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LSU students tie holiday traditions to agriculture

News Release Distributed 11/26/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – Students decked out in festive “ugly” Christmas sweaters gathered in the lobby of the Renewable Natural Resources building on LSU’s campus on Sunday, Nov. 23. The space was transformed into a cheerful holiday setting, with a tree lighting a dark corner, a digital fireplace roaring on a big screen and stockings hung from an aquarium with care.

The students are residents of the LSU College of Agriculture’s residential college. They were celebrating holiday traditions and learning about customs rooted in agriculture.

The theme of the event was the 12 Days of ARC, the acronym for the residential college. Mike Kaller, associate professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources and co-rector of the residential college, said agriculture is heavily woven into the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“Most days are connected to agriculture. There is a reason why those symbols were chosen,” he said.

Notecards were set up around the buffet table linking the food to the symbols in the “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” One card noted how pears are seasonally available, and a pear crisp represented the partridge in a pear tree. Students learned that partridges live in grasslands, but when it snows, they seek shelter in higher elevations, like a pear tree.

A frittata symbolized the six geese a-laying, and students learned about geese production and turtledove migration.

The Christmas tree also has strong ties to agriculture, Kaller said.

“It’s a symbol of sustainability. It was a sign of life when other signs were not around,” he said.

Students stirred cups of hot chocolate with candy canes and learned how its shape connects it to agriculture.

“It is shaped like a shepherd’s crook,” Kaller said.

The agriculture residential college is a living-learning community for first-year students of all majors in the College of Agriculture. It allows students to live and take classes with the same group of peers, helping create a smaller network of friends within the larger LSU campus.

Students living in the residential college participate in field trips and events like the 12 Days of Arc during their first year. Former residents serve as peer mentors for the students. The peer mentors organized the holiday celebration.

Allison Guynn, a resident studying natural resource and ecology management, decorated sugar cookies with Brandon Thibodaux, a resident in the same major. Guynn, who is from Hamilton, New Jersey, said living in the residential college has been a great way to meet people.

“You get to meet people in your major and study with them,” Guynn said.

Alayia Jenkins made Christmas decorations out of Popsicle sticks. She is a resident studying animal sciences and said the residential college is homey.

“It’s great for a freshman. When you need help, somebody is there, and everyone is so nice and friendly,” Jenkins said.

The holiday party also included ornament decorating and holiday trivia. A peer mentor posed the question, which one of Santa’s reindeer shares a name with another animal? The group went silent.

The answer was revealed to be Vixen, also the name of a female fox.

Jaelin Anderson responded, “I should have known that. I am an animal science major.”

Tobie Blanchard

Last Updated: 11/26/2014 11:25:08 AM

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