U of M, Crookston Sophomore Dustin Smith, Staples, Minn., Elected to State FFA Office

smith_dustin.jpgThe 82nd annual Minnesota State FFA Convention brought more than 3,000 high school students to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in early May. One of the items of business on the convention agenda was the election of state officers for 2011-12. Dustin Smith, a sophomore at the U of M, Crookston, was elected as the new State Sentinel, making him one of a very small group  of students from the Crookston campus to ever hold a position as one of the state's six officers. Smith, who is from Staples, Minn., is a triple major in agricultural business, business management, and agronomy on the Crookston campus.

To be elected to an office at that level, a candidate is gauged in eight competency areas including communication, team player, areas of knowledge, organizational skills, character, passion for success, influence, and critical thinking. They must complete a detailed application and series of interviews after which a nominating committee selects the top six individuals for office. The sentinel's responsibilities include among others helping the president maintain order, meeting room preparation and caring for the emblems of each office, and keeping accurate records of members and their activities.

Smith is honored by his selection to state office, "Being elected to state office has been my goal ever since I had my first interaction with a state officer," he says. "The impact that past state officers have left on my life are my motivation for doing the best I can and being able to make a difference in the lives of FFA members will make this the most meaningful thing I've ever done."

Along with Collegiate FFA, he is also active in the Ag Business Club, Campus Crusade for Christ, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) team, and serves as the assistant director for intramural activities on the Crookston campus.

"give2grow" was the convention theme. Students attending had opportunities to develop leadership and communication skills, gain career and agricultural knowledge, and gather new ideas from prominent agricultural leaders and fellow FFA members. The new officers and their home FFA chapters are President: Hillary Kletscher, Wabasso; Vice president: Andrew Miron, Forest Lake; Secretary: Katie McNab, Waseca; Treasurer: Tyler Warren, Litchfield; Reporter: Chelsea Vilchis, Hutchinson; and Sentinel: Dustin Smith, Staples-Motley.

To learn more, visit www.mnffa.org.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and more than 40 concentrations, including several online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,400 undergraduates from more than 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: : Lyle Westrom, associate professor, Ag and Natural Resources Dept., 218-281-8110 (lwestrom@umn.edu) ; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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