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University forges engaging and experiential learning at Agfest 2017

Agfest 2017

More than 10,000 visitors have filed through the University of Tasmania’s tent at Agfest, marking another successful year at the premier agricultural event.

Over three days last week (4 – 6 May), staff and students delivered a number of educational and engaging activities to patrons of all ages, highlighting the world of opportunities which the University of Tasmania presents.

Visitors delved into disciplines allowing them to enter virtual worlds, perform DNA extractions from fruit and plastic zip-lock bags, enter a larger than life brain, sail a vessel through Sydney Harbour and experiment with science.

They also spent time with staff and students to receive free health checks and lifestyle counselling, learn about the University’s leading research, and shared information with the institution’s aspiring journalists tasked with filing stories for Agfest’s official news feed.

Leanne Arnott, Community Engagement & Development and University of Tasmania Coordinator at Agfest said it had been pleasing to oversee another well-received program at the agricultural event.

“Agfest provides the University with a unique and significant opportunity to engage with a broad cross section of the community and in many cases this event is the first time or the only time they have interacted with us,” Ms Arnott said.

“School groups now seek out our site knowing that their students will be engaged with age-appropriate activities that will spark interest in learning and the University of Tasmania."

Building on the University’s partnership with Rural Youth Tasmania, a new scholarship was announced on the first Agfest field day which was officiated by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania, who attended the launch.

Commencing next year, the $1000 Rural Youth Tasmania scholarship will be awarded to a University of Tasmania University College student who is enrolled in an Associate Degree in Agribusiness.

“This is another example of Rural Youth’s commitment to supporting its membership base to contribute to regional communities,” Ms Arnott said.

This year, visitors were invited to complete exit surveys when leaving the University’s tent to help shape the institution’s engagement at the event going forward.

An internal research group has also been formed to investigate the preparation, experience and outcomes for staff and students at community events including Agfest.

Published on: 08 May 2017 12:22pm