Reenergize Your Food Science Club

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By: Emily Wolter

I have experienced the extremes when it comes to involvement with different types of food science clubs, both small and large. I gained my B.S. in Food Science from Texas Tech University and was very active in their smaller food science club from the beginning. Despite the smaller degree of participation, we got a lot done from fundraising to volunteering, participating in Arbor Day, running in Race for the Cure, competing in IFTSA’s College Bowl, etc. Never let the size of your club discourage you!

And, since I couldn’t get enough of food science, I signed up for graduate school at North Carolina State University. The NCSU Food Science Club is also a successful club, but it is much larger and appears to run so smoothly. So I went straight to the source, President of the NCSU Food Science Club, Maggie Schneider, to gain some insight into the inner workings of the club.

Regardless of whether you are a leader of a food science club or simply a member of the club, these tips are sure to help you reenergize your club!

First of all, “We have been blessed with Dairy Bar”, Maggie says, which takes a toll on the students for about 2 weeks straight, but enables the club to do so much throughout the year and serves as the sole fundraiser. It’s crucial to have successful fundraisers for smooth operation, so keep an eye out for those opportunities. At Texas Tech, we were in need of more funding, so I began a fundraiser making Apple Lemon Preserves and it was a huge hit… Be creative!

Maggie mentioned that the faculty and staff help out where they can, which is a great tip – Don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty and staff for assistance with club events! Also, reach out to companies to speak with your fellow students (the future of food science). Maybe you have done an internship in the past and have a connection? They may be willing to help with funding too!

So how do you keep everything running smoothly in a big club? Maggie described to me the organization and structure of the NCSU food science club and I gained a few overall tips for clubs of all sizes. Fill specific board positions and ensure everyone is doing their part. Make big decisions as a group/board. Have regular meetings, both of the executive board and the club as a whole.

If you are a leader or active member of a club who is experiencing a lull in activity, Maggie has 3 words for you: community, food, and follow-up. “You have to find a way to make members feel like they are part of something bigger and make them feel welcome. There is no replacement for creating genuine relationships with your members to create that sense of community.”

Speak up! How would you describe your food science club? Do you have any tips for other clubs or perhaps a problem that you have encountered? Let us know in the comments.

Picture: Central Atlantic Area Meeting

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Science Meets Food

The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members. Through competitions, scholarships, networking, and leadership opportunities, you’ll set yourself apart from your classmates (unless they’re members too).