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An annual tradition at Dal AC
By Emma Geldart
For students and alumni at Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Ruminant Animal Centre (RAC) is bustling with students, faculty and staff prepping their livestock for one of Dal AC’s most anticipated annual events- College Royal.
“College Royal is an extremely significant event to our unique campus because it brings joy and excitement towards our farm,” Victoria Hue, event co-chair explains. “The wide array of students who participate is a testament to the unifying nature off this event.”
Taking place on campus this Friday, October 18, College Royal is a student-led event that provides all members of the Aggie community with the opportunity to prepare, handle and show livestock animals. The event offers students the chance to learn about livestock outside of the classroom in a hands-on environment and has been a tradition on campus since 1935.
Participants compete in the chicken, sheep, and dairy classes. Novice and experienced students, faculty and staff work for two weeks training their animals. They then compete against each other in a showmanship-style competition held at the RAC on campus. Competitors are judged on how they present themselves and their animals, as would be done in a real showmanship competition.
“This is a chance for students to get to know aspects of our campus that are intrinsic to our identity as the AC- the animal units, barn staff, and so much more.” Victoria explains. “As much as College Royal is about the actual event, the part in which students learn the most is during the days leading up to it.”
College Royal is a celebration of agriculture and an industry that works incredibly hard to care for their livestock animals. It is a welcoming opportunity for students of all programs and backgrounds. Students are encouraged to participate with an open mind and willingness to learn more about livestock animals and agriculture. For some, this event is their first interaction with livestock. This was the case for Victoria Hue, event co-chair and fourth year BSc (Agriculture) student.
“College Royal was one of my very first introductions to agriculture!” Victoria smiles. “Showing a chicken was my first time ever handling a livestock animal. As a student with absolutely no agricultural background, I felt incredibly welcomed and safe in an environment I could learn and enjoy alongside my peers.”
As co-chair of the event, Victoria has worked behind the scenes with fellow co-chair Julia Vosman to bring College Royal to life. Their brainstorming began in September to create the 2019 logo and theme for College Royal. Through consultations with a logo graphic designer, the logo came to life. The logo depicts a cow, sheep and chicken stacked atop one another surrounded by an arch of barley- a representation of both the faculty’s famous Barley Ring and the recently installed Barley Arch in the Alumni Gardens. The navy and yellow colors are a subtle testament to the campus’s origin- the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
“We thought about how the barley arch welcomes visitors at the entrance of the Alumni Gardens,” Victoria explains. “I was so excited that this staple piece of our campus could be represented on the shirts. The connection between alumni attendants and an Alumni Garden inspired design aligned so perfectly.”
The countless hours that Victoria and Julia have spent advertising, informing students, designing, and coordinating logistics will soon pay off. As the event draws near, Victoria is excited to see what the day will bring.
“We have worked very closely with Jean Lynds, the RAC manager, and the barn staff in order to create a safe, fun, and welcoming environment for all students to participate and work with their animal,” Victoria explains. “This year we even held showmanship clinics for students wanting to learn how to properly show their heifer, sheep, or chicken. We’re excited to see what the day brings on Friday!”
Thursday evening kicks off the College Royal celebrations with the Farmers Olympics. Teams of four compete in fun-filled events in the spirt of agriculture. Students can join in on the fun by coming to the MacMillan Show Centre on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. While it may be too late to compete in College Royal this Friday, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to drop by the RAC on Friday, Oct. 18 to cheer on their fellow Aggies in the most anticipated event of the year. Remarks from Dean Gray will kick off the event at 12 p.m. with the first event (poultry) scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
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