ALS Club: Opportunities through Research

Club members assist new farmers with workshop on teaching farm management practices at the Dean's Circle. Photo Courtesy of Joshua Sylvia.

MANGILAO, Guam – November 2017 – The Agriculture and Life Science Club, also known as the ALS Club, is a new student organization at UOG that aims to inspire others to serve the community through agricultural and healthy practices.

A group of Agriculture (AG) majors, led by third-year undergraduate student Tristan Paulino, founded ALS Club just this fall semester. There was a previous AG club called the Farmacists, but it unfortunately fell through due to a shift in leadership.

While on an off-island study tour program in Pohnpei, Paulino talked to other AG majors about reviving the Farmacist club in an effort to save what was left of it.

After thinking everything through, they decided to instead start a whole new club with a brand new face. This was the beginning of the ALS Club.

Camille Quichocho, another third-year undergraduate student, explained that the ALS Club is different from Farmacists in that the new club now includes the rest of the programs that fall under the ALS department.

Farmacists, on the other hand, were mainly consistent of AG majors only. This time around, the club is inclusive to any students who are interested.

According to the organization’s constitution, the ALS Club’s mission is “to encourage a healthy behavior and island sustainability to the University community.”

Paulino said their main purpose, other than community service, is to help facilitate practical experience for ALS majors.

“One of our projects that we will be spearheading is working at Triton Farms,” Paulino said. “We will be doing some hands on work, and also get professional help and professional guidance.”

The UOG faculty and research extension agents from Triton Farms guide these volunteers in learning proper planting techniques and other useful practices.

Like Paulino, Quichocho is also an AG major with an emphasis in Research. She hopes that ALS Club will bring her campus beautification project to life.

“[The campus] would be less hot with more trees,” said Quichocho as she elaborated on the kind of impact her project could make. “It’s such an open space and not a lot of life.”

She believes that planting more trees would make the university more appealing to students.

When asked about what makes ALS different and unique, Paulino emphasized the activities that they plan to do.

“The projects that we do are a combination of practical work, [and] working and building a comradery,” Paulino explained. “So while we’re out in the field, we don’t just focus on trying to get the task done – we talk while doing our work.”

Joshua Sylvia, another AG major with an emphasis in Research, agreed with this notion of comradery.

“Our main goal here is to try and network, at the same time have fun and share experience amongst members,” said Sylvia when describing ALS. “I believe that the people involved in this club will be important channels of information, experience, and ideas in the future.”

He also mentioned more project ideas that he would like to see happen while in the club. One in particular would be starting a farmer’s market on campus in which ALS members will either grow their own produce or purchase from local farmers and sell to UOG faculty, staff, and students as an alternative to making a trip to the grocery store.

“Agriculture can seem very dull, but really this is a diverse field to get into,” said Sylvia. “I think that it is important for everyone of all ages and backgrounds to be exposed to planting … as well as become less dependent on outside sources for our produce.”

Ultimately, Paulino hopes that he can eventually recruit new members and inspire them to continue the work that the ALS Club is doing now.

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