From the North
Posts from former blogger Mia Stender
Welcome to From the North!
Hello everyone, I am Mia Stender, an Idaho native and currently a junior at the University of Idaho. I grew up in a small town in southern Idaho and owned a little cattle ranch with my dad. I am not a conventional ag student, like growing up on a farm, yet I really valued my time in FFA and agriculture classes throughout high school. I had an outstanding ag teacher who threw me into every opportunity possible and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without him. Given that I had many agricultural experiences in high school, it only seemed right that I devote more time to it in the future.
I am majoring in agriculture education and have a passion for all different features of ag and connecting with students of all different backgrounds. The U of I has some of the best courses I have ever taken, and I truly believe the university will help model me into the same type of ag teacher that I had in high school. Being an agriculture education major, I get to learn a little bit about each type of industry and have a desire to continue to learn more. I hope to give students the knowledge to enter an agriculture field and show them just how essential ag really is. This is one of the reasons why I still participate in Collegiate FFA events and try to hang out with members of my cohort who value teaching students about the importance of agriculture.
Besides agriculture, I also enjoy a variety of other things. Since coming to college, I have developed a joy for cooking, even though I am one of the pickiest eaters ever. I love to travel and see new places. Since moving up to Moscow, I have been able to visit so many different locations in northern Idaho and surrounding areas, my favorites being Post Falls for the nature, and Leavenworth, Washington for the rich culture. In addition, I have a huge passion for the sorority I am a part of, Pi Beta Phi, which has given me a multitude of opportunities throughout my college career.
That being said, From the North will mainly be about the variety of opportunities the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences provides for students at the university. It will also give lots of insight about what to expect from the University of Idaho and all the things Moscow can offer students in their years here. This is a way to see the University of Idaho through my eyes, and for me to be able to capture some of the best aspects of life here. I hope to give students a blog that they may find relatable and may find some help or inspiration from. If you’re interested in the university, agriculture or how to enhance life as a student, come back every Friday to learn more about my experiences and thoughts at the University of Idaho.
Why you should attend the Career Fair
Along with all the other great opportunities that the university has to offer, the spring Career Fair is right around the corner. Coming up on Feb. 9, the University of Idaho will have hundreds of employers on campus to speak with students seeking jobs and career experience. This year the event will be held in-person with a virtual option. To get a better look into what the Career Fair is all about, I met with a CALS student, Mackie Griggs.
Mackie is a junior majoring in animal and veterinary science: production option and minoring in rangeland ecology and management. Her future plan after graduation is to become a range manager on her family’s ranch in Elko, Nevada, but could be open to other opportunities that may arise. She has been to the Career Fair multiple times and has gained valuable experience to apply to her life after college.
If you haven’t been to the Career Fair before, you may not know what to expect. The Career Fair is basically where employers from all different fields come to speak with students about what their businesses do and how they can contribute to the goals of students at the University of Idaho. The main attraction of this event is to land interviews for internships over the summer or a job after you graduate. This, in addition to the CALS Networking Night held the night before the Career Fair, are great ways for students in the college to get a job in their field, network with professionals and apply their knowledge. Some of the big name companies that will be there include: Agri Beef, Simplot, Lamb Weston, Amalgamated Sugar, Northwest Farm Credit Services and many more. There are also many other companies in different lines of work that may interest you as well.
I asked Mackie about all aspects of the Career Fair so students can learn about it from a student’s point of view. If you’re wondering if the career fair is for you, Mackie said that anyone can go. One of her worries the first time she went was that she was too young and wasn’t sure if she would want to take an internship that she might be offered. As a freshman, she was offered to intern at multiple places, even though she told them that she didn’t plan on coming back to work for the company after graduation. If you do intend to go back to the company after an internship, this could be a great way to get to know the business and most importantly, get valuable experience.
Before the Career Fair begins, visit their website to RSVP for the in-person session or the virtual session. Provided on the website is a map to get to the in-person session, which will be held in the Kibbie Dome. There is a link on the same page that takes you to Handshake, where you will be able to see all the employers attending. This is a good thing to take a look at so you can be prepared to meet with businesses that interest you.
Mackie explained to me that, “this is an important event to go to so you get a chance to talk to people who could employ you in the future and also give you experience with a professional setting without having to go into the real-world interview.”
Essentially, the Career Fair makes it easy for students to feel more comfortable, but still get the chance to meet with business professionals. Mackie has been lucky enough to intern with two different companies from the Career Fair. If it weren’t for the Career Fair, Mackie probably wouldn’t have gone out of her way to meet with those companies and probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get a job with them. By doing these internships, she has gotten to travel and spend summers in places she may not have ever visited otherwise. From these employers, she has also been given the option to come back over the summer to work in a different area of her choice, which could be an eye-opening experience.
The last take away about the Career Fair is to come prepared and look professional. When you arrive, employers that you speak with will ask for a resume. If you haven’t had a job or you don’t know how to format it, there are great resources at the university that are free and helpful. You can easily look up a format and enter your information then ask the Writing Center or Career Services on campus to review it for you. Mackie also suggested going to the Vandal Success Center located in the ISUB that specifically designates times to look over resumes before the Career Fair. Lastly, Mackie has highly recommended that you dress for success, and present yourself in business attire to make a good first impression.
All in all, the Career Fair can be a great opportunity for any student of any major. This is a chance for you to network and also get your foot in the door to potentially work with influential employers. By being fully prepared for this event, any student can find success, which is why I would highly suggest going. I encourage you all to go and hopefully have a memorable experience.
Best Places to Eat in Moscow on a Budget
For any college student, sticking to a budget can be difficult, especially when it comes to eating out. I mainly cook my own meals, but I still like to treat myself to a meal or drink that I don’t have to prepare myself. While there are tons of great places to eat in Moscow, some are a little more budget friendly than others. Finding the places that are worth it can be tricky, but as a third-year student, I have found quite a few great deals out there.
One of the first places I would recommend would be the taco truck, Taqueria Las Torres, parked across from Jimmy Johns. This taco truck has a variety of great authentic Mexican food that includes many different types of meats to choose from. They also have some options that would be perfect for those who don’t eat meat. The taco truck does have a large array of meals, but I tend to go for enchiladas or tacos. The best part about this place is that every Tuesday their tacos are $1 each. Each taco has a double tortilla and I like to split the meat into both. So, for the price of one, you get two. Given this, you could get 10 tacos for $5, and even pair it with a delicious Jamaica or horchata drink.
The next place that I would recommend is Slice Taphouse, in downtown Moscow. There is outdoor and indoor seating where you can purchase a whole 18” pizza or buy pizza by the slice. This restaurant has a lot to offer. Not only do they serve pizza, but they also offer ice cream, coffee and over 40 beers on tap. This place is great to go to any time of the year. You can get ice cream in the summer and a warm coffee in the winter. If you keep watch for their events, you could possibly see a live band perform which could be a nice outing for you and a couple friends. My personal favorite part about Slice is that I can go and grab a large slice of pizza without having to break the bank. Since they sell by the slice, sometimes it is hard to get exactly what you want, but if you see that it’s available, I recommend trying the potato bacon ranch pizza. It's a great combination and is definitely a hit.
Even though it's not a restaurant, Gypsy Java is an amazing coffee stand that is cheaper than most. While it’s not as convenient to get to as Red Star or Starbucks, the price is worth it. If you are willing to drive a little farther, or are on your way towards Lewiston, Gypsy Java can make any drink at half the price of its competitors in Moscow. I have only been there a handful of times, but I have never been disappointed. If you swing by, try a chai tea latte with oat milk and extra cinnamon for a little bit of a kick. This is by far my favorite drink and is a nice treat with a dose of caffeine.
Next, I would say that every student should go to Palouse Juice. Palouse Juice is located in the heart of downtown Moscow and has tasty smoothies, juices and acai bowls. They offer many options for drinks, most being very healthy. As most of you know, eating healthier can sometimes be more expensive, but I think you really do get your money’s worth out of what you spend here. You can even purchase a wellness shot, which is good for your immune system and can feel almost cleansing. They offer a punch card, so when you purchase 10 drinks, you get the 11th free. Whether you are just stopping in for a drink or a healthy breakfast, Palouse Juice has a cozy vibe and is somewhere everyone should try at least once.
Lastly, I would like to highlight one of my favorite places to go, Mongolian BBQ. It’s located on the east side of town, next to Safeway. While this restaurant is somewhat small, it is a hidden gem. A lot of people don’t know about it or are scared to try it, but it is well worth it. There is a variety of vegetables, meats and sauces to make a stir fry bowl that can be perfectly curated to your taste. A mistake many people make is not adding enough sauce. Remember that some will get lost in the cooking process. For college students, this place is perfect for leftovers. I never spend more than $12 on a medium bowl and can sometimes make three meals out of one. It is a great place with unique flavor mixtures that can suit anyone's palate.
There are definitely tons of places to eat in Moscow, but these are some of my favorites. They all are fairly budget friendly and can be fun places to go with friends. Going to places that are budget friendly make it so much easier to go out to eat with friends without worrying about paying an arm and a leg. I hope you found out about a new place and try some new foods and drinks.
Tips for Staying Healthy this Year
Every new year, staying healthy tends to be a common goal that many people share. While this is a popular resolution, it is also difficult to keep up with for anyone with a busy schedule, including college students. A lot of people start out strong, but after the first month, sometimes it gets harder, and the goal is soon forgotten. This year, staying healthy is one of my many goals, and I have a few ideas on how to stay consistent and make it easy for anyone else to do, even after a month or two.
Staying active is the first way to work towards a healthy year. If you need to start out small, make sure to walk to class. Many students commute to class, even when they don’t need to. I’m especially guilty of doing this, but I have made it a priority to walk to class after I park near campus. By walking to class, you can get your body moving, without feeling like you’re doing a big workout.
If you would prefer to attend a conventional gym, there are several around Moscow. North Idaho Athletic Club and Anytime Fitness are both gyms that require a membership but offer a smaller gym experience. With the smaller gym experience, it is less likely that you’ll see a ton of people you know, which is a common fear of starting off at the gym. Both of these gyms cost less than $45 for a monthly membership and each offer something unique. Anytime Fitness offers personal trainers, 24-hour access and even tanning. North Idaho Athletic Club offers spin classes, childcare, as well as massage therapy. Each has their perks so be sure to check out each of their websites to see which one would work best for you.
If you’re looking for something a little different, Moscow Yoga Center is also a great gym that offers drop-in classes delivered through Zoom. This could be a perfect option for someone who wants to gain yoga experience, but in the comfort of your own home. They also offer a deal for students that are new to the studio where you can attend unlimited classes for two weeks for only $30.
Lastly, I’d like to mention the Student Recreation Center on the U of I campus, which is free to all students, and has a variety of opportunities. It is right on the outskirts of campus, so it is easily within walking distance to most classes. As a student, something to consider is taking an IFIT class through the university, which will not only keep you accountable, but can also get you credits for a fun class. The Rec Center offers weightlifting, yoga and even rock climbing, so make sure to look for the IFIT classes when registration comes around.
Working out isn’t the only way to stay healthy. Being active and eating healthy work best in conjunction. My biggest tip is to try to not eat out too often. Most fast-food restaurants aren’t the healthiest and you don’t necessarily know what all you’re putting into your body. Eating at home can allow you to eat healthier and save some money.
This year, I am going to try to meal plan, which will help me save time when I have busy days. I have found tons of great meals on various YouTube channels and Pinterest, plenty being for people on a budget which is great for a college student. Sometimes these meals can be repetitive but remember to try different flavors and sauces on the meals to make them less boring. Through much research, I have found that most people suggest picking a day of the week that you can prepare all your meals to have it out of the way. For me, Sunday is my refresher day of the week, so that’s the day I would choose. Also, always remember to not restrict yourself so much that it feels like a chore eating healthy. Junk food and treats are okay in moderation, so allow yourself to stray away from a strict regimen.
Finally, time management is the most important thing to make this goal possible. Many use the excuse that there is no time in the day for going to the gym or meal prepping. If you make a schedule and set aside time for everything you need to get done, you will be able to make this possible. An even better way to stay on top of this is to find someone to do it with. If you have a similar schedule to someone else, you could plan a time to go to the gym together, or even a jog around town. If you live with someone who cares about the food they’re eating, you could plan healthy meals to cook together. Finding friends who can keep you accountable can push you towards a healthy lifestyle in 2022.
So, whenever you’re sitting on your phone or watching TV, remember that there is time to be productive and make good choices towards your health. By adopting even one of the tips I’ve mentioned, you may end up reaching your health goals for the year and creating a lifestyle that you grow to love.
Spring Break Destinations
Spring break is right around the corner and if you haven’t planned a spring break trip yet, there is still time. While I haven’t been to all these locations, I’ve done lots of research to find some places that would be worthwhile to visit. Some are a little more spendy than others, but if you budget well, anything is possible. I have compiled a list of both destinations accessible by plane and by car, so there is a place for everyone. To start off, I’ll highlight some of the locations that are farther away.
The first place I recommend is Key West, Florida. Key West is the southernmost point of Florida and is said to have a great atmosphere. During March, the weather looks to be around 80 degrees, and pure sunshine. Many people take the opportunity to bike around the city. There are plenty of places to rent bikes such as Key West Bicycles, and you can even book tours to bike around with a guide.
With many sites to see, I was intrigued by one specifically. The Key West Ghost Tours includes a trolley ride through town with ghost stories throughout the tour. Key West is said to be haunted and could offer a once in a lifetime supernatural experience.
One of the last things I would like to highlight about Key West are the coral reefs. A very popular activity is to snorkel and see the vast underwater life. By renting a boat tour you can snorkel and see the coral reefs, sunken ships and maybe even watch a sunset while on the ocean.
The next place I recommend is San Diego, California. This location is much closer to Idaho, which could result in a cheaper plane ticket. While the weather may not be as warm as Florida, it is still a great spot to consider visiting. I found one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen, Balboa Park, in San Diego. Within the park, there are several trails, 16 museums and of course, the San Diego Zoo. The buildings in this area have been well preserved and could be a highlight to your day, especially if you love interesting architecture.
Another breathtaking attraction is Sunset Cliffs. This spot is popular for surfing, catching a California sunset and seeing new habitats for oceanic life. I am interested in the cave formations that have taken place here, which isn’t something that I get to see every day. There are several caves along the cliff that offer a new look at the ocean ahead of you.
Last in our destination locations, and my favorite by far, is South Padre Island in Texas. South Padre has great food, views and is a very popular spring break location. I recommend going to Lobo Del Mar Cafe. Not only do they make a large variety of food, including fresh seafood, but they also provide water activities right outside the restaurant. You can get a bite to eat, walk to the dock and get picked up to go parasailing or fishing.
Another attraction that I love is dolphin watching. The Original Dolphin Watch offers tours in the morning, day or even a sunset tour, all at a reasonable cost. Lastly, you should go to Sea Turtle Inc. where there are dozens of rehabilitated sea turtles you can visit. When you go, you can watch an educational video, look at sea turtles of all sizes and even feed them. It's fun to learn about the endangerment of the animals and see how the company nurses them back to health to release them back into the ocean.
If the destination locations are too far out of budget, lucky for you, I have a few ideas of where to visit in a closer proximity. There are plenty of nearby places that you may not even have to stay at all week for spring break. Because these are closer, you could drive to them, or find a cheap plane ticket.
The first place that is a closer option is McCall. I have spent a lot of time in McCall over the years and it can be fun all times of the year. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the ice rink and ice skate. You can rent skates and go during the free skate times, which could be a fun activity to do with friends.
Another option is to drive a little way outside of McCall to all the different hot springs. Trail Creek Hot Springs and Council Mountain Hot Springs both have small pools and require a hike. By doing this, you could get a warm getaway while still in Idaho. With McCall being a vacation town, there are plenty of Airbnb cabins and homes available at affordable prices, especially if you split with friends.
Another Idaho location just a drive away is Sun Valley. Sun Valley is a perfect option for anyone who loves winter activities. If you enjoy snowboarding or skiing, there are two mountains, Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. The mountains have plenty of runs that vary for different skill levels. An interesting thing to do is take a gondola ride to see a view of Bald Mountain. On the way, you can stop at Roadhouse Express and get appetizers, a meal or a warm drink. In addition to many other attractions, you can always spend a little time at the Sun Valley Shopping Center which has tons of shops, including many that aren’t in our area.
Lastly, I would recommend going to Seattle, Washington. Not only is it fairly close to Moscow, but it’s also a city filled with fun things to do for college students. Besides the must-see spots like Pike Place Market, the gum wall and the Space Needle, there are many other attractions. One of the places that stood out to me is the Museum of Pop Culture. Currently they have exhibits about horror films, the creative ways people are changing video games and a prop exhibit straight from Harry Potter.
If you are compelled by history, I found just the place for you. After the Great Seattle Fire, the city was rebuilt and elevated to mitigate flooding. There is a whole underground city which you can take a tour of under Pioneer Square where you will explore store fronts, photos of the old city and learn more about Seattle’s history.
Whether you decide to go home, take a road trip, or fly across the country this spring break, looking into any of the places I mentioned is a great learning opportunity. Each of these cities have something special to offer and would be exciting to visit in the future. All in all, just remember to have a safe spring break and enjoy a little time off from school.
With midterms and exams in general coming up quickly, this week I am offering up some of my most helpful study tips. There are tips that work well for one person but not for another, so I hope to touch on multiple things that could work for anyone. For me, there are four main ideas of what good studying entails, and each can have different benefits.
The first step should always be giving yourself enough time to study. While some students work well under pressure, you should still invest time into studying before it's 10 p.m. the night before your test. I like to review my study guide and then determine how much I know to decide when to start studying. If I know most of the material, then I can wait a little longer to study, but if I don’t, I’m going to clear out some time to look over the things I don’t know.
A big tip is working through your planner or calendar to see what you have going on a few days before your test. If it is a busy week, you may want to start even earlier and block out certain times of day when you want to dedicate your time to studying. I work best during the day at the beginning of the week, so that is generally the time that I set aside for schoolwork. If you work better at night or in the morning, make a note to yourself and set aside those times for studying.
Take good notes
Taking notes can look different for everyone, but always remember that they should work for you. Some people type their notes, while others write them in a notebook. This is up to preference, but it should be something that makes sense for your learning. If you like to physically write down your notes like me, I recommend using indents and highlighters to make sure your notes look neat and are legible when you go back to look at them. If you really want to have perfect notes, you can type or write your notes in class, then transfer them into another notebook where you can organize your thoughts. This not only makes your notes look nice, but also is a great way to view your notes again.
It’s also helpful to know what type of learner you are. Through many of my education classes, I have learned how each of these learners have preferences to a different type of studying and gaining information. The four types are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading and writing. So, whether you like to learn through graphs, listening, doing the activity or reading over a textbook, know what works best for you and stick to it.
Utilize your resources
Because I take so much time writing down notes in class, sometimes I forget that there are other resources available. Remember that there are tons of methods to study and explore those available to you. I find it helpful to use a few in conjunction. I like to read over my notes and pick out the most important concepts. I review each of the concepts and find the keywords to make flashcards or a Quizlet of the terms.
A helpful tip for studying for an exam specifically, is reviewing quizzes. Many times, there will be repeat questions or questions that are very similar to the ones on the quizzes. This will also allow you to know the format of your professors' questions.
If you have questions about the content you are studying, make sure to keep those in mind and ask them in class or send an email to your professor for further clarification. This can be scary, especially if you don’t know your professor very well, but their job is to teach you and they are always happy to help their students. Along with general class resources, remember that there are sometimes study sessions held by your professor. If that isn’t enough, some classes have SI-PASS sessions available, which are peer assisted study sessions that allow students to better understand the content of their course.
Designated study space
Lastly, you should try to find an area where you know you can study well. Even though I like to sit on my bed and study, I am much less productive when I do. I often have lots of distractions in my room, so getting out of that space helps me focus. I recommend going to the library; the multiple levels provide different environments. Meeting with a group of people is easy on the bottom floor, because it is set up for collaborative study. I like to have a place that is quiet, which is why I prefer the fourth floor, where it is virtually silent.
To keep on task, I like to put my AirPods in and play lofi hip hop music; there are tons of playlists on any music streaming site. I can’t listen to words while I study because I get distracted, so this is a perfect way to listen to my favorite songs without focusing on the words. Whether you decide the library is a good spot for you to study or not, find a place that you can go to without any distractions.
There are tons of ways to study, but it is very dependent on what works for you individually. Try some different methods now, so you know what works best when it comes time for midterms and finals. Starting early on your study methods will not only help you for your coming tests but will also be useful in the long run for your college career. Even if you’ve been at the University of Idaho for a while, there is always time to change things up and try something different to be more successful.
To add onto last week's blog, this week I will give you some tips on how to survive midterms week. While this can be the same for any time you have an exam, it’s great to take all these things into consideration with midterms being next week.
Oftentimes, because there is so much going on, we forget to take care of ourselves. There are many ways to destress but some of my favorites include catching up with old friends on the phone, going out to lunch and going outside to get some fresh air. Calling a friend from high school always makes me feel better and gives me a fresh perspective on my day. I also love to go out to lunch on busy days or even order take out. This doesn’t take a ton of time out of your day from studying, and as a plus you can get your favorite meal. Lastly, I always try to get out and get some exercise and fresh air. Even though it is colder outside, this is a great time to bundle up and take a walk down Paradise Path.
Eat well and don't forget to drink water
Even though it is easy to go pick up a quick meal, it is important to keep in mind that you should also fuel your body with foods that are good for you. One tip is to make healthy snacks that are in the “brain food” category. Some of these include nuts, avocados and carrots. These all are cheap foods that increase brain functions. If you aren’t a huge fan of breakfast foods like me, making avocado toast is quick, easy and not too filling. In addition, you should continue to hydrate with water. This will help your body feel good and drinking water is also linked to lowering stress levels.
Keep a positive attitude
Having a positive attitude during tests is essential. I know when I am not confident in myself, I always perform worse on my tests. To help with staying positive, try to be as well prepared for your test as possible. Take a second to also appreciate that the week will be over soon, and you will be able to go on spring break after all your hard work. I always feel better when I get to look forward to something else, so try to think of all the great things that are coming after.
Give yourself a break
During midterms week remember that not every minute of your day has to be productive. If you’ve been studying for hours, give yourself some down time to enjoy your day. Instead of only a break to eat or to go work out, I would recommend an actual break time. This can be to watch some TV, take a nap, or sit on your phone and watch TikTok. These are all activities that are mindless and give you some time to slow down for a bit. For my breaks, I like to catch up with my roommates, watch an episode of our favorite show and eat all the great brain food snacks.
Get enough sleep
The most important thing that can truly make or break your week, is your sleep schedule. Make sure to get enough sleep, but not oversleep. Plenty of people feel the need to wake up early and go to sleep late during this time, because there isn’t enough time in the day. If you ensure that you are prepared beforehand, this makes your life a little easier in terms of not having to study every waking hour of your week. Try setting alarms for when you want to try to head to bed, and when you want to wake up so you can be on a steady schedule.
I hope these tips help you out. Each of these steps can help you move towards successful tests and projects. Keep in mind that midterms are not the end all be all to your grade, so try not to beat yourself up too much. There is still time to get the grade you want, and I wish everyone good luck on your midterm’s week!
Living off-campus is an exciting step for any college student to take. While there are a lot of benefits to living in the dorms, or a fraternity or sorority, it’s not always what every student wants to do for all four years of college. There are tons of pros and cons of living off-campus, so I’ll go through a few of the highlights.
One of the things I think is best about living off-campus is the space. I lived in my sorority for two years, and I always struggled with space. Even though my sorority had a lot of room for all my belongings, I seemed to accumulate more and more throughout the years. This seems to be a common problem for students living in the dorms too. I was so excited when I got my own apartment so I could finally have room for all my clothes, as well as a bigger bed.
Although apartment hunting can be tough, it really is a matter of knowing what you want and being ready to apply and sign. Most places will require an application and you may want to look at the space before committing. Make sure to have enough time to look around, and don’t get worried if your first option falls through. There are plenty of places to live, it’s just a matter of looking for them.
Some on-campus living spaces only allow certain things in the rooms or limit you to what you can and can’t have. Items such as nails in the walls, mounted TVs and candles can’t be in the facility, which is bypassed when living off-campus. Although this is nice, there is the factor of having to find furniture for your home if it is not fully furnished. I looked around Facebook Marketplace for some cheap home goods that will last for a few years. You may not get the nicest things to begin with, but you can always sell some of those purchases and save up for something nicer. Yard sales are also great when looking for used cooking supplies or furniture.
If you aren't interested in furnishing your own place, The Grove and Identity apartments come with everything you need, so you can just bring your own belongings and move in. Both locations are beautiful places to live, with cool features like a gym and swimming pool. These are both apartment complexes with tons of great reviews but could be on the expensive side. Luckily, there are plenty of places to live that are within walking distance to campus that tend to be at a lower price. I would recommend living within walking distance or getting an off-campus parking pass, so you don’t have any excuse to not go to class, the gym or any other campus events.
When looking at apartments, make sure to check if utilities are included or what expenses you may have to pay at each place. Once you have done that, you can figure out what is within your budget. A big part of living off-campus is balancing your expenses because you will now have many bills that you probably didn’t have before. It is easy to make a list of all the things you will have to pay, then go from there to allocate your money to other places.
When you move off-campus and don’t have food made for you anymore, it’s a perfect time to learn how to cook or broaden your cooking skills. I loved having food made for me every day but didn’t like that I never had much of a choice of what was being served. By moving off-campus, I now have the ability to cook whatever I want, whenever I want. This can be great for some people but may be seen as a hassle to others. If you aren’t much of a cook, there are many online resources that provide quick and easy meals that are also budget friendly. A quick search on the internet will bring you tons of ideas and tell you exactly what you need.
Not only will you have to cook, but you will also take on a lot of other responsibilities. Part of living off-campus is an abundance of household chores that will have to be done. You may have to fix minor things around the house, so that is something to keep in mind. I always try to remember to break chores up into multiple days, so it feels like I am spending less time on actual household work. Another way to make this easier on yourself is to split it up between roommates. If you live with multiple people, you can take turns or work together on a specific cleaning day. This makes cleaning up a little bit more fun, and less of a chore.
Lastly, I would think about choosing who you live with and be wise about it. I have seen many instances where best friends live together, and it doesn’t work out well. If your living situation in your on-campus room wasn’t ideal, then it will likely only get worse living off-campus with them. Choosing reliable people who are similar to you are the best bets for roommates. You don’t always have to be best friends with your roommates but finding people who you are comfortable with and who you can confront when things bother you, will lead to a better experience. This doesn’t mean that you can’t live with your best friend, but it is something to think about when the time rolls around.
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when deciding to live off-campus, but there are a ton of benefits. I have enjoyed living off-campus this year and will continue to do so next year. I have learned a lot about my living style and how to match that with others.
I think the biggest take away from my time living off-campus is that I have to be resilient and not be lazy. It is easy to stay at home and hang out with your friends in a cozy place that you love, but you still have to be motivated to make good use of your time at U of I.
Living off-campus gives you tons of freedom but isn’t for everyone. Whether you decide to stay on campus or search to live elsewhere, I wish for everyone to be happy in their own living experiences.
The Ins and Outs of Ag Ed
As many of you may know, I am majoring in agricultural education. In high school I participated in FFA and took ag classes all four years. I was lucky enough to serve as an FFA chapter and district officer, where I was able to encourage others to use their skills and knowledge of agriculture to excel in contests. By my senior year, I was fully set on going to college and knew that I had a passion for helping others learn. Both the ag teachers I had were influential people during high school, and even after. For those reasons I decided I would major in agricultural education and be part of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Most students don’t exactly know what being an ag ed major requires or what it will look like when they enter the major, but luckily, I’ve been through three years and have a lot to share. For first year students, most will complete the basic prerequisite classes that many other majors have to take as well. There might be a couple lower-level education and science classes at the beginning as well, which can be a good way for students to see if this major is a good fit for them. After the first year, there are more specialized classes geared towards the content that will be taught in a future classroom.
One of my favorite things about my major is that I have had so many real-life experiences and tons of hands-on learning. Each of my welding and shop classes have not only taught me how to use shop equipment but also given me the skills I need to get a job in that field if I chose to. The Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications Department has also made it their priority to give us experience judging FFA contests, helping with the setup of big conferences, such as the FFA State Leadership Conference, and giving us the resources we need to prepare our future students.
One of the best things I was able to do was set up the North Idaho FFA Career Development Events with my AgEd 358 class. We were in charge of event planning, running the event, managing our individual contests and problem solving throughout the process. Although this experience was a lot of work, it helped me understand the ins and outs of running an event like that, which I will most likely have to do in the future. Not only was this a good learning experience for how to run an event, but also to learn how to collaborate with others in a stressful setting.
Another great part about being an ag ed major is how small and tight knit the program is. My cohort is about 10 people, so we all know each other fairly well. I have made friends with all the students that I will graduate with. We all have similar schedules, so there is always someone I know in the classes I take. This makes it easy when putting together study groups or asking for help from peers.
Along with the small cohort size, the department itself is pretty small. Because of this, it’s really easy to get to know the professors and you will likely have multiple classes taught by them. This is very different in comparison to other majors because each of the professors get to know you personally and work with you more directly. This is nice because sometimes you can have the opportunity to get jobs with them or recommended for internships during the summer. I was lucky enough to work with my advisor to make aroma kits for FFA food science contests. This was a really cool opportunity where I made wax melts with specific food science scents. I also did the behind the scenes work of sending out invoices, packaging orders and working with buyers from all over the country.
While there are a lot of reasons why I have chosen to stick with my major, there are a few main reasons that come to mind. I have been able to learn a lot of different content because I have the potential to teach many different subject areas. This has allowed me to always be interested in what I’m learning, and each semester is something a little different. I also know that when I finish school, I could go into a multitude of fields, not just teaching. I have also been able to gain a ton of hands-on experience, which I have enjoyed. Both of these factors have made my education seem worth it and makes me excited to teach others.
This leads to what I plan to do in the future. Given that I have knowledge of multiple areas, I could get a job in many fields, but as of now I plan to teach. Ideally, I would like to teach high school agriculture classes, starting off with some of the lower grades, with a focus on plant science. After a few years teaching at the high school level, I would like to go back to get my master’s and hopefully continue to teach and inspire students at a collegiate level.
All in all, agricultural education is a great major for any student interested in ag. The major is perfect for students that want to spread the knowledge of agriculture and keep people in the industry. While other fields such as STEM are growing, there will always be a need for ag, and ag education. I would encourage students to look into the major and give it a shot if they are even the slightest bit interested.
Classes to Take in the Future
As the spring semester nears its end, it’s time to start registering for fall classes. Some students may need a filler class or are trying to figure out which class to take out of a few options. With that being said, I would like to share some of my favorite classes I’ve taken that can be great options for any student.
One of the first classes that I took as a freshman was AVS 109: The Science of Animals that Serve Humanity. Through this class, I was able to learn the basics of animal agriculture. I would consider this to be an intro class for students in any agriculture major but is a good option for anyone who wants to broaden their knowledge with animal agriculture. I was able to learn the basics that I then built upon when I took higher level agriculture classes. AVS 109 was not only interesting because of the content, but because of the professor too. This class is taught by professor Phil Bass, who has tons of knowledge on livestock and meat specifically. Because of this, we learned about animal handling and wellness, meats and reproduction basics. He was able to crack jokes with the class and make us feel comfortable, even as freshmen who were intimidated by a large lecture class. This was truly a great class, and I would recommend it for any incoming freshman or students who are trying to learn more about animals.
One of the other classes that I took as a freshman was ENVS 101: Introduction to Environmental Science. I took the main environmental science class in high school, so I only had to take the lab portion in college. By speaking with some of my friends, they explained that the class was mainly based on topics of ethics and policies regarding the environment. The lab portion of the class, ENVS 102, was really interesting and I loved each lab. Each week we visited a different place, to learn about the environmental impact it has. One place that specifically stands out is the Steam Plant on campus. We got to see the process of how the plant produces energy that moves through tunnels to provide power to multiple buildings on campus. The class also gives you a chance to see certain sites in the Palouse area that you may not have known about before. Through this, I have been able to find some of my favorite hiking spots and learn more about how my lifestyle affects my environmental footprint.
One of the next classes that I would recommend taking would be AVS 222: Animal Reproduction and Breeding, taught by professor Amin Ahmadzadeh. While this is not an easy class, it is very informational to learn in depth about the reproduction and breeding process. We learned about anatomy, hormones and fertilization. This goes through differing reproduction of livestock animals, as well as cats, dogs and other animals. One of the things that stood out to me was Amin himself. Even though this was a lecture class, he would make it a point to learn everyone’s names and help us fully learn the content. He was always lively and found a way to keep everyone’s attention, even early in the morning. I was really challenged in the class, but because of that, I learned a lot of useful information, especially for raising and breeding livestock.
Another great class is REM 151: Rangeland Principles. Throughout this class, we learned all about how to manage land and the different uses of land. We looked at soils, plants and animals that differ in rangeland and how humans may impact them. These concepts helped me gain an understanding of how people can be a detriment to land, but also how we can play our part in restoring the land for future populations of wildlife. A cool aspect of REM 151 when I took it was that we were able to use an outdoor classroom during the nicer months of the semester. The outdoor classroom is located outside of the College of Natural Resources building and is a nice classroom environment. Professor Karen Launchbaugh teaches the class and keeps the class interested with fun activities and by encouraging student participation. She is a great resource for all things rangeland and has been known to help students with intern opportunities or field trips that drive student success. I always looked forward to attending class and working with groups to increase our knowledge of rangelands.
Lastly, one of my favorite classes that I took last semester was ASM 202: Agricultural Shop Practices. While I have taken other shop classes and welding, this class gives a full overview of many different CTE skills. In this class, I learned about everything from soldering to basic plumbing, and even some lathe work. While these have not always been my strong suit, I know that the skills I developed will be put to good use in the future. For anyone who wants some skills within these fields, this is a perfect class to take. Not only is the experience worth it, the professor, Marvin Heimgartner, makes the class fun and is willing to provide as much help as you need. Marvin has been one of my favorite professors to date, and I would encourage students to at least take one class from him during their time at the university.
Each of these classes have been very helpful to me for my major. While I was required to take a couple of them, I would take them again even if I wasn’t required. Most of them are simply nice knowledge to have but can be applicable to a lot of the jobs that CALS students will get in the future. I would encourage students to look at each of these classes in the course catalog and hopefully register for them in the future.
Fraternity and Sorority Recruitment
A huge part of college is the social aspect and making new friends. One of the best decisions I made was going through the formal recruitment processes to enter a Panhellenic sorority. While school isn’t just about making friends, it definitely helps when immersing yourself into a new environment. At the University of Idaho, there are a few different options on joining a fraternity or sorority. While each is a little different, they all help with growing friendships, working on academic goals and giving back to the community.
The fraternities and sororities that you see driving down Greek Row account for most of the chapters that are governed under the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council. There are currently 25 chapters, and each goes through a formal recruitment process right before school starts. Some chapters are also able to accept members through the year in a less formal process that allows students to get a better idea of what chapter they may want to enter.
At the beginning of the recruitment process, most students will stay in the dorms for the week and be put into groups led by current members of sororities or fraternities. The members that lead them around, a rho chi or rho gamma, have disaffiliated from their chapters and are there to provide nonbiased help throughout recruitment. Each day, new students visit with current members to get to know the chapters better. At the end of each day, the potential members rank their preferences and continue to whittle down their choice of what chapter to enter. The last day of recruitment is Bid Day, where new members will run home and move their belongings into the chapter facility.
While not all students have to move into the house, it is an experience that I would recommend. Once in a chapter, students will get to meet other people in their majors, contribute to a philanthropy, and get many opportunities to mingle and bond with other fraternity and sorority members. My sorority specifically put me in connection with other CALS majors, raises money to help provide for children who cannot read and visits elementary schools to read with children. We also do sisterhoods — movie nights on our chapter’s sundeck, study sessions at the library and community service activities like making care bags for homeless shelters. Each chapter is unique and have their own special events and experiences.
Another option is the multicultural Greek recruitment process. These chapters are governed by the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and bond through similar culture and values. To begin the recruitment process, the six chapters have a showcase week that allows prospective students to get a look into what these chapters have to offer. They follow this week with events where students get to meet with members and participate in activities. Examples of events done with MGC this past year was a game night, painting night and an informational event where students learned further how to rush. For some of the chapters, students cannot be a first-term freshman, that way those students have time to explore other Greek life options and get to know current members better. A great part about this is that members will be able to still live in their dorm or apartment once they have joined, since they aren’t able to enter until second term and the chapters do not have a designated house. A current Kappa Delta Chi member, Emilly Perez, let me know that even though their chapter is smaller with about 15 members, they still hold a strong bond together and value many of the same ideals.
For an additional option, there is a sorority on campus that is agriculture based. Sigma Alpha sets itself apart by dedicating their chapter to supporting women in agriculture. They start their recruitment process with a recruitment week after school has already started. It’s generally kicked off with a night where members share information about the sorority and their pillars which guide the organization. Each day of their recruitment process is based on one of the pillars and includes an event with Alpha Gamma Rho, one of the IFC fraternities. While they do a lot of the same activities as typical Panhellenic sororities, they do not have a chapter facility, which allows them to live separately from the members of their organization. This is a selling point to many of their members including Kaelie Brown and Jordyn Bettencourt, who enjoy living independently. Some of the things they do throughout the year are community pig raffles, a formal, and even create a curriculum for elementary students so they can go into the classrooms and teach them about agriculture.
While I have not experienced every type of recruitment or organization, each makes it a priority to base their membership on values, community service and academics. Not all of them have the same requirements, but they are each striving for the success of their members. I have been able to experience three years of my Panhellenic sorority and I have grown so much through each of those categories. Along with that I have been able to meet many amazing people, who have helped me thrive through college. By joining Greek life, you will get to meet students from different backgrounds with eye opening experiences, which in itself is worth it. If you are interested in joining a new community of any kind, look into the University of Idaho website to further explore the Greek life options on campus.
Things to do This Weekend
Since Moscow is fairly small, students sometimes struggle finding things to do on the weekends or in their free time. After a few years of being here, I’ve been able to find some fun things to do. Here are a few of my recommendations of some ideas on what to do with your friends when you’re bored.
I love to go on hikes and enjoy nature when the weather warms up. I have been able to find a few spots that are a nice hike and not too far out of town. One of my favorites is Phillips Farm, which is located about 5 miles north of Moscow. What’s cool about this place is that you can hike two different trails and enjoy several little streams and ponds. Both trails aren’t terribly hard and could be completed by anyone. They do vary in length, but maps posted on the farm can guide you to which trail you should take for your liking. A great add on to Phillips Farm is the covered picnic areas, where you can enjoy a packed lunch or utilize the charcoal grills. This would be a perfect place to bring some friends and enjoy a barbeque lunch together.
Another fun option could be going to Wild at Art to paint pottery or canvases. They offer a variety of options of pottery you can paint from plates to planters, and even some smaller figurines. For painting canvases, a cool option they have is the pour painting kits. I like this because you don’t have to have great painting skills, you just pour the paint right onto the canvas. Another option that I really love is mosaic making. This craft has to be done in their studio, but that does make it easier to get some help from professionals. I personally have done a few of these and have had a lot of fun with them. Some people may find this a little frustrating, but if you take your time and are patient, you will surely get an amazing result. Wild at Art has lots of creative options to choose from and has a nice range of prices so you don't have to spend more than you want.
A newer place that a lot of students haven't visited yet is Virtudome, a virtual reality arcade with many different games to play. They have three different experiences you can rent: an arena, a booth or an escape room. For the arena, you can have up to five people and can play with each other. This could be fun to bring friends to watch and play the game, and it’s only $10. You can choose what game you play, and each have fun elements that will keep you on your toes. The booths are a longer experience and have over 100 games to choose from. Some vary in how many people can play, but this could be a fun option even if you’re going solo. The one that really catches my eye is the escape room. Unlike a typical escape room, with the VR goggles, you will see a whole different world than what is actually in front of you. Each of the escape rooms give you 50 minutes to figure out how to get out and range from easy to hard. I personally would like to try this and think it could be a really fun activity.
During the nicer months, students can also go to the University of Idaho Golf Course. Students can play an 18-hole course or opt for a shorter time with nine holes. The course has a variety of challenging holes to play and features lots of beautiful scenery and nature. If the course is too intimidating, you can also go to the driving range and grab a bucket of golf balls to hit. This is a great option for students who may not be very experienced. You still get to enjoy time outdoors, but don’t have to commit to a full game. It’s also helpful that they rent out clubs. Many students don’t have space or don’t play enough to have their clubs with them in Moscow, so this is perfect. You can always check out the course on the university website if you are interested in prices or what the course looks like.
Lastly, I would recommend going to the Moscow Farmers Market. The market is open May-October every year and is fun to look around on a Saturday morning. If you’re like me, I love shopping and food. This is the best of both worlds mashed up into one. I enjoy waking up on a Saturday morning to grab some fresh produce and stroll through downtown Moscow. Not only do they have lots of fresh produce, but there are also plenty of vendors that provide other goods. Usually there are businesses that serve food such as sushi, donuts and crepes. There are also artists that sell paintings and jewelry which can be fun to look at and even purchase. My personal favorite booths are the ones where I get to grab some fresh plants or a bouquet of flowers to liven up a room. Overall, it’s a great time and a perfect opportunity to support local businesses and all students should attend at least once.
Even though Moscow is small, there are plenty of activities to do. With all these options, there should be at least one thing for everyone to enjoy. I have had a great time going to these places, or intend to make my way to them soon, and hope others partake as well. Check out these local places to switch up your regular routine and have some fun this weekend.
Best Places to Study on Campus
Finals week will be here before we know it, and that calls for some studying. There are tons of places to study around Moscow, but I would like to highlight some of my favorites on campus. With students having a wide variety of study preferences, it can be tough to find the perfect study spot. I talked to a few other students and asked what their preferences are and threw some of those in too.
As an agriculture education major, it would only make sense for me to start off with my favorite building to study at, the Education Building. The great thing about this building is that there are so many different areas to study. Throughout each floor, there is open space with tables and seating next to windows to catch the sunlight throughout the day. On the second floor, there are a few rooms that are open to any students to use, that feels very open and inviting. Some students call these the “fishbowl” rooms, due to the glass doors. I prefer these rooms because even though you’re in an enclosed room with a little bit of privacy, you can still look out. The best part of the Education Building is the roof. If you take the elevator up, you can access the rooftop. On the roof, there are a few tables where you can go study, all while enjoying a nice day. The view is great, and with such a limited amount of people, it tends to be pretty quiet.
If you are one of the people who enjoy being outside and studying, a place you may not have thought of studying at is the Arboretum. Most of the time, this is a pretty peaceful spot. Some buildings are hard for me to study in due to the influx of people who come in for class, or other distractions that take place. Out here, the most distracting thing would be a person running by. To take away some of the distractions, I like to find a place further into the trees and a little way from the main trial. This makes it much easier for me to stay on task and get my work done. I tend to like this for more of a study date with a friend. If you like to study in the sunshine, grab a blanket, some snacks, and your study materials for a productive and fun day.
For some people, they prefer the quiet nature of the arb, but for others, the silence is almost more distracting. If you like to have some background noise, I recommend the campus Starbucks by the VandalStore. This may seem like an odd place to study, but it’s nice for independent or group work. I have studied here a couple of times, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. For someone who may want to work on their own, there are plenty of seats at the bar area. There are also a few tables where you could work on a project with a group. I like it here because of the lighting. The area is lit up, but not with such harsh lighting as other buildings. I find this spot to be very cozy, and there is food and drinks right by you. I grab a coffee and a grilled cheese to help fuel my study session and enjoy the space. For anyone who likes a little bit of noise, this spot would be perfect for you.
For a study space that could be indoor or outdoor, I recommend the Integrated Research and Innovation Center, or the IRIC building. This is the large building across from the Agricultural Sciences Building. IRIC is interesting because while it is filled with office spaces, there is also a ton of space for studying. An obvious feature of all of my favorite buildings involves sunlight, and much like the Education Building, IRIC is covered in windows. The first floor has an open area with a lot of tables, so many people could fit into this classroom-like space. But if you venture up to the second floor, there are some higher tables for two and my favorite part, the deck. The deck faces the Agricultural Sciences Building and would be perfect to enjoy a nice day. While this could be nice during spring, during the warmer months, the shaded outdoor seating under the large stairs next to the building would be perfect for an outdoor study area out of the elements.
Another highly recommended study spot is the J. A. Albertson Building basement. Many business majors may have already visited this area, but it was completely new to me. I took a visit down to the basement and was pleasantly surprised with the huge study setup they have. There are a couple of different rooms that have multiple couches, desks and large tables for group work. The workspaces are quiet and inviting for all students. Another great feature of this is the TVs in each small station. Students can take a break from studying or connect their laptop to the screen so a group can see an assignment. If you’re looking for a new space to study, this would be a great area to check out.
While there are plenty of different buildings to study, I think these are some of the ones that not all students have checked out. Many other places like the library and the ISUB are great to study at, but if you need a change of space, check out some of the areas.
Students choosing their major for the first time, or those who may be thinking about changing majors, may ask, why CALS? The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has many reasons why students should choose to major in the college, ranging from a variety of majors, scholarships and special opportunities that other universities don’t offer.
Many people have the perception that only students who grew up on a farm go into CALS majors. This isn’t always the case. While many students I have had classes with did grow up working in agriculture, many students come from very suburban areas. This is because there is a huge variety of undergraduate majors in the college. With nearly 30 different majors, there could be an interesting major or minor for any student. One major that sticks out to me in CALS is apparel, textiles and design. This major is very diverse and gives students a bulk of knowledge on all areas regarding clothing and is a very popular degree. There are also many others that students may not even know are within CALS such as early childhood education and global disease ecology.
One thing I worried about when I got to college was that I was going to be surrounded by peers who had much more experience than I did. While that may have been true, the university provides many experiential opportunities so everyone can be on an even playing field. The CALS facilities on campus are up to date and give students, of any background, the experiences they need to be successful. For example, students in the agriculture education major who have never been in FFA before, still get the opportunity to see what contests look like from a student perspective. Along with that, they get to run the contests from an administrative side and even get to help out during statewide contests and conferences. While that may only be one example, there are many others across the 28 majors that CALS offers.
A unique part of CALS is the specialized experiences that are offered to students. Some of these are formal classes that have a lab attached to them, while others are lab-based jobs or research. Many students participate in an artificial insemination class or a meat evaluation class where you can see different cuts of meat and learn more about that field of work. Something that stands out to me is the new Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory. Students can work in the lab and contribute to the growth of one of our top commodities. They gain experience through the lab and get to be a part of growing potatoes that will be transferred all over the globe.
Not only can students take these classes, but they can also get certificates for their knowledge, or take what they have learned and apply it to a future job. From this, it is clear that CALS has made it a priority to give back to its students and help them be ready for their future careers or even for an internship while they are still in school.
Another perk of CALS is that the college offers $3.5 million in scholarships each year. These are based on need, academic achievement or are given to students who meet the specific criteria of a scholarship. Being a recipient of some of these scholarships, I am grateful to have been given a little help with my college career. Many students struggle with how to afford school, so this can help relieve some of that stress. With such a large sum of money given out each year, more than 50% of CALS students will receive one of the scholarships offered. This shows that CALS cares about the students within the college and wants to help in any way they can. Not only have I benefited from the scholarships, but many of my close peers have as well.
Even though these are all great aspects of CALS, the best thing is that the professors are all very supportive of our tightknit community. A CALS student, Ashley Swanson, expressed that all her professors have always been friendly and willing to help with anything she needs. I have had a very similar experience and have been supported through every struggle of my education. The CALS professors make it a point to learn the names of everyone in their classes and get to know the students' interests to help them grow and achieve their goals. The professors spend time building relationships with their whole class and enjoy connecting with the future leaders of their industry. I believe these professors play a vital role in the success of students and oftentimes help students get jobs and internships that could potentially change their futures.
All in all, CALS gives students a multitude of opportunities and covers a variety of interests and majors. Without CALS, I wouldn’t have such a wide range of experiences and skills that I have now. I would encourage anyone looking to go into a CALS major or profession to consider my experiences, as well as check out the University of Idaho website to view each major in full detail.
Summer Bucket List
During this semester I have had a wonderful time writing the CALS blog. I have been able to meet with some awesome individuals and have been happy to share some helpful tips and experiences with you all. The blog will be on hold during the summer, so I’ll share some fun bucket list ideas to check off during summer break.
One of my favorite things to do over the summer is to attend rodeos. For some, this seems like a given, but many students have never been to one before. There are plenty of rodeos throughout Idaho during the summer, but one of my favorites is the Caldwell Night Rodeo. Although it is later in the summer, it is still a blast to attend. There are also ones coming up soon like the Riggings Rodeo this weekend. Many students from the University of Idaho go to this and it's always a good time, especially when you are joined by your friends.
An area that I would encourage students to visit would be McCall, specifically during the 4th of July. I have been going to McCall almost every summer and love the fireworks show that they put on. Each year the fireworks show seems to get bigger and bigger and is perfect to watch while on the lake or hanging out on the dock or beach. It is a busy time of year, but I’ve enjoyed going through the different shops downtown and getting a huge ice cream cone at Ice Cream Alley. Other fun things to do are renting paddle boards, jet skis, or a boat to hang out on the lake. Any of these activities is fun, but especially during the 4th.
If you’re in the Boise area, or take a trip down, a great way to enjoy your day is by floating the Boise River. You can buy your own tubes or rent them and relax for a few hours on the water. I would recommend a heavy-duty tube, due to brush and sticks that may pop a conventional innertube. The river is fairly slow but is just right to relax and be with friends. You can get out at small beaches to eat a packed lunch or go all the way through and grab a bite to eat later. I have had a great time floating the river and would encourage you and your family to do it together.
Boise also has a lot of other sites to see, such as Table Rock and Freak Alley. For Boise residents these are very familiar, but for those who don’t live around the area, these could be some places you may want to check out. Table Rock is a 3.7-mile hike located a short drive from Boise. Once you’ve reached the top, you get to see a great view filled with trees and is even better during sunset or sunrise. When going back downtown, many visitors like to check out Freak Alley, which showcases local artists who have used different mediums to decorate an alley. I always find it amazing to see what people can create and think everyone else can appreciate the beauty of it too.
Another family-oriented event I would recommend would be booking a whitewater rafting trip. I have done many of these in Riggings with my family, but you can travel further as well. For students that may be in the north Idaho area for the summer, rafting trips in Montana may be a closer option. Last summer, I went on a rafting trip in Montana with Pangea River Rafting and had a blast. The drive from Coeur d’Alene is about three hours and is nice to take a little road trip out of the area. The guide was very friendly and made us feel safe, while still having fun. This is a fun activity, no matter where it is done or who you’re with.
One of my favorite ideas is to take a road trip to a different state and go sightseeing. This could involve going to Lagoon in Utah, or even attend some of the music festivals that are close. There are tons of national parks and beautiful hikes to see nearby, so those are always options as well. I love taking road trips to visit hot springs and setting up a campsite for a bit so I can relax and enjoy nature for a while. These are all great options to look into if you want to get out of your hometown for a bit.
There are a multitude of activities to do during the summer, and I hope these give you some ideas. Once again, I have learned a lot and enjoyed my time writing for CALS this semester and cannot wait to bring you all more information regarding CALS and the University of Idaho next semester.
Coming back to school from summer break can be an overwhelming experience. Not only for new students but also for those returning. Luckily, the University of Idaho has many opportunities, socially and academically to help with the stress. Starting off strong in both these aspects will help you be successful this next semester, and for the rest of your college career.
One of the most important things for new students is to become comfortable in the new environment. This all starts with making friends and getting out of your comfort zone. One great part of U of I is the number of clubs and organizations students can join. There are over 200 groups for students to join, which is a great way to grow socially and academically.
Many of these clubs help further the education of students and allow you to make friends with similar interests. This can help students acclimate to the college lifestyle and grow in their education. I have found that the clubs I have joined have given me leadership opportunities, connected me with people in my classes, and given me a chance to learn many new skills that I may not have obtained otherwise. My favorite clubs include Collegiate FFA, Student Idaho Cattle Association, and ;Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. Even though these are all agriculture-based organizations, there are plenty of others that encompass other interests. It's never too late to join one of these organizations and get involved on campus.
More fun ways to get involved are attending university events. By checking the website, or even stopping to read fliers posted all around campus, you can learn about a ton of different upcoming events. Some of those to note are Homecoming events, Vandal athletics and even the occasional drive-in movie. Other events like Parents Weekend, team up with business downtown to bring family fun events as well. Some of those events use a great resource, Engage UIdaho. Through this website, you can find multiple university events and even some community service opportunities. Signing up for these events through Engage makes it easy to access and connect you to others who are interested. Overall, just like clubs, the university and community provide a multitude of different events and activities for everyone to enjoy.
While the social aspects of college are a good way to start off the semester, planning accordingly for the semester is just as important. One of my biggest tips for college life is getting organized from the beginning. After the first couple weeks of classes, I recommend looking at each syllabus and start recording when assignments are due. Some people find that entering each assignment into an excel sheet and arranging them by date works best. I prefer to have everything written down, so I use a calendar and planner to ensure I’m not missing any important dates. For those that like to get things done early, like me, try to write down the assignments before the actual due date. This leaves a little bit of wiggle room and reduces the stress of trying to cram in assignments.
A stable routine goes together with being organized. Setting a good basis for when it's time to go to bed, study or work, will contribute to your overall success as well. I prefer to use the bedtime sections of the clock app on my iPhone to set an alarm for each individual day. For Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I have my alarms set early. For the other days of the week, they are a little later. This part of the app also lets you set a bedtime, so you can see how many hours of sleep you get, and when you should wind down for the night. This is helpful to get a reminder notification to stay consistent. I also like to keep my work schedule and homework schedule consistent, so I can schedule other activities around them. Setting times of day when you work the best help you figure out when you have time to relax and do other fun things.
After establishing a good schedule, I would encourage you to set SMART goals for yourself. SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time-based. Setting goals will help you stay on top of your responsibilities and hopefully keep you motivated, even when school becomes very busy. Some ideas may be to study for three hours a week for all your tests or go to the gym for one hour, four times a week. These are both simple and can be easily checked off of your to-do list each day. Even setting goals that are small add up to some sort of achievement in the end. Setting small goals to achieve a bigger goal makes it easy to do. Think of different big goals, then split them into chunks of how that will be easier to do.
Along with making goals, remember to destress. While the semester has just begun and classes have just picked up, as the weeks go by, you will only get busier. By taking time to take care of yourself, you will be more equipped to stay motivated throughout the year. You should prioritize school, but make sure to leave some time for doing the activities that you enjoy as well. Even if that is simply a 15-minute walk outside or visiting the therapy dogs at the Recreation and Wellbeing Center, this provides a little break to recharge and take a minute for yourself. While getting an education and spending time with friends are both important aspects of college life, taking care of yourself should always come first. I hope everyone is excited about this semester, and hope that these tips guide you towards a fun and successful semester.
When entering college as a freshman, I had no idea what to expect. For some, this could be a perfect time to learn as it comes, but others may want a little bit of a heads up. I was one of the students who wanted to know what to expect, but I didn’t know who to ask. These are just some of the main things I learned through my first couple years of college that might make your life a bit easier.
- First and foremost, don’t be afraid to meet with your professors. Some of the older students I met had told me to consider meeting each of my professors, but that seemed very daunting for me. Looking back, this is one of the most helpful tips for getting the maximum help possible in your education. Many professors enjoy meeting with their students and don’t mind providing them help. Each professor will have office hours, which are available to any of their students. If their office hours do not work within your schedule, a quick email to schedule a different time usually works too. I found that even sending an email with a question about the lecture, homework or anything else regarding the class is also just as effective.
- I would also recommend taking at least one class that sparks your other interests. The university will give you a whole list of classes that you have to take, but if you find another class that interests you as well, add it into your schedule. I have taken a couple of classes that solely piqued my interest, and those have been some of the most rewarding classes I have taken. Fun classes that I have taken or have been recommended are environmental science, yoga, photography and any welding or shop course. These classes are a way to give you a break from classes that may take more time and effort. Some of these will give you a new hobby, help build your resume or even just change your lifestyle. Getting credit for activities you may do anyways is an easy way to really enjoy school.
- Next, you should try something new. Like I mentioned in last week’s blog, trying something new can really open your options in college. Meeting new people and joining clubs can transform your experience completely. Not only are these great ways to expand your horizons, trying new things in general helps you grow. If you have never been to the surrounding areas of Moscow, take a mini road trip. Even though the surrounding towns are pretty small, there are truly some hidden gems. Getting out to visit these places is an adventure and allows you to try new things. With close hikes, restaurants, and shops, there is something for everyone. My personal favorites are hiking at Phillips Farms, eating at South Fork Public House Restaurant in Pullman and visiting A Modern Plantsman plant store in Colfax. By visiting these places for the first time, I was able to discover my favorites and get to share those with others to enjoy as well. All these places bring me joy, and it’s fun to discover what those places are for you.
- One handy tip I can provide is using student discounts. I didn’t start using student discounts until well into my sophomore year, and I could’ve saved a ton of money if I started using them prior to that. Most people know about the common ones like Amazon Prime, Apple Music and Spotify, but there are also some awesome deals in town as well. One of those is 10% off at the Moscow Co-Op, on Fridays. This is a nice discount if getting groceries, or even if you are grabbing a quick bite from their deli. At Moscow Yoga Center, they also offer 10% off. If you haven’t tried yoga before, take the 10% discount and sign up for a class. For other discounts that aren’t in town, one of my favorite apps is UniDays. With this app you can find a discount for just about anything. A lot of the discounts are for clothing or online stores, but sometimes there are great deals on random items. When scrolling through, I found a discount on a Costco membership, 15% off BOSE speakers and other tech, as well as multiple discounts on various protein powders. Looking around can take some time, but there is always a good deal in there. No matter where you shop, make sure to ask about a student discount, and save your money.
- Lastly, try to get as much experience under your belt as you can while in college. There are several different ways to obtain experience, sometimes you just have to reach out or keep your eyes open for them. I have gotten some of the best hands-on learning experiences from field trips, labs, internships and work study. Many of these opportunities are sent out in emails, announced in classes or posted online. Make sure to read those emails, search the web and apply for anything you can. While I haven’t done the most to get all the experience I could, I wish I would’ve earlier in my college career, when I had more time. Getting experience before graduating can give you a leg up on your future career, or even pave the way for you to have a job right out of college. Making connections early and networking through the opportunities you’ve taken will help you in the long run. The University of Idaho has so many options for students in every college, it just takes a little drive to reach out and do them.
These are all things that helped me through the last three years of college. Make sure to reach out and get help from professors, try new things, save some money, and learn as much through hands-on activities as possible. College only lasts so long, so soak it in and make the most of it while you’re here.
Many opportunities can arise at the University of Idaho. Some are educational experiences, community engagement and job opportunities. Making connections at the university has helped students achieve these opportunities and has made a difference in the lives of many. This week, I interviewed Mackie Griggs about her experience at a summer internship she participated in.
Mackie is a senior at U of I studying animal and veterinary science: production option with a minor in rangeland ecology and management. She came to U of I from Elko, Nevada. She knew she wanted to go to school away from home and became interested in U of I because of the great experiences her family had here. Once she toured campus and learned more about the agriculture programs, she knew this was the perfect place for her undergraduate studies. Through the past couple years, she has landed a few different internships, including one this past summer.
Every year Mackie would attend the U of I Career Fair and meet with multiple companies, but one in particular stuck out to her. Beef Northwest caught her attention because her home ranch partners cattle with them, and she wanted to see where they were ending up. After working with a branch of Beef Northwest last year, she was able to come back in a new position. This summer, her work with Beef Northwest was based in Boardman, Oregon, which is about 50 miles southwest of the Tri-Cities. She worked as a management intern, which allowed her to spend time with multiple managers and supervisors within the company. She was able to see how the different branches of the company were run and gain insight on how the company works from different management standpoints.
Since she was meeting with all the managers and supervisors, Mackie was able to travel throughout her time in this position which was her favorite part. Although she spent most of her time in Boardman, she visited the feedlots in Quincy, Washington and Nyssa, Oregon, and even made her way to Beef Northwest headquarters in North Powder, Oregon. In each of these locations, she went over leadership positions within the company, rules of management, information about feedlots in general and how to be a successful supervisor. Through these topics, she learned how to work with consumer demands, which will help her in any aspect of the industry.
Mackie was able to see every aspect of the company, and the ins and outs, which most visitors wouldn’t be able to do. Seeing each part of the company, she realized she was meeting industry leaders, which helped her build more connections within the feedlot world. These leaders are highly knowledgeable and shared that knowledge with her. Meeting them gave Mackie a chance to apply her skills, enhance her professionalism and learn how to ask the right questions to get the most out of her time at Beef Northwest. She was even able to meet the company founder, John Wilson, which was a special opportunity for her.
Mackie not only believes this internship helped further her career within the cattle industry, it was also eye opening. Seeing the daily operations, she gained the ability to deal with difficult situations and to manage others effectively.
“I grew as a person and realize I have something to offer the industry,” she said.
Mackie believes this internship has given her the skills needed for her future. After graduation, she has plans to move away from Idaho to look for work on a large cattle ranch, where she will be able to work with a different community of people and continue her work within the livestock industry.
Mackie has a great passion for agriculture and the internships she has fulfilled. She intends to continue advocating for the agriculture industry and hopes to inspire others to follow that path as well. She shared that many young people are straying away from the agriculture industry, but that it is still a vital part of the world. Mackie wants to change this narrative and encourage others to go into the industry that has provided her with so much.
Mackie is thankful for the experiences U of I and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has given her. She wants students to get out of their comfort zones, and try to get involved in any way they can, because those are the experiences that have made her love and enjoy her time at U of I.
An exciting week is coming up at the University of Idaho. Homecoming week starts Sunday, Sept. 25, and will last all week long. Along with homecoming, CALS Days will take place for prospective students across the region. With so much packed into the week, it’s the perfect time to highlight some of my favorite events.
The women’s soccer game is the first event of the week and will follow with a kick-off event at the Kibbie Dome. Students will pack the stands and get excited for the upcoming week ahead with the chance to participate in activities as a student body.
There will be a food drive and blood drive Monday through Friday. In the past the food drive has provided nonperishable goods and other items to the Moscow Food Bank, as well as the food pantry to feed K-12 students over the weekends. This is an opportunity to come together as students and show our support for the community that provides so much for us.
As for events happening later in the week, there are a few that I would recommend attending. The first of those being the skits that are performed. Each year, there is a theme for clubs and housing organizations to make a skit or jingle to. This is a fun event where students get to be creative and put together a short performance. I have participated in putting one of these skits together and had a blast working behind the scenes. Although I didn’t perform, I enjoyed going with friends to watch what everyone else came up with. This year, ASUI, clubs and living groups will be performing, so make sure to go watch. The skits will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the Theophilus Tower Lawn.
One of my absolute favorite events is the Serpentine. If you have never been, it is an experience you don’t want to miss. Serpentine is a U of I tradition that has been taking place since the early 1900s. It used to only snake through the football field, but since has grown larger to collect students all through campus. Led by the Vandal Marching Band, the Serpentine begins at the university golf course at 8 p.m. and ends at the Kibbie Dome parking lot. As the marching band plays, students hop in line behind them and make their way through campus. I have always enjoyed seeing everyone joining together to celebrate their Vandal pride and getting excited to attend the bonfire that follows.
At the bonfire, students circle around, listen to the band, sing along with the fight song, and spend time with their friends and families. The last couple years, I have brought my family and they have enjoyed it just as much as me. If your family or friends are visiting for homecoming, this is a great event to have them come to. The fire is huge and definitely draws a crowd. Not only is there a fire, the homecoming court also is welcomed to the front to reveal who homecoming royalty is. It's fun to cheer on the people on the court, as well as congratulate the homecoming king and queen. To vote for homecoming royalty, you can find nominees in your Vandal email. These two events in conjunction make for a fun night surrounded by the Vandal community.
On Saturday, there will be a parade downtown. Members of the community will line the streets dressed in their Vandal gear and cheer while all the floats make their way through town. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m.
Homecoming wouldn’t be homecoming without a tailgate. This year, there will be a free CALS tailgate held at the Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory facility from 3:30-6 p.m. Students are asked to RSVP for this event. At the tailgate, high school students attending CALS Days and current U of I students, faculty and staff will be in attendance. Plenty of food and drinks will be available, so stop by to mingle and get some Vandal Brand Meats BBQ. Not only is this an event that will bring CALS together, it’s also a great opportunity to meet with potential students who will have spent the weekend participating in workshops and contests. If you attend, remember to show those students your love for CALS and share some of your own educational experiences with them.
After the tailgate is the football game. I believe that homecoming football games are the best games to attend. The stands will be packed, and I hope to see great representation for our team. While the game is something you should go to, the half time show is just as amazing. The Vandal marching band always does a stellar job with their performances. I have been coming up to Moscow for homecoming for many years, and they never disappoint. With the addition of the new lights and additions to the Kibbie Dome, I’m sure they will be aiming to put on their best show yet.
Overall, I hope to see everyone participate in some kind of event this homecoming week. It should be a fun week and is welcome for all to attend. Get out and show your Vandal pride!
With the long homecoming week wrapping up, I want to highlight an event next week. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, CALS will be hosting their annual networking night. This is a very helpful event that all CALS students should attend at least once. If you have never attended, I have some tips and insight on what this event will look like for you.
The event is held in the Agriculture Biotech Interaction Court from 5:30-7 p.m. If you don’t know where Ag Biotech is, you most likely have passed it on your way to the Ag Science building. These buildings are connected, but Biotech is the green portion of the two buildings. When I attended, I walked into the first floor of Ag Biotech, which ended up funneling into the main area of the CALS Networking Night. If you get lost, just follow the noise and you will find exactly what you are looking for.
If you haven’t heard of this event, you may not know what to expect or what it even is. The CALS Networking Night is an event specifically designed for CALS students to meet with employers and industry professionals. This event is for agriculture-based employers, which makes it unique. There are a variety of people to talk to, and this is a great way to get your foot in the door. Some of the employers are IFA Nurseries, Chobani, Roseburg Forest Products and Four Rivers Cattle Feeding. There are plenty of others included in that list, which makes this a beneficial event. By meeting with these companies, students can get job offers, internships and other opportunities to further their knowledge. I personally have never got one, but I had other great experiences. By attending, I was able to meet with hop growers close to where I will be student teaching, which will give me a great resource to go to if I need help. An important thing to remember about this event is that you don’t have to get a job out of it. Even though that is a hopeful outcome for many, this is a chance to network with others and find some resources and people who may be useful for you in the future.
So now you know what happens at CALS Networking Night, but what should you expect? I wasn’t exactly the most prepared when I attended, but luckily, I learned a few things from being unprepared. The first thing is that everyone will look professional, so I would recommend going the same route. Whatever professional means in your book, is what I would go for. Remember that these are important people in the industry and maybe one could be your employer, so dress for the occasion.
I would also come prepared with your resume in hand. Make sure to print off plenty of copies, because the companies will most likely want to take a copy for themselves and look at it later. This is a very important part of attending. Although employers will get a good look into who you are when you talk to them, a resume shows what you know and what you’ve done. If you need help on your resume, Career Services offers excellent feedback on how to make it better. They are located on the third floor of the I-SUB and can also do mock interviews with you to help you with speaking to businesses at the networking night. If you don’t want to go in person, they also offer some online resources.
Lastly, look over who will be in attendance. When I went for the first time, I didn’t know who would be there, so I ended up wandering around to find somewhere that interested me. By looking up the businesses beforehand, you can have better knowledge of what places may interest you. This makes your time there more valuable and potentially improves your chances of getting a job offer in the future. Even if you don’t know what you are looking for in a career, researching each place and seeing what they have to offer may help you narrow down who you talk to when you get there.
Something to note is that this event is similar to the Career Fair. The career fair will be the following day, Oct. 5 from 2-6 p.m. The career fair will feature more employers and will be located at the Kibbie Dome. This is open to all students and will have many different industries represented. If there is an employer you meet with at the networking night and have more questions or would like to talk more, you can certainly meet with them again at the career fair. If you are interested in more information about the career fair, check out a previous blog (Jan. 28) I wrote that discusses it more.
All in all, these two events are surely worthwhile experiences. Students year after year find dream job opportunities and can open new doors by attending. Check out the CALS Networking Night, as well as the University of Idaho Career Fair on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
Many organizations around campus and within Moscow thrive due to volunteers. While they depend on volunteers, there is always a need for more. Sometimes volunteer hours are required of students. Required or not, volunteering is a rewarding experience that everyone should partake in every now and then. Students may not know where to even start when looking for places to volunteer, so I’ll offer up some options to choose from.
One of the most common places is the Humane Society of the Palouse. The Humane Society is an animal welfare agency where volunteers are able to help with a multitude of activities. By going to their website, you can set up times to play with the animals and give them some time out of their kennels. This is a really easy way to help these animals stay happy and healthy. Another option is making items to donate to the animals. One option is making toys for the animals to play with. Another option is to make blankets for the kennels. I’m someone who likes to craft, so this is a perfect activity for me to have fun and give back at the same time. If you aren’t someone who enjoys crafting or don’t have the time to schedule a shift, you can also set up group activities to raise money. These can be done with an organization such as a student club or a living group to do an activity and donate the money to the shelter. On a smaller scale, people are also able to buy pet food and donate it to their food pantry. Each of these are easy to do and can make a huge difference.
On the note of donating food, there is a need for food donations constantly at the University of Idaho. If you didn’t know, there is a food pantry on campus that is open for all students to donate and to receive from. The Vandal Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every week. Volunteers are always needed to assist in pick up and drop offs. There are multiple drop off bins located around campus. You can find these at the main location in Shoup Hall 105, as well as on the east side of the Pitman Center, and the Idaho Student Union Building, right outside of Einstein’s. Perishable items are available to be picked up during staffed hours, but non-perishable items can be dropped off at any time. Not only can you donate food, but you can also donate hygiene products. Even if you can only donate a few items, this makes a difference in student lives every day. Also remember that if you are in need of food or hygiene products, anyone can pick up items, so head to the Vandal Food Pantry during business hours.
For those that are education majors or enjoy working with children, sometimes the local schools are looking for volunteers. I have spent a few hours working at Lena Whitmore Elementary reading to students and helping with classroom activities. Working with the students is exciting for them and is also a fun environment to be in. Some of these activities include helping within the classroom, out-of-school activities and even field trips. This may be harder to do and may require some background information to help within the school district, but definitely is an amazing experience. If you are interested in giving a hand at the school, I would contact them directly and ask if they need some help.
Lastly, if none of these opportunities pique your interest, you can always check out online resources that list different events and service opportunities. You can search community service needs, check out bulletin boards on campus, as well as check out my favorite, the University of Idaho GivePulse. GivePulse is a website that lists events or organizations that need volunteers. These are listed chronologically so that you can search by times you are available, or you can search by interests. Each listing has a description of what you can do to help, and who you are benefitting. Some of these even show you how to start or post your own event. I have volunteered for multiple listings on this site and have always enjoyed my time. Check out GivePulse and find some great volunteer sites.
Overall, each of these places are exceptional ways to get involved in the community and a way to give back to those in need. There is always a need for help, and I encourage looking deeper for something that interests you. No matter what you choose, know you are making a difference in someone’s life. From the volunteer experience that I have, I always find it to be rewarding at the end. So, let’s join together to help out our community in any way we can this semester.
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is made up of many diverse groups and people. There are constant events being put on by CALS clubs and this week I will highlight a few that will be happening in the coming weeks.
The first event that is coming up is the Halloween Plant Sale put on by the Plant and Soil Science Club on Friday, Oct. 28. They will be tabling from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside the ISUB next to Einstein’s. The sale will include a wide variety of succulents and houseplants to choose from. All of the money made from this event will go back to the club for future events as well as funding their purchases for Parent’s Weekend hanging baskets and poinsettias. One of their recent events was a midterm plant party where they made macramé plant holders and painted flowerpots. From this sale, the club is hoping to raise money to attend some field trips, one of them being their annual orchard pruning trip in the spring. If you are interested in joining this club, they meet at the Sixth St. Greenhouse at 5 p.m. every Thursday. They encourage those who are interested in taking care of houseplants, propagating and disease management to join. This is a great way to get hands-on experience with plants and also gives you the opportunity to spend time with those who have a passion for plants. If you are interested in buying some plants to spruce up your space, stop by the ISUB on Oct. 28.
On the same day, the Aldrich Entomology Club will be holding a haunted museum event for the public from 5-7 p.m. at the William F. Barr Entomological Museum. The insect museum is in the Agriculture Science Building in room 136. This event is mainly geared towards youth, ages 4-10. This could be a perfect event for a child in your life. There is an entry fee of $5 and tickets will be available at the door. They encourage those attending to come dressed up to get in the spirit of Halloween. This event will feature a few different activities to participate in. The first of those being a museum hunt. This allows participants to go through the museum and search for missing specimens. They also give kids the chance to test their skills and bravery get through a spider web rope course. Lastly, they will have an array of live exotic insects to hold and learn about. This should be a fun event, so get the word out about it.
Next month, the CALS Student Affairs Council (CALSAC) will be hosting a fall festival on Nov. 11 where students can play games and meet members of CALS clubs. This is a great way to get involved with other CALS students, as well as potentially finding some clubs you may want to join. The fall fest will be held at the Animal Pavilion and Meats Lab at 6:30 p.m. and will be open to all students, even non-CALS students. In the past, CALS has held a pumpkin carving event to let students meet others with similar interests in the CALS community. This has been one of my favorite events during college, but this new event will bring new activities and hopefully more students. With a variety of clubs within CALS, there is a potential for several clubs to be in attendance. Each of the clubs will host an activity or game that will be fun and give students the opportunity to learn more about them. In addition to the games and activities, there will be a corn hole tournament for anyone who would like to participate, as well as plenty of drinks and snacks. For anyone who has been curious about the CALS clubs, this is an amazing opportunity to get to know them in a less formal setting. More information will be coming out in the next couple weeks, so keep an eye out.
Each one of these events sound like a fun time and a nice break from school. Put these dates on your calendar and get ready to meet some clubs. Each club would love to see participation and some new faces to their groups. Join in on all the fun fall activities and don’t be afraid to ask how to be a member of each of the clubs featured.
Fall is here and school is getting busy. Fall is the time that students start to get bogged down in schoolwork and are looking for a break. I know that I am always looking for fun things to do on the weekends and enjoy spending time with my friends to take a break. Check out these fun activities to do in the next couple weeks.
Picking pumpkins has been a fall favorite of mine since I was a little kid. I love going through hundreds of pumpkins to find the perfect one. Luckily there are a couple great places to find the perfect pumpkin this fall. Marketta Ridge Farm offers a U-Pick Pumpkin Patch open Thursday to Saturday from noon to dusk. The farm runs throughout October and will continue to sell pumpkins until they run out. They are located in Pullman, Washington and sell pumpkins, gourds and dried corn stalks. These all make perfect decorations and range from $1 to $6.
On a similar note, at the Spring Valley Family Tree Farm in Troy there is an annual pumpkin hunt that will take place Oct. 22 and 23. Here you have the opportunity to find that perfect pumpkin and partake in some other activities. They provide a straw bale maze which is similar to a corn maze. They also have tons of sweets. Each day, they make freshly squeezed apple cider, pumpkin bars and pumpkin donuts. If you are anything like me, you’re a sucker for anything and everything pumpkin flavored. This is the perfect place to get all the fall treats. In addition, they have a gift shop that features small businesses and their products. All the items are handcrafted and help the community members of Troy. This could be a fun event to attend this weekend and isn’t too far from home.
If you really want to make a trip and get some produce, Green Bluff is a great option. Green Bluff is located in Mead, Washington, which is about 25 minutes from Spokane. Green Bluff is a huge operation of produce growers. Visitors are able to peruse through crops and pick their own. Growers also have pre-picked produce if that is more your style. One of the growers, Beck’s Harvest House, is one of the more popular places at Green Bluff. They offer warm pumpkin donuts, pies and even put on a corn maze. They really try to make attending their area the most fun as possible. During the fall, they often provide live music, and bring several food trucks for visitors to indulge in. They are truly one of the best there. There are several places to visit within this area, so you could fill a few hours with all there is to do. Other features are mini golf, live animals and wine tasting rooms. For those in the agriculture industry, this is a fascinating place to visit, even if you are only there to admire the ag practices. I encourage everyone to visit here at some point in their lives.
If you are heading up north for Green Bluff or just for a fun trip, I would recommend going to Scarywood, the Silverwood Theme Park converted to a haunted experience. This is located in Athol, which is just north of Coeur d’ Alene. During October, they open the theme park at night and fill it with terrifying attractions. Most of Silverwood’s 70 rides are available to try, and some even go backwards. Throughout the park, there are an additional nine scare zones. Some of these zones are the Freaky Farm, the Dark Alley and Clown Town, which would be my personal nightmare. In addition, there are pitch black mazes to navigate through and several haunted houses. This is the total package of a frightening night, which would be fun to attend as a group of your bravest friends.
As for activities in Moscow, there are always community events going on. One of the events that I found to be interesting is a Scary Movie Double Feature, put on by Moscow Film Society and Vandal Entertainment. On Oct. 28 they will be showing Chopping Mall and Nightmare on Elm Street at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre. These movies are classic horror films that would be enjoyable to anyone who is interested in scary movies. These will be showing from 7-10 p.m. The best part is, the movies are $10 to see, but are free for University of Idaho students. Head downtown to enjoy some classic films in the heart of Moscow.
Seeing all of these places you can go to really shows how much is going on around the area. Even if you only go to one of these, it will surely get you into the spirit of Halloween and autumn.
Throughout the last couple years, I have fallen in love with podcasts. I enjoy listening when driving, getting ready and even when I clean my house. I have a ton of different podcasts in my weekly rotation. Most of the time, these include crime and humor, but recently I have found some very inspiring podcasts involving education, agriculture and finances, which I would like to share.
Most people have heard of Ted Talks, but what many don’t know is that there is a Ted Talks podcast. They have a collection of 20 Ted Podcasts, all with different topics, so there’s something for everyone. These overarching topics range from travel, technology, health and self-improvement. Out of all the topics, my favorite is Ted Talks Daily, which is an educational podcast. I find this podcast interesting because there is always something new to learn. The episodes cover something different and are often vastly opposite from the day before. When opening the podcast each day, it is always a surprise, which I gravitate to. The episodes are about 15 minutes long, so it is perfect for a quick drive, or even a break from focusing on school work. Getting information from these podcasts helps me learn more about the world we live in and gives me more information to relate to others. Some of the episodes I would recommend in Ted Talks Daily are: “Why the Price of Insulin is a Danger to Diabetics” and “The Brain Science (and Benefits) of ASMR.” These two are extremely interesting to learn about. I was intrigued by the fun facts and know someday that knowledge may come in handy. All of the episodes have a great takeaway and definitely are worth scrolling through to find something that interests you.
The next podcast on my list is The Rural Woman Podcast. This has been one of my absolute favorites lately. In agriculture, women are often not the face of the farm. Host Katelyn Duban wanted to change that. Katelyn focuses on bringing the agriculture community closer, highlighting women and inspiring others to be successful. This podcast features women participating in a variety of agriculture industries, telling their stories on how they have become successful, as well as the struggles they faced. This is a very honest podcast and shares the experiences of others. I find it enlightening to know that others have been in my shoes before and that they can be people I look up to. One of my favorite episodes is, “Facing Your Fears in Agriculture.” The guest on this episode, Marina Schmidt, didn’t come from an agricultural background but found herself immersed in ag after marrying her husband. I connected with this and found her take on agriculture very eye-opening. This podcast brings great topics to the table and is engaging to anyone in the agriculture world.
Damian Mason is another podcast host determined to teach others about modern agriculture. The Business of Agriculture Podcast focuses on every aspect of agriculture and how business may be affected. This podcast gives helpful information about agriculture on a larger scale and how elements of other countries may play a role in our agriculture. One of the recent episodes I listened to, “What an Aging, Shrinking Population Means for Ag (and Everything Else),” was compelling. Damian discusses how having an older median consumer population will affect consumer demands, as well as the workforce. This is a topic I never really thought about before I stumbled upon this episode. Some of the things mentioned in this podcast could be argued, but he makes great points that will get you thinking. This is a great podcast for learning more about global agriculture and diverse topics, so I would highly recommend this one.
Learning is at the center of all these podcasts. While we can each learn about things that interest us like ag, we should all focus on learning about our finances as well. The College Investor Audio Show is one of the more relatable podcasts about finance. It focuses on relevant money making to students and how to be successful, even while you’re in college. These are easy listening and average around 15 minutes each. The host, Robert Farrington, makes terms simple, yet interesting. Finances aren’t my favorite thing to learn about, but through this podcast I find I can pay attention because they are so short. Some of the recent episodes cover retirement, building credit and even tips on making money through the internet. The topics are applicable to college students and give insight on how we can prepare for our future. Check out the podcast for answers about all your finance questions.
If you are looking for a podcast closer to home, consider listening to The Vandal Theory, a podcast straight out of the University of Idaho. U of I professors and researchers share their expertise and what they have found in their studies. I find this to be especially fun to listen to because these are people you may actually know or see around campus. Many of our CALS professors have been featured on this podcast and share their take on current issues they are researching. Some of these individuals featured are Shelly McGuire, Lorie Higgins, John Hall, Ron Hardy and Jodi Johnson-Maynard. Each has given amazing information regarding issues in agriculture and Idaho. If you are curious to see what these professors have to say, check out The Vandal Theory.
My last recommendation is Life Kit. This is a podcast that I enjoy for many reasons. It encompasses just about any topic under the sun and is marketed as tips to navigating life. This is a perfect podcast for a lighthearted lesson on life and can really open your eyes to new ideas. One of the episodes that caught my eye was, “How to Reset Your Digital Life.” Currently, most of our lives are dependent on the internet and social media. This episode encourages unplugging and creating a life of digital minimalism. This made me stop and think about my use of online resources and how to limit that. With over 500 episodes, there is surely a topic of interest to everyone. Much like the Ted Talks podcast, Life Kit has a collection of shows of more focused topics. If you are interested in learning more about health or money, they have some great episodes in those collections.
Now that I have compiled a list of these inspiring podcasts, they will all enter my weekly podcast rotation. By listening to these, I will challenge myself to learn more about certain topics and new ideas. Listening to just one of these podcasts a day will teach me something new and drive me to be successful. I encourage everyone to give at least one of these a try and see what new things you could learn.
The University of Idaho is often praised for its values. Throughout the years the university has been building these to better our community and help students thrive. There are five main values that we uphold: excellence, respect, integrity, perseverance and sustainability. While the first four are often qualities that U of I students hold, sustainability is one that the university as a whole practices every day.
Since the 1980’s, U of I has been sustainably powering the campus with the help of the District Energy Plant, often referred to as the steam plant. Many people have seen this building, as it is frequently viewed for the skeletons in the window, but not many really know what it is. Across campus, tunnels are used to transport utilities needed to heat sidewalks, cool water and provide compressed air for buildings. These are all important to giving us a comfortable way of life through college, but equally as important in creating a sustainable environment.
The steam plant was previously used for coal, but the university eventually converted to using natural gas to lower emissions. By creating mutually beneficial deals with local lumber mills, the university was able to fuel our campus needs, and help the mills get rid of their waste. To ensure that the university is lowering the environmental damage, they have set strict rules that they abide by. Some examples of these are fueling the plant with woody biomass and using the ash produced as fertilizer or other uses on campus.
During my freshman year, I was able to visit the steam plant and had my first look into sustainability. I was able to learn about how each process worked, start to finish. If you are interested in the steam plant specifically, you can book group tours and they will be more than willing to share their knowledge with you.
Another way U of I is pushing towards a sustainable campus is through the Student Sustainability Cooperative. This is a student-led organization that has the goal of continuing sustainable practices at the university. The SSC has a variety of different ways that they help around campus. One of the first that I was made aware of is the Vandal Sustainability Pledge. This is a quick online pledge that students can view and pledge to make some changes. The categories of the pledge range from water, energy, transportation and waste management. Each of the categories gives great ideas on how to be more sustainable in your everyday life. In addition to the pledge, they also provide a Green Living Guide, which gives some simple ideas on how to live green. In addition to the resources they provide, they also participate in and run plenty of events that are all ecologically friendly to our campus. One event to keep on your radar is Get Rooted, on Nov. 12. This event will be at 9 a.m. and will consist of planting and maintaining plants around the Palouse. This will be a really fun event and will also help out the vegetation on the Palouse. If you are interested in learning more about the Student Sustainability Cooperative, head to their Instagram @uisustainability, and click on their Linktree link in their bio.
Through CALS, one of the biggest sustainability projects is CAFE, or the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. This will be an ongoing project, which started in 2019, that is planning a 30-year sustainability study. CAFE will be focusing on agronomic, food science and animal related research. They will also be focusing on workforce training and outreach, all through three different sites around Idaho. These research sites are within Minidoka, Jerome and Twin Falls counties. Through CAFE, wastewater and nutrient management will hopefully be improved and information on how to lead agriculture with more sustainable methods will be discovered. Each component will have a different aspect of the research, but will all work together to come up with solutions to sustainability issues statewide and globally.
Another research project CALS is implementing is the Deep Soil Ecotron research facility. Currently, most studies on soil are done with soil that is about 1 foot down in the ground. While this isn’t very far, this is still damaging to soil systems. The university has planned to build a Deep Soil Ecotron, which will be one of 13 to exist in the world. This will be housed at the J.W. Martin Laboratory and will hopefully break ground in 2023.This Deep Soil Ecotron allows researchers to look at what kinds of impact abiotic and biotic factors play in a whole ecosystem. The Ecotron will manipulate those factors simultaneously and measure far more than most soil research facilities can. This will reach depths of about 10 feet and give researchers better resources to manage variables. The importance of this project is huge for preparing for the future. With this research, we will be able to gain a better idea of how to plan for a variety of environmental changes, which will be vital to the agriculture industry.
One of the most recent sustainable actions to be taken at U of I is through the United States Department of Agriculture. CALS has received a $55 million grant through the Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities. With this being the largest grant to date received by U of I, this is a huge step in the right direction for sustainable practices. Something unique about this grant is that it will directly benefit Idaho farmers. Over 100 Idaho farmers will be able to participate in the partnership to try out new farming practices that will help reduce emissions and poor environmental effects. This grant will also be used to help conserve tribal lands and work towards more climate friendly practices. With a push to implement more eco-friendly farming and ranching practices, this could be an incredible transition for Idaho.
The University of Idaho is making huge strides to lead in a sustainable manner. If you are interested in being one of the upcoming leaders of sustainable agriculture, the university offers many opportunities. One of those opportunities is to join the sustainable food systems major, which provides many career avenues. All of these initiatives the university is taking are equally important, so support each one and let’s work towards being more sustainable together.
Idaho is a perfect place to go outside and enjoy our wonderful nature. For those of you who may not know, the University of Idaho offers a variety of outdoor experiences to its students with the help of the Outdoor Program. The Outdoor Program is a non-profit organization located in the Student Recreation Center. This program helps students experience the outdoors through equipment rentals, repairs on your own equipment and offers trips and adventures.
The Rental Center is a huge attraction for students seeking adventure but don’t have the room or resources with them at U of I. Many students don’t have the space to store their camping equipment, snowboards or gear. Others may not be able to afford to buy all new equipment just for a weekend trip. If you struggle with either of these issues, the Rental Center is a great option to check out. For nicer weather, students can rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. There are many different options of each, so you can be fitted to what will work best for you. Some other options for nicer weather include backpacking and climbing equipment. In addition, they offer a variety of camping gear. For a camping trip, students may need a tent, sleeping bag and an ability to cook for the weekend. Camping stoves and sleeping pads are offered for a more comfortable stay. With cold weather and snow beginning, you may want to check out their winter sports selections. They offer packages for skis, snowboards and snowshoes, which can be reserved before the winter rush picks up. Anyone can rent from the Rental Center, but U of I students get a discount, so if you are interested, pop in and make a reservation for your next snowy trip.
If you already have equipment for your outdoor getaway, you may simply need a tune up or repair on your equipment. The Outdoor Program does an excellent job on tuning up skis and snowboards. This includes filing of the base and edges as well as waxing. Usually, a tuning is $35 but for the month of November, they are doing all of this for half the price. They offer these both separately, for those that may not need the full service done. If you can’t get in during November, they will be holding a ski and board tune clinic for $20 on Dec. 7. In addition, they can mount and adjust bindings as well as any other repairs that may be needed. Some of these do have a flat price but may require an estimate based on the damage. For other equipment repairs, they offer tent and raft repairs in addition to winter equipment.
The center also puts on several special events throughout the year. Each year at the beginning of school, they put on a rafting trip down the Lower Salmon River, a kayak clinic at the U of I Swim Center, as well as a fly-fishing class session followed by a fishing trip. If you are interested in these, keep your eye out for them in the next year. An event that I find very interesting is the Wilderness First Responder Hybrid Course. This course takes students through lessons of wilderness medicine and basic life support skills. For someone who needs to get CPR certified or is interested in gaining this knowledge, this is a perfect class to take. The course is taught by Desert Mountain Medicine and is taught in a full course or refresher course format.
Lastly, the Outdoor Center is there to offer you advice on trips and can get you discounted lift tickets to nearby destinations. The first of these destinations is Lookout Pass, a mountain pass which borders Idaho and Montana, about three hours from Moscow. This mountain includes 14 new trails that will surely be exciting to experience. Students can get a lift ticket here for $47, but if you are interested in a season pass, full time students can get them for $129. Another option for discounted tickets is at Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg. Lift tickets can be purchased at the Outdoor Center for $52. Not only can you head up the mountain to ski or snowboard, Silver Mountain Resort also has beautiful lodging and an indoor water park. This could be great for a whole weekend adventure.
All in all, the U of I Outdoor Program is full of outdoor opportunities. For everything from equipment to repairs and even survival classes, they are a very useful resource on campus. Visit the Student Recreation Center to learn more about how they can assist you in your next adventure.
Throughout the last year, I have been lucky to share my experiences and learn more about CALS with this blog. Reflecting on this experience, I have been able to meet with many different people, discover some of my favorite spots on campus, and share tips with prospective and current students. While I have loved this opportunity, it has come to an end for me.
During high school, I was able to tutor and work with students in 4th and 5th grade every day after school for three years. This showed me how much teachers and people who come into the school can truly make a difference in students’ lives. In the after-school program, 4-H was an enrichment activity that students participated in each week. Being in FFA and raising animals, I already had this passion for agriculture, but I noticed that students hadn’t had much experience with ag, until it was brought in for their program. This sparked my motivation to educate students and show them the importance of agriculture.
The University of Idaho has provided me with a great education, and CALS has given me countless hands-on opportunities that I had never experienced before. With the variety of classes offered through CALS and the agriculture education program, I feel U of I has made me a more well-rounded person. Each of these experiences will give me the knowledge to go on and provide some of the same experiences to students.
This semester, I have been focusing on putting together all my materials and learning how to be an effective educator before I enter the spring semester as a student teacher. I will be student teaching in Homedale, teaching shop classes, animal science, leadership, and an exploratory class for 8th grade students. I am very excited to enter the classroom as an educator to show students why agriculture matters and what they can do to be part of that in their future. I have been looking forward to this moment for the past four years and can’t wait to get started.
Looking ahead to the future, I hope to excel and learn in my student teaching semester, and graduate from the university with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. After that, I intend to secure a full-time teaching position focusing on animal science, plant science, and leadership, while obtaining my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
As I leave U of I, I have thought long and hard about the main pieces of advice that I believe all students should know. The first is to get involved. The minute I got to U of I, I set out to join a sorority, and find a great group of women who would support me through the next four years. I was lucky enough to join Pi Beta Phi and be surrounded by people who pushed me to grow and helped me branch out. I also made sure to reach out to different clubs and join groups that had similar interests as me. These have by far been some of my best decisions, because I have met amazing people along the way and believe that my college experience wouldn’t be as meaningful without the people who were by my side.
Second, getting organized and creating routines are things that I learned quickly when I got to the university. A lot of students find that, when they get here, they have more free time than they have ever had in the past. We come into the university from full days of class in high school, to maybe only having class three days a week. I realized I had a lot of free time between my classes and wasted a lot of that time in my first couple semesters. This is huge when getting busier with school and possibly working a job. Creating a schedule and making a consistent routine allowed me to get my work done and allowed me to utilize my time more wisely.
Next, take classes that will allow you to grow and pique your interest. All of us have a degree audit to fill up with required classes, but you do have the ability to take other classes that may interest you. Some of the more interesting classes I have taken have been the ones that I took as electives. Since I ended up having some open space in my schedule, my advisor gave me the advice to find a class that I was interested in and take a chance on it. I took history of rock and roll, ethics, personal fitness, and rangeland management, which all were interesting and fun. If you have the space or if it falls under one of the sections you need, take a class that could help you learn something new.
Lastly, cherish every moment of college. People often tell you that high school flies by in the blink of an eye. What they don’t tell you is that college goes by even faster. U of I and the City of Moscow have so much to offer and constantly hold events. Attend the concerts, serpentine, games, farmers markets and everything in between. Enjoy the time with your friends, before you go separate ways. Even though you will have bad days here, you will make some of your best memories here as well. I still feel like I just got here, and now I am getting ready to pack all my belongings and hit the road home. Truly appreciate every experience for what it is and brush off the tough times when they come.
I have had the best college experience, and I hope each of you finds your place within the University of Idaho. There are many unique opportunities that are offered here, and each will make a difference in your lives. Thank you all for coming along on my journey and reading From the North each week. The blog will return in the spring semester with a new CALS student writer.