Students and children ate free Creamery ice cream, petted barnyard animals and climbed trees as part of a routine day for an agricultural science student at Penn State.
But to those who aren’t as familiar with the school, this is a special treat.
The annual Ag Day, hosted on the lawn in between The Creamery and the Agricultural Administration Building, is a celebration of all things related to the College of Agriculture.
“Ag Day is an event that the agricultural advocates put on every year to showcase the college of agricultural sciences,” Chase Palmer (junior-community, environment and development) said. “[We want] to educate the general population here at Penn State about agricultural and what we do in our college.”
Jean Lonie, director of student recruitment and activities, said thinking back to when Penn State was called the “The Farmers' High School,” there was a rich heritage and tradition of agriculture in State College.
“This is a great way to remind the people on campus and those in the community of the importance that agriculture plays in our lives each and every day,” she said.
Lonie said one of the main goals of Ag Day is to help bring to light all of the great things agricultural students are doing.
Several Penn State clubs and classes were featured at Ag Day, including the Horticulture Club, the Beekeeper Club and HORT 201 — a class featuring tree climbing.
The Horticulture Club offered free pansies of all different colors to students.
“Every year at Ag Day the agriculture advocates allot money to buy pansies, and we give them away to everyone for free,” Morgan Lingly, president of the Horticulture Club, said.
Lingly (junior-plant science horticulture) said students can pick whichever color pansy they want, and the members of the club pot them up so students can transport them home.
“This is what I live for,” she said. “I love plants and flowers, and just seeing everyone’s faces light up when they see the pansies is probably my favorite part of the whole thing.”
As students walked around holding purple and pink pansies and Creamery ice cream, children went around to different booths participating in hands-on activities.
A simulation of a plastic cow stood on the lawn, and children could practice milking it by squeezing the udders into a bucket below.
The Pasto Agricultural Museum had a table set up with old-fashioned apple carving machines, which students and children could use to peel fresh apples and eat afterward.
“They’re historical instruments used back in the early parts of agriculture,” Aaron Blakney, a volunteer at the booth, said. “We’re basically showing how the instruments are used to peel apples, and how they did it in a fast way.”
Blakney (junior-environmental resource management) said although the apples nowadays have grown too large for the machines, they still use them for historical and educational purposes.
Many animals populated Ag Day, such as baby cows, pigs, sheep — two mounted police also made an appearance and showed off their horses, Sampson and Isaac.
“Since we were founded as the Farmers’ High School, we’re trying to show the roots of our college, and let people know where we came from and how the College of Agricultural Science has changed into what it is today,” Alex Barna said.
Jim Savage, an instructor of HORT 201, was helping students scale trees and learn about different tree climbing techniques across the street.
“It’s a very difficult class, and there are consequences if you screw up,” he said. “It’s physically hard.”
Savage, who has been climbing trees for 35 years, said if you are passionate and like it, tree climbing can be a great thing.
“Our college is incredible because it is a microcosm of society," Lonie said. "Not everyone thinks of themselves as being actively engaged agriculture, but if you eat you are part of the family.”