An organization focused on education and appreciation of agriculture across campus and in the U.S. was officially recognized at Northwest.
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences is a new organization on campus that aims to expand diversity in the industry of agriculture and other related fields. Northwest Student Senate recognized MANRRS when freshman Isaiah Massey spoke on behalf of the organization in a meeting Oct. 15.
According to the organization’s mission statement, it strives to define “diversity” as an opportunity to provide different levels of thinking.
Massey said the organization should represent a diversity of thought, as well as diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, in order for the organization to serve the purpose it intends to.
“Agriculture as a whole is a minority right now,” Massey said. “Yes, we have the strongest agriculture industry in the world, but we have less than 2% of Americans that are in production agriculture.”
Massey recorded more than 31 people interested following the Student Senate meeting Oct. 15, and said he is hopeful for what the organization will become when regular meetings incur in early November.
MANRRS is a national organization built to recognize minority groups that work in day-to-day positions in the fields of agriculture, biotechnology, engineering and similar fields. The organization is not limited to just minority membership, as others are encouraged to join to spread knowledge about those industries.
The organization provides students with networking and leadership opportunities in agricultural-science-related fields of work and study through holding national conventions and meetings that regional members travel to.
There are six regions in the U.S. today, with a grand total of 64 national members. Massey hopes to get Northwest MANRRS nationally recognized within the next two years.
A Missouri State FFA officer, Massey said his interest in bringing MANRRS to Northwest piqued when he met a fellow FFA student who was involved with the organization at another school.
While doing a college search his senior year of high school, Massey noticed Northwest did not have MANRRS and decided in that moment he would do what he could to bring it to campus.
“My vision with MANRRS is to make it to be a community driven organization on campus that allows for students helping students,” Massey said. “I really want to do a lot of different projects, … teach and educate college kids how food is grown and where it comes from.”
To get the organization approved, Massey sought out help from Justin Mallett, the newly hired associate provost of diversity and inclusion on campus, who Massey said helped provide a clear and focused plan that made the process easier.
MANRRS’ main adviser is associate professor Nigel Hoilett, who teaches soils classes at the CIE for agriculture students. The organization has received verbal support from assistant professor Marcus McGee and instructor Rod Barr.
Massey said he has big plans for the organization and is already beginning to plan projects, hoping it will give students good techniques and skills to equip members for future professions in agricultural science fields.
“I want to help people build skills and be informed,” Massey said. “The thing about agriculture and science and all those different avenues is everything you learn, you can directly apply it to your everyday life.”