Animal Related College Clubs

One of the most important things you can do while pursuing an animal related degree is to participate in as many organizations related to your major as possible.  Participation facilitates networking in the industry and looks fantastic on a new graduate’s resume.  Employers do take college activities into consideration when making hiring decisions, especially when considering recent graduates.  Participation in clubs can also lead to a student finding out about job opportunities and internships that have not been advertised to the public.

Most colleges offer a variety of club options which enhance the classroom experience and offer the opportunity to gain valuable hands on experience working with animals.  Here are a few of the major clubs that are traditionally available through colleges and universities:

Block and Bridle Club

Show winning sheep
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Block and Bridle Club is a standard offering of Animal Science programs throughout the country.  The National Block and Bridle Club was founded in 1919 and reports chapters at 92 schools.  Some older organizations retained their original names (Animal Science Club, Saddle and Sirloin Club) while becoming affiliate members of the national group.  Block and Bridle Club brings together students interested in pursuing careers in animal agriculture and husbandry.  Activities are varied and often include events such as lectures, field trips, exhibitions, livestock shows, fundraisers, and community service events.

Equestrian Teams

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Equestrian Teams are generally part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.  The IHSA was founded in 1967 and provides opportunities for students to compete in hunt seat and western riding show events.  There are over 370 schools in the United States and Canada that participate in intercollegiate showing.  Upper level riders can compete in hunter over fences and reining events.  Riders advance through a series of skill levels on a performance-based point system.  During the show season students travel throughout a specific region to member schools, riding unfamiliar horses in competition.  The season culminates in a national championship that includes events for individuals and teams.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club

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Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club is a very important club that all aspiring veterinarians should join.  This club provides lectures related to the field of veterinary medicine, coordinates visits to vet schools, advises students on their coursework, and helps students complete their vet school applications.  Most clubs will also assist members with finding part time jobs at veterinary clinics to gain valuable practical experience.  Future vets should consider taking a leadership role in this club as an elected officer, as this can be a huge plus on vet school applications.  Vet schools do place a premium on both leadership and hands on experience.

Livestock Judging Teams

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Livestock Judging Teams are comprised of students with an interest in learning about competitive livestock evaluation techniques.  Members gain extensive knowledge about livestock breed standards for a variety of livestock species including beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry.  At competitions for livestock judging each student rates animals (often at major livestock shows) where they are required to score animals and defend their reasoning through oral arguments.  Teams also compete for a highly coveted national championship in livestock judging.

Final Word

While these four clubs are the standard offerings at most colleges, there may be several other additional club options depending on what programs are available. Additional club options may include those that focus on animal behavior, animal production, animal rescue, or specific breeds of interest. Students pursuing animal related degrees will certainly find that it is worth their while to participate in clubs related to their future career goals, as it will enhance their resume and their skill set.