The first annual Ram Camp was the start of college life for nearly 190 freshman agriculture sciences students enrolled in ACC 192, Agricultural Systems.
Ram Camp was set into motion through a simple survey of previous freshmen involved in the freshman agriculture seminar. Trina Kennedy, coordinator of the freshman seminar in the college of agricultural sciences, explained that the survey showed 90 percent of students involved in the seminar hated the lecture, but 90 percent of them loved the recitation groups.
“We needed to do something different with the lecture,” Kennedy said.
Instead of spreading one hour a week over fifteen weeks, Ram Camp combined the fifteen lecture hours into one day, eliminating the lecture component of the class.
“In the university, one credit equals 15 hours of instruction,” Kennedy explained.
The object of Ram Camp was “to teach incoming freshmen the history, traditions and fight songs of CSU, but most importantly to have fun!” said Robert Miller, coordinator and advisor for the agriculture ambassadors. “We wanted to make sure that new students understood what was important at CSU.”
Ram Camp involved everyone in the College of Agriculture Sciences. Eleven faculty members represented the separate colleges, including animal and equine science, soil and crop science, and horticulture and landscape.
“We appreciate the freshmen for choosing CSU. We wanted to welcome them and make them feel comfortable,” Kennedy said.
Thirty-five agriculture ambassadors composed of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, coordinated the camp. The ambassadors were selected to run the camp because of their “outstanding leadership capabilities and true passion,” said Miller.
The ambassadors helped prepare and serve a kick-off lunch, loaded the buses, performed skits about CSU campus life, and kept everything running smoothly. The ambassadors also chose to dedicate the first annual Ram Camp to Daniel Fuhrman, a friend and member of the agriculture college, who left for active duty.
Ram Camp began on Aug. 23. The freshmen checked in and then proceeded to their barbecue lunch. After the meal, a bus took the participants up to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park.
The evening was spent listening to speakers. Mike Davis, the Alumni Center director, welcomed the students. Following the welcoming speech, Tom Fields gave a speech on the Seven Principles of Ram Pride. Some of those principles included unselfishness, commitment and service. He also taught the freshmen the Fum McGraw fight song.
“The best part (of camp) was the game where you had to pull something out of a bag and eat it. It was a relay race and they had some interesting stuff (to eat),” said Alex Ansteth, a freshman equine science and agriculture business major.
Jim and Nadine Henry, CSU alumni of the century, wrote a letter congratulating the class of 2006, which was read to the participants of Ram Camp. In their letter they stressed the importance of being involved and giving back to the university.
ConAgra Foods made a presentation about career opportunities in agriculture sciences. From the presentation, “I learned to respect and appreciate the livestock commodity and be more aware,” Ansteth said.
After the presentations, freshmen broke into their small groups where they had the opportunity to get to know each other better. In small groups, participants were able to express what they were feeling, talk about being away from home, and discuss how to make the transition.
“They were two months ahead in developing that connection with each other,” said Miller.
“(Camp) helped academically,” Kennedy said. “Everyone had mixed feelings going up there. Camp was built to develop the freshmen and help them express themselves.”
Kelli Loutzenhiser, freshman equine science major, attended Ram Camp. “As a freshman it helped me gain confidence by just knowing people and professors.
It made transition to college a lot easier.”
Several businesses contributed to Ram Camp, including the Colorado State University Bookstore, the CSU Beef Club, Beef Industry Leadership Program, College of Ag. Science dean’s office and ConAgra Foods.