ABE club recognized for outstanding service

Governor Terry Branstad honored Iowa State’s American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) student chapter in June, presenting the organization with the Annual Governor’s Volunteer Award.

ASABE cleans roadside
Members of ASABE clean a roadside near Huxley through the Adopt-A-Highway program last fall.

Governor’s Volunteer Awards are given to Iowa non-profit organizations each year to recognize local volunteers. Recipients must provide an outstanding contribution to the state or community through service, leadership, hard work and cooperation, and also show a commitment to volunteerism through ongoing service projects.

“Our service involves cleaning a two-mile stretch of highway near Huxley for 10 years through the Adopt-A-Highway program,” said incoming club president, Kate Klavon, junior in biological systems engineering. “Twice a year we get a group of about 25 club members together to clean the roadside. Members enjoy the project for many reasons, but they really like examining all the interesting things you can find in a ditch.”

Andrew Verhasselt, senior in agricultural engineering and a member of ASABE, accepted the award on behalf of the club. “The Department of Transportation nominated us for the award,” he said. “We were unaware at the time, so it came as a pleasant surprise.”

ASABE is comprised of over 90 members, most majoring in agricultural engineering, biosystems engineering, and agricultural systems technology; however, the organization welcomes students from all disciplines.

“Our mission is to develop future leaders; increase knowledge and skills in engineering; provide networking opportunities between students and industry, and simply have fun,” explains Verhasselt. “Personally, being a member has allowed me to gain leadership experience and obtain more perspective in our aspired professions.”

The club holds bi-monthly meetings, and members frequently get together for service events and other activities.

“We fundraise by raking yards in the fall; working Iowa State men’s and women’s basketball concessions stands; and selling food at VEISHEA. Additionally, we host a faculty, staff, and student breakfast, and a Women in ABE dinner each year, ” said Klavon.

ASABE members rake leavesASABE members also serve as judges at the State Science and Technology Fair; participate in outreach events for grade-school children; take-part in Keep ISU Beautiful: Adopt Campus Program; and participate in the United Way Day of Caring.

Co-advised by Raj Raman, professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Chenxu Yu, assistant professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, ASABE integrates volunteerism and service because these characteristics play a large role in what makes a professional.

“The club’s service relates to their professional development,” explained Raman. “True professionals are excellent at their disciplinary work, but also share their skills with the community, and the students understand that.”

In addition to the club’s involvement on campus, members travel across the United States to attend ASABE state, regional and international meetings, and also to visit industry.

“It has been a privilege to be a mentor for this organization,” said Raman. “This is an extremely self-directed group of students who are involved in many different activities on campus and in the community, and do well in them all.”