Penn State University’s rich history as an agricultural college dates back to its beginning in 1855. That history is alive and well in the campus organization Collegiate CattleWomen.
The club formed about 10 years ago when a group of women interested in beef and the agricultural field decided to come together and form a club. Since then, the organization has grown and has approximately 20 to 30 members, Elizabeth Palmer, vice president of the organization, said.
And while the club has many members from the College of Agricultural Sciences, it encourages anybody with an interest in cattle to join, regardless of major.
One perception they wish to erase, however, is that they are an only-women organization because they do have male members as well, Caitlyn Pool, who does the public relations for the organization, said.
“We are open to all men,” President Olivia Rush said.
Club members said the mission of the organization is clear.
“Our main focus is to promote a healthy diet [and we] do a lot for the beef industry and what they do,” Palmer said.
The club considers itself to be an advocate for the beef industry and some of that advocating includes discussing issues in the agricultural community with state legislators and meeting and interacting with meat organizations state-wide, Palmer (junior-animal science) said.
Collegiate CattleWomen also hosts events on campus throughout the year to promote the inclusion of meat in diets.
Various events include lessons on how to cook beef and a 5K run called “We are Beef 5K,” Palmer said.
The organization will also be participating in the upcoming Penn State Ag Day, held on April 15. The club will educate on the misconceptions of antibiotics in cattle, Pool (junior-animal science) said.
Pool said she hopes “people removed from agriculture” will learn the “positives of animal agriculture.”
One big event the organization host is “Meat-In Day.” The event, the counterpart to “Meat-Out Day,” where people around the world eat vegan for a day, was held in March.
Members of the club set up tables outside of the Palmer Museum of Art and in East Halls Dining Commons. They handed out free samples of meat and cheeses, with fliers promoting why meat should be kept in the diet, Palmer said.
Not only do members of the club advocate for the consumption of meat to students at Penn State, but many travel off-campus to learn about the industry.
“We go to Harrisburg and Washington to do some lobbying with the Cattlemen Association,” Rush (senior-animal science) said.
Members also can gain valuable educational experience with trips to cow shows in Harrisburg and local cattle farms to learn how the animals are raised, Rush said.
Both Rush and Palmer grew up on farms prior to coming to Penn State and both said the club has provided educational opportunities and experiences.
“[Members] can pick and choose what they want to learn about,” Rush said.
All three women said the organization has created friendships among the members over a common interest and place where they can all work for something they are passionate about.