LaTech students have a farm, ee-i-ee-i-oh.
But most students have not set foot on it.
South Campus is a section of campus located further down California Avenue where students majoring in science or education focused around animals take classes to learn in a more hands-on way.
Hannah Vincent, a sophomore agriculture education major, stood proudly beside her sheep, Millie, and told me about her major.
“The best thing about my major is getting to work with animals, being outside and learning about agriculture more and more every day,” Vincent said.
For Vincent, her major was an easy choice because she excelled at showing animals in high school
“I raised and showed sheep and pigs,” she said. “Raising animals is interesting and joyful because it is you being responsible for another being.”
Tanner Roberts, a sophomore animal science major, said she gets to work on South Campus with many classes involved with his major.
“I get to spend the majority of time here,” Roberts said. “South Campus is often overlooked, but there is not a more welcoming place.”
Vincent Bahm, a junior agriculture education major, said he feels the same welcoming sentiment when working on South Campus.
“I have learned that no matter where you go in life, you can always depend on someone raised in the country,” Bahm said. “On South Campus, we are all family.”
Bahm said that throughout his life he has raised different poultry species such as chickens, ducks, quail, turkeys, pigeons, geese and peacocks.
“Every bird has a different personality,” he said. “Instead of the normal pets like dogs and cats, I had poultry as my pets.”
Vincent said she learns things like woodworking, small engines and welding along with a variety of information about animals.
“I learn something cool and new every day,” she said. “Like now, I am taking a poultry class and we are learning all kinds of things about chickens, which may seem boring to some but it is interesting and fun.”
Roberts said she learns the most from the animals.
“I have learned and done a lot of interesting things with the animals on the farm,” she said. “I know all of this knowledge and hands-on experience will be extremely valuable to bring with me to vet school.”
Animals on South Campus include pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, horses and donkeys.
Besides being valuable to students with majors involving animals, South Campus is also home to events like the Horseless Rodeo, Lil’ International Student Livestock Show and Dog Dips.
“I think that because South Campus is separate from main campus, many people don’t know that we exist,” Roberts said. “That’s why we love events like the Horseless Rodeo. It gives people a chance to come join in the fun and see what we are all about.”
Vincent said students who do not have majors involving animals should always feel welcome.
“South Campus is full of knowledge that isn’t just animals and the farm,” she said. “We all aren’t from the farm, either. We are from all different kinds of backgrounds. We have tons of events going on here.”
The Tech Farm Sales Room is also another aspect of South Campus that brings the community in.
Bahm, who also leads worship music for the South Campus Bible Study and works in the Meats Lab, said people wait in line for greenhouse vegetables.
“The salesroom works as an extension of the Louisiana Tech Meats Lab and greenhouses,” he said. “The Meats Lab processes everything from whole chicken to ground chuck to be sold, while the greenhouses grow poinsettias, bedding plants and vegetables.”
Bahm said the Meats Lab is where they slaughter commercial swine, beef cattle, goats and sheep and process the carcasses into retail cuts for sale in the Tech Salesroom. They also make pan sausage, link sausage, smoke cured bacon and smoke cured hams.
“We sometimes have second thoughts about being open about the Meats Lab because some people might get offended or not understand what happens there,” Vincent said. “But it is a great place to learn and experience the anatomy of animals and about the cuts and preparation of meat.”
Bahm has a passion for agriculture and said he cannot wait to get into his career field to show others why it is so important.
“I believe that I will take to teaching agriculture as a duck takes to water,” he said. “Agriculture has always been a part of my family and even more importantly, it keeps me close to God. If I can instill the importance of agriculture in the students I teach, I believe we shall never be hungry, without clothes or homeless.”
From the Meats Lab to the Salesroom to the fields of goats and pens of pigs, all three of these South Campus students vocalized the same message: Anyone and everyone is welcome at this special spot on Tech’s campus.
“If you want to experience an event or anything, come over to Reese Hall, and anyone would be happy to show you around or tell you what all is going on,” Vincent said.
Email comments to hms...@latech.edu.