How to get involved as a food science/ FIM student | Ontario Agricultural College

How to get involved as a food science/ FIM student

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

Written by Pimpisa Prasitnaraphan

A large group of students stands in front of a beautiful brick building.

Do you want to get involved in extracurricular activities but don’t know where to start? As a second year food industry management student, I participated in many volunteer activates and  joined several clubs and councils. I’m here to give you some ideas of which activities you should participate in as a food science or food industry management student at the University of Guelph.

1. Food Science Club (@uogfoodsci

Most of food science and FIM student started their extracurricular journey with the help of food science club. That is your biggest opportunity to get involved and join the foodie community on campus! You can join by attending the meetings regularly. Always go to the club meetings! You will learn so much from upper years and guest speakers. I got to know most of my upper year food science friends through this club. Once you’re familiar with the environment and have time to commit more, you will have the opportunity to run for executive positions. Working with the club will help you  develop soft skills like communication and leadership. Check your emails regularly so you will never miss the guest speakers of your interest and other volunteering opportunities!

2. Hot sauce project volunteer (@uofg_hotsauce)

Green peppers being grown in white buckets.

I volunteered for the seed-to-shelf hot sauce project in my first year. It was actually one of the few direct food lab experiences I could get in my first year! First year science courses are tough but, this volunteering experience made mine so much more interesting! Later on, I realized that this volunteer opportunity was so important for my first co-op job application, especially when I didn;t have much experience in the industry. You will get to learn about hot sauce production from start to finish. You will be able to help with various roles like planting the seeds, transplanting the sprouts, prepping the peppers, bottling and labeling, as well as selling the finished products to the customers. There are also hot sauce managerial positions, like product developer and production manager, you could apply for once you understand the process!

3. College Royal Milkshake Volunteer (@uogmilkshakes)

A student in a lab coat whisking a large vat of milk.

Every year, food science students produce and sell milkshakes for College Royal. This project is very similar to the hot sauce production. They’re both run by a group of students. We started the production from scratch at the Guelph Food Innovation Centre (GFIC). You’ll be able to learn how ice cream is made in the pilot plant. We were excited to be back this year, after a three year hiatus! This year, food science milkshake sales received so much love by the alumni and locals. We sold over 3000 milkshakes within those two days of open house event. This activity is a 2-in-1 deal! You will get to participate actively in College Royal as an aggie and as food science club volunteers. It is an unforgettable experience! 

4. Science-related clubs and associations

A large group of student eating lunch and smiling in a classroom.

To get even more involved as a food science student, there are tons of opportunities to meet other science/agriculture students! Pick the clubs and associations that fit your interest. We have plenty of them available! Still can’t decide? Some people I know have joined the STEM Students Guelph Support Association, iGEM, Dairy Science, or Meat Science & Muscle Biology Club. I would recommend these associations if you’re still unsure about your decision. I’ve heard some good experiences from my peers from these clubs. There are many competitions, labs, and trips to be a part of throughout the year!

5. Spill the Beans Food Industry Night and Food & Agricultural Job Fair

Attending networking events and job fairs are just as important as your extracurricular activities. The food industry is always in search for future food scientists to work with them. At spill the beans event, you will be able to introduce yourself and make connections with your future employers. If you’re not good at networking, that’s totally fine. I’m not very good at it either but attending these events will improve your skills. Aside from the employers, many professors, alumni, and upper-year food science students will be there to connect with you!

It is always fun to get involved with anything as a university student! You will be able to learn so much more than what’s being taught in the classroom. My last suggestion would be to put yourself out there and take as many opportunities as possible when there’re being offered to you. You never know how far you can go without trying!

About the blogger: Pimpisa is a second-year international student in the food industry management program at the University of Guelph. She always tries her best to get out of her comfort zone and gain new experiences. Nothing can excite her more than having an overpacked schedule as she gets involved in different communities.

In this series of blog posts, OAC students take us through some of the ups and downs of their journeys at the University of Guelph.

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