or more than 15 years, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has traveled more than 500 miles each spring to recruit students at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. College Recruiter for CASNR, Shelbey Havens said that faculty, staff, and students work together to attract the 60 percent of students who come to CASNR from over a 300-mile radius from Lubbock, Texas.
The Show’s Impact
CASNR began going to HLSR to reach students that otherwise may not have had the chance to hear about what the college has to offer.
“I think some students are very excited because they know, even though they have busy schedules this semester, they will be able to talk to Tech at Houston,” Havens said.
According to the 2017-2018 Texas Tech Factbook, Harris County, which encompasses much of the Houston metroplex, has the highest number of enrolled students at Texas Tech from a single county. By traveling to HLSR, CASNR is creating an opportunity for students, both from Houston and the livestock show industry, to potentially have the first chance to interact with Texas Tech.
“HLSR gives us a chance to do a big portion of our recruitment for that region of Texas,” Havens said, “but also for students who are just active in the stock show world. They could be from as close as Abernathy and go down to Houston for the show and have the first chance to be able to talk to us.”
HLSR also allows students to interact with the college in a more personal way, and in an environment that is familiar to them.
“We meet students in their comfort zone, in their space where they are more comfortable being themselves with us,” Havens said.
CASNR creates an atmosphere for students to talk to the college in their HLSR booth, where there are games such as giant Jenga, checkers, and cornhole. Kaylyn Kiker, senior animal science major from Allison, Texas and student recruiter in the CASNR Dean’s Office, said Agri-Techsans, the official undergraduate student recruiters for the college, are always at the booth to allow potential students to have one-on-one conversations with current CASNR students.
“We meet students in their comfort zone”
“It is really easy for students to come up to us and say, ‘How are you enjoying college? How were the dorms? Was it hard to move away from your parents?,’ and that is where you can give them real insight from a student perspective,” Kiker said.
These individual interactions allow students to ask questions they otherwise might not ask faculty and staff. According to Havens, interactions like this create a bond between the college and the prospective students which can enhance the opportunity and experience of an official campus visit in the future.
“I think that when we meet prospective students for the first time at Houston and they see how excited our Agri-Techsans are when they talk about campus and the atmosphere, we get them excited to come for a campus visit,” Havens said. “Then, when they come for [a campus visit], we already have a special bond with them because they were able to hang out with us outside of an office space.”
Recruiting at the livestock show allows CASNR to create long-lasting relationships with prospective students and their families. It also gives current CASNR representatives an opportunity to strengthen interpersonal relationships in the college as well.
“HLSR offers a chance for the college’s faculty, staff and students to grow closer together as they sit in the booth for eight to nine hours a day talking and having fun,” Havens said.
Family Helping Family
Havens said that HLSR has helped to affect CASNR in countless ways. Being that 60 percent of first-year students come from over 300-miles from Lubbock, Texas recruiting at Houston has helped to continue the substantial growth of the college. Havens believes going to HLSR every year is CASNR’s way of giving back to the show that has helped the college so much.
“Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a great opportunity for Texas Tech and CASNR because, one, it puts us around students in their comfort zone,” said Havens, “and two, HLSR supports such a large number of Texas Tech and Texas Tech CASNR students who are on scholarship, and it is our way to give back in all that they do.”
At the end of the day, Havens said that she views HLSR and CASNR as a family working together to better each other. CASNR’s intention when recruiting at the show with Agri-Techsans, faculty, and staff is a family working to recruit and support a family.
“When we go to Houston, we are just one big family; a family recruiting family,” Havens said.