 1250 Anthony Hall (353-9227).
In addition to these Department of Animal Science activities, MSU has over 500 registered student organizations. There is something for everyone here! Several of these campus wide organizations are tailored specifically for preveterinary students:
- CVM Research Club
- International Student Veterinary Medicine Group
- Preveterinary Medical Association
- Student Chapter of the American Animal Veterinary Medical Association
- Student Chapter of the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society
Student Club Descriptions
Block & Bridle Club
Block and Bridle sponsors many events that provide learning opportunities for students through meaningful, hands-on participation. The Little International brings students from all majors together to compete for the coveted Jack MacAllen Award given to the best overall livestock show person. In this event, university animals are prepared by each participant with novices receiving help and guidance from more experienced club members in a spirit of fellowship and competition.
Another purpose of the Block and Bridle Club is to promote and maintain student contact with the Michigan livestock industry. Each year the club sponsors a recognition banquet that honors animal science students and alumni. The banquet’s main theme is the recognition of an honored guest who has made a significant contribution to the Michigan livestock industry.
Block and Bridle Club students volunteer time to work with livestock industry leaders at the Michigan Winter Beef Show, Shepherds Weekend, the Michigan Pork Producers Convention and other events. Each spring the club organizes and manages the Junior Steer and Heifer Show at the MCA Beef Expo. This event attracts youth exhibitors from a three state area.
In addition to these club-sponsored activities, members participate in other college and university events such as Autumnfest, Small Animal Day and Ag Olympics. An annual trip to the national animal science meetings allows members to interact with students from other universities. Other events the club sponsors or helps to organize include the annual Block and Bridle Club Horse Show and the Animal Science department spring picnic. Block and Bridle Club is a worthwhile and rewarding opportunity for students that provides social, personal and academic growth for all its members.
The Michigan dairy industry is one of the largest in the nation, creating the need to educate and train dairy students at Michigan State. Many of the students in the Dairy Club will have active roles in the Michigan dairy industry in the near future in production and agri-business.
In addition to the social and educational activities of the MSU Dairy Club, we have two other primary purposes: to promote the dairy industry, and to increase contact between members of the Dairy Club and the Michigan dairy industry.
The annual Christmas Cheese Sale has been an MSU tradition for many years and is one of the activities that promotes dairy products. This business activity provides students with experience not obtainable in the classroom and, at the same time, promotes dairy products and provides visibility for MSU.
The “I Milked a Cow’ booth at the 4-H Dairy Days is sponsored by the Dairy Club. Each year thousands of children and adults try their hand at milking a cow with the able assistance of club members. This booth has become a major attraction at the State Fair and brings recognition to the Club, the dairy industry and MSU.
An annual recognition banquet serves to bring students, alumni, dairy industry organizations, parents and dairy farmers together to recognize the efforts of outstanding students, alumni and industry leaders. This banquet provides an important link between students and potential employers, and therefore, serves an important function for Michigan’s dairy industry.
Please visit http://msudairyclub.weebley.com/ for more information.
The MSU Horsemen’s Association is designed for all students interested in the horse industry. Its activities and events focus on horses in general, and on the horse industry. The Horsemen’s Association objectives and purpose are to:
- Educate the community and MSU student body about horses and the horse industry;
- Promote horses and the horse industry;
- Provide educational and social opportunities for MSU students interested in horses;
- Provide an opportunity for members to participate in industry-wide activities;
- Provide enriching experiences that expand knowledge and broaden perspectives of the horse industry;
- Serve as a liaison between students at MSU, local horse industries and university faculty, staff and administration; and
- Stimulate interest in horse related professions for future horse industry leaders.
The Horsemen’s Association also provides financial support for the MSU Equestrian Stock Team, Hunt Team, Polo Club, Horse Judging Team and Dressage Team. To participate in the Equestrian Team or Polo club, a student must be a member of the Horsemen’s Association.
Avian Science Club
The MSU Avian Science Club’s goals are to promote leadership, friendship, participation in activities and promotion of poultry and animal science. An interest in poultry or other avian species is desirable, but not required. The Club has both social and professional attributes. The main fund-raising activity is raising, processing and selling broiler chickens 3 or 4 times a year. The monies are used to support an annual trip to the Southeastern Poultry Convention each January in Atlanta, GA where many of the members have successfully interviewed with several dozen companies. Other activities include a summer camping and canoe trip on one of Michigan’s rivers, a team in the Ag Olympics, a spring trip which has included Toronto and Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, participation in Autumnfest, and the poultry farm exhibits for Small Animals Day each spring.
The MSU Rodeo Club originated in 1969 and is a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). Its goal is to encourage further education through the promotion of collegiate rodeo competition. Prior experience is not necessary to be part of the Club. All that is needed is an interest in the sport, meeting people and having fun.
Club activities focus on the Annual Spartan Stampede Rodeo which the Club organizes and promotes. The Spartan Stampede is one of the most successful intercollegiate rodeos in existence. It has a reputation for quality stock and management and calls cowboys and cowgirls from all parts of the U.S.
The Rodeo Club sends a team to other college rodeos in the region and helps support qualifying members to attend the National Finals Rodeo. Other activities include Jackpot Ropings and the Annual Rodeo Club Reunion.
Animal Science Undergraduate Research Student Association (ASURSA)
The primary objective for ASURSA is to provide opportunities for students to participate actively in research. Students may get involved in group projects or associate with one faculty and perform more independent research. Activities can include planning, funding, conducting the methods, laboratory work, analysis of data, presentation, and publication.
ASURSA helps students obtain more research experience outside the classroom and is a great opportunity to meet research faculty at Michigan State in Animal Science.
Student Team Descriptions
In addition to student clubs, the Animal Science department sponsors an academic competition for students. Academic Quadrathalon consists of a written exam, oral presentation, laboratory practicum and quiz bowl. Four member teams compete for state honors with the first place team representing MSU at the regional American Society of Animal Science meetings during winter term. Academic Quadrathalon is a great opportunity to test your knowledge in all areas of Animal Science and is an excellent learning experience for all participants.
MSU Dairy Challenge Contest
The MSU Dairy Challenge contest allows 2- and 4-year undergraduate and veterinary students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom in an evaluation of the management practices of commercial dairy farms. The MSU contest is held every fall with sponsorship by organizations and individuals in the Michigan dairy industry. Students who have participated in the MSU Dairy Challenge are eligible to be selected to represent MSU at the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge and the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge.
Participants in Dairy Challenge contests do the following: 1) visit local dairy farms and gain knowledge of different farms’ management practices; 2) evaluate herd records, and utilize knowledge of dairy herd management software and computer presentation tools; 3) critically evaluate dairy herd management practices and make recommendations for improvements; 4) employ their speaking, presentation, and problem-solving skills; 5) work as a team to build consensus and present in tag-team speaking formats; and, 6) meet and interact with potential employers from the dairy industry during the contest.
Teams of four undergraduate and veterinary students critically evaluate a commercial dairy farm using herd records, a description of farm operations, and tour of the farm facilities. The farmer answers students’ questions pertaining to management of the farm. Teams give a 20-minute presentation that is scored on the description and assessment of the management practices and recommendations for improvements in management and facilities. This capstone experience allows students to interact with dairy farmers and representatives from the dairy industry, and expands their knowledge and skills gained during their academic career.
Learn more about the 2016 MSU Dairy Challenge: 2016 MSU Dairy Challenge. Ninety undergraduate, Ag Tech and veterinary students participated in the event held at Spitzley Dairy Farm; Chris Spitzley is shown in the photo below following presentation of framed cow print at Spitzley Dairy Farm.
The 2017 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge press release is available: 2017 Press Release. The team is pictured below.
Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest
The Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest is a tool for enhancing students’ understanding and awareness of welfare issues of agricultural animals. Participating teams analyze CD-ROMs, video tapes, or hypothetical data of welfare comparison scenarios, and then work together to determine if material viewed illustrates a welfare concern and why, or which scenario represents a higher level of welfare and why. Students integrate various physiological and behavior indicators into their assessments and present their findings to judges in oral presentations. This is a competitive opportunity for students interested in animal welfare to practice their assessment skills and present their assessment in a logical and persuasive manner. The experience is an enjoyable way to connect students with producers, enhance understanding and awareness of welfare issues of agricultural animals, promote critical thinking, and improve communication skills. More information is available at the Animal Welfare webpage.
Intercollegiate Judging Teams
The Department of Animal Science has a rich heritage of successful judging teams. Many former team members who have gone on to obtain leadership roles in the industry strongly support the judging team experience. Participation on a judging team enhances a students ability to think, reason and communicate with others. These skills are in great demand regardless of your career choice.
Students enrolled in dairy, horse, meats or livestock judging have the opportunity to travel and visit farms that are leading the industry. They can meet and talk to the owners and managers of some of the most successful operations in the world. These contacts help students better understand current management and marketing strategies as well as assist them in making and securing career choices.
But judging is more than visiting farms and taking a class. It is competing against schools all across the U.S. in contests held in conjunction with major industry events such as the World Dairy Exposition (Madison, WI), North American Livestock Exposition (Louisville, KY), Quarter Horse Congress (Columbus, OH), Arabian Nationals (Albuquerque, NM) and the International Meat Judging Contest (Dakota City, NE).
Students may earn a maximum of 8 credits from the following animal science judging courses: ANS 200A, ANS 200B, ANS 300A, ANS 300B, ANS 300C and ANS 300D. Many of these courses have a re-enrollment provision so that a student might be able to compete on one or two intercollegiate judging teams.
To learn more about one of these exciting judging teams, contact one of the following Animal Science faculty members:
- Dairy Judging Team: coach - Dr. Joe Domecq
- Horse Judging Team: Dr. Chris Skelly
- Livestock Judging Team: coach -
Livestock Judging Team
The livestock judging team is open to all undergraduate students, but is commonly comprised of students with a strong interest in animal agriculture and its related industries. Interested students are strongly encouraged to enroll in ANS 211 (Animal and Product Evaluation) the fall semester of their junior year, along with ANS 200A (Introductory Judging of Livestock or Carcasses) during the spring semester in order to compete in the All East Livestock Judging Contest. In the fall of their senior year, students enroll in ANS 300A (Advanced Livestock Judging) and participate in regional and national competitions throughout the year including, but not limited to, the National Barrow Show (Austin, MN), the American Royal (Kansas City, MO), and the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition (Louisville, KY).
Not only do team members learn to evaluate livestock and make sound selection decisions utilizing both phenotypic and genetic measures, but they also gain confidence in their ability to make quick decisions. In addition, they learn to effectively communicate the underlying principles and reasoning associated with the decisions they make. Just as importantly, livestock judging provides an opportunity for students to network with the industry as they visit with producers at the farm or ranch about livestock and production practices. It provides an opportunity to learn from those directly involved with the industry regarding the principles and variability of livestock production and management throughout the United States. Simply put, livestock judging gives students the confidence and skills that are necessary to make them more marketable upon graduation. There is not another activity that can parallel in terms of professional and self enhancement.
Advantages of participating in the Livestock Judging Program:
- Learn to evaluate livestock
- Become a proficient and effective public speaker
- Build courage and leadership
- Reinforce team-building skills
- Enhance decision-making skills by making quick and confident decisions
- Travel throughout the U.S. and have fun
- Meet new people and make new connections
- Build life-long relationships with teammates and industry leaders
- Make yourself more marketable to employers and/or graduate schools
- No experience necessary
- Earn agriculture academic scholarships