Student Organizations

Alpha Zeta sponsored kid’s program on the farm, 1979
Alpha Zeta sponsored kid’s program on the farm, 1979
ACT (Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow) club member, Pam Yonke, at campus radio station 1986
ACT (Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow) club member, Pam Yonke, at campus radio station 1986

Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity

Alpha Gamma Rho is a national Fraternity with a noble and solid purpose: To make better men and through them a broader and better agriculture by surrounding our members with influences tending to encourage individual endeavor, resourcefulness and aggressive effort; making for the development of better mental, social, moral and physical qualities; to promote a wider acquaintance and a broader outlook on the part of agricultural men through fellowship in a national organization that stands for the best social, mental and moral development.

Alpha Gamma Rho first became a reality on April 4, 1908, when two local fraternities combined. These were Alpha Gamma Rho founded at Ohio State University on October 10,1904, and Delta Rho Sigma founded at the University of Illinois on February 6,1906. Members of these two groups happened to meet in 1906 at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago. After finding that their individual interests and purpose were similar, and after considerable correspondence and several trips back and forth, the two groups decided to incorporate and set up a National Fraternity. Delegates from both local fraternities met at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis on April 4, 1908 and drew up and signed a constitution for the fraternity. The compromise affected at the meeting is noteworthy. The older local, AGR of Ohio State, gave its name to the organization but allowed the Illinois group to be the Alpha Chapter. The distinctive badge of Delta Rho Sigma was adopted – one that is practically identical to the official badge today.

The Alpha Psi chapter at the University of Wisconsin River Falls had its beginnings on October 18, 1964 when the AGR Fraternity established a colony through Dr. Maynard Coe. One month later the colony was recognized by the Wisconsin State University of River Falls Student Senate. Next on the 19th of September 1967 Gary Beastrom and Gary Steele chartered the Alpha Psi, Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Association. Through the Alumni the house and property were purchased on September 20, 1967. There have been two additions to the house under the ownership of the AGR Alumni.

Alumni and current members attending college at UWRF are both kept active through bonding events, house improvements, community service opportunities and weekly meetings as well as the annual banquet. The alumni of Alpha Psi have and will always be a thriving and integral part of this fraternity.

AGR recognizes that the primary purpose of attending college is to obtain an education. It also recognizes that the best jobs and greatest success usually come to those who make the best academic record while in college. The fraternity therefore strives to provide an atmosphere and an environment that will encourage each of its members to achieve their academic best. The Alpha Psi chapter in River Falls, Wisconsin has numerous alumni and current undergrads who prove these words.

William Boehm, an Alpha Psi alum, received the UWRF distinguished alumni award for his achievement throughout his life and during his years at college in UWRF. Another prime example of Alpha Psi’s commitment to scholastic achievement can be found in Dr. Phillip George, a former faculty advisor to AGR. Dr. George directed the university academic success center on campus and mad a firm commitment to the scholarship and achievement of every student on campus.

To complement scholarship, one must have mature social attitudes. Most professional careers require extensive contact with people, both personal and social. As the importance of one’s professional position increases, the social requirements usually increase. Alpha Gamma Rho understands the ideal goal of college is to become a well rounded person; that is, acquiring not only an education but increasing ones social skills as well. Again Alpha Psi shows prime examples of learned, experienced and socially skilled individuals. Both William Boehm and Phillip Josephson have served as national officers for the national Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.

William Boehm served two years as financial vice president as well as one year as grand president, and Phillip Josephson has worked for 14 years as the executive director. Both men have developed into the leaders they are due in part to their social and professional experiences at Alpha Psi throughout Alpha Gamma Rho.

Campus life is a large part of what the AGR does. AGR has always participated in Winter Carnival as well as Home Coming. These events are of a particular fondness to Alpha Gamma Rho as competition with other fraternities and sororities, especially through philanthropic endeavors and results in a win-win situation for all those involved. AGR has adopted a stretch of highway 29 south of River Falls and cleans it once every spring. Many members of AGR are the movers and shakers of other agricultural organizations such as the Dairy Club, The crops and Soils Club and the Ag. Ed. Society. Every spring Alpha Psi has a formal dinner and meeting where all the members and alumni’s accomplishments are recognized and formally presented. It is at this Pink Rose Spring Formal that our recent and past history is examined with a sense of admiration, pride and congratulations that Alpha Psi truly understands not just our history but our outlook toward the future.

Alpha Gamma Rho 1989
Alpha Gamma Rho 1989

Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity

The Delta Theta Sigma (DTS) fraternity was founded in Columbus, Ohio on April 5, 1907 with 17 charter members. The mission and purpose of the fraternity is summed up in the organization’s charter, which states that “We the member of Delta Theta Sigma fraternity, in order to promote agriculture, to secure a higher degree of scholarship, to foster the spirit of brotherhood through our vocation and to insure social and cultural unity, do promote our organization to the fulfillment of these ideals.”

Since it’s founding, the total number of chapters in the Midwest has grown to a total of eight. Epsilon Chapter at the Wisconsin State University-River Falls was given its Charter in 1969.

While not exclusive to agriculture majors, most of the brothers share a background in agriculture. The Active Chapter of DTS maintains a membership of about two dozen members, and the Alumni Chapter continues to grow as members achieve their degrees.

The fraternity helps members of the organization by giving opportunities for professional, social, and philanthropic growth. Sponsored activities include local and national Conclaves, fundraising with alumni, resume building, intramural sports, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Relay for Life, food shelf donations, and many social activities. The River Falls Chapter also administers a scholarship awarded annually to a DTS member. The fraternity will continue to fulfill its role in infusing its members with professional pride and growth through achievements in agriculture and in the communities where members live.


Alpha Tau Alpha Honor Society, Alpha Mu Chapter

submitted by Pete Kolpack

Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) was chartered at UW-River Falls on October 12, 1972. The chartering officers were:
President – Ed Rusch
Vice Presidents – Ron Wicklace and Nate Splett
Secretary – Gene Potratz
Treasurer – James Kuntz
Reporter – Steven Olson

The advisers were Gerald Matteson and Marvin Thompson. There were a total of 18 charter members, including officers. Membership in ATA requires a major in Agricultural Education and a grade point average of 2.75 or higher. The purpose of the organization is to develop camaraderie between members and to help members become better teachers of agriculture. Membership in the chapter has varied from 15 to 30 over the years of its existence.

ATA is a national organization and holds a conclave each year in conjunction with the national FFA convention. The Alpha Mu chapter of River Falls has won several awards for their Programs of Excellence (POE) and for essay contests.

The Alpha Mu chapter has been extremely active for its size. The group assists the Wisconsin FFA by judging Parliamentary Procedure contests and by demonstrating Parliamentary Procedure at workshops around the state. The organization also assists its members on campus through a big brother/sister program where older members advise younger Agriculture Education students.

ATA holds many planned activities on and off campus for its members. Every spring the chapter has a banquet where members are recognized for various accomplishments, and where new graduates are honored. The group also holds the annual “Putzke Open” at a local golf course. Other activities include caroling at Christmas, Relay for Life participation, snow tubing and a fall picnic.

The chapter is optimistic about its future and for the future of Agricultural Education in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The Agricultural Education Society

The Agricultural Education Society is a student run organization comprised mainly of, but not limited to Agricultural Education majors. All students on the campus are welcome to join.

The Society is an organization whose purpose is to promote agricultural education and FFA, give future agricultural educators experiences to better understand their roles as future agriculture teachers, and to provide opportunities for all students to participate in a variety of activities and experiences such as parliamentary procedure workshops and judging, attendance at state and national FFA convention, and assisting with the Agricultural Technology Contest held each spring. The Ag Ed Society helps local FFA chapters by hosting the Minnesota Judging Contest each year. The Society also helps organize workshops and contests for the Wisconsin FFA Parliamentary Procedure Contest.

Some of the annually planned activities the organization does throughout the year include snow tubing, Relay for Life, Christmas caroling, Farm Day, Ag Olympics and the Putzke Open golf outing. Each year the Ag Ed Society also attends the National FFA Convention and other parliamentary procedure contests at different high schools through the state of Wisconsin. The parliamentary procedure contests are the most successful activities because of the large number of schools for which the organization provides judges.

The Ag Ed Society works closely with other CAFES student organizations as well, participating in many campus events such as the Rodeo Round-up (which is hosted by the Rodeo Club), Homecoming and Winter Carnival.

The organization is continuing to grow larger each year with more and more quality individuals who strive to become involved. At the National FFA Convention, the Ag Ed Society quiz bowl team and debate team typically place near the top, and several members have also received their American Degrees. Five of the eleven Wisconsin State FFA officers in 2006 were UW-River Falls students who were members of the Ag Ed Society. In the future the organization plans to continue its extensive involvement in Parliamentary procedure contests around Wisconsin and to promote FFA at the collegiate level.

The Agricultural Business and Marketing Society

The idea for a club designed for Agriculture Business and Marketing Communications majors was brought up by Professor Greg Hadley at a “Meeting of the Majors” in the spring of 2006. The result was the creation of the Agricultural Business and Marketing Society. During the meeting a steering committee was formed, and they met weekly for about a month to create bylaws and a constitution for the club.

During a subsequent meeting of the majors, the society was introduced and an interim board was chosen to lead the society through its first election. The interim board members were Brady Voight, Megan Glenn, Jessica Bahr, Cristi Duch, Katie Kramer, Isaac Nellesen, Amy Sonnentag, and Mandy Speerstra. We received our acceptance from the CAFES Student Organizations Board in the late spring of 2006. By the end of the year there were 25 dues-paying members. Most of the members were either Agriculture business majors or those who had another CAFES major with an Ag Business minor. Many were also Marketing Communications majors with agriculture minors or emphases. The Society unites students, educators, and professionals to develop social capital, leadership skills, and technical knowledge in order to advance and celebrate agriculture.

By the end of 2006 the society was not affiliated with any state, regional, or national organizations, but a decision was anticipated to affiliate with the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) in order to become eligible to compete in the national Ag Economics Quiz Bowl.

At the time of this writing the society was holding monthly meetings, but at that point in time had no regularly scheduled activities. The group was at a stage where they were beginning to help their members go grow professionally. The society was also planning to use their members’ marketing skills to offer services to other student clubs and organizations.

NAMA marketing team with Lewi May (back center) 1985
NAMA marketing team with Lewi May (back center) 1985
National Ag Marketing Association (NAMA) with Advisor, Lewi May (back second from left) 1984
National Ag Marketing Association (NAMA) with Advisor, Lewi May (back second from left) 1984

Student Organizations with Officers and Advisers (2008)

Club President Adviser
Ag Business Marketing Society Mitch Kehran David Trechter
Ag Communicators of Tomorrow Labecca Johnson Tim Buttles
Ag Ed Society McKenzie Baecher Jim Graham
Ag Industries Dietrich Henckel Joel Peterson
Alpha Gamma Rho Elliot Kann Jim Graham, Steve Bensend
Alpha Tau Alpha Mackenzie Clague Tim Buttles
AWA Jennifer Webster Gary Onan
Alpha Zeta Josey Pukrop Kurt Vogel
Block and Bridle Jill Larson Justin Luther
Companion Animal Care and Management (CARE) Shelly Kearns Kris Hiney
Collegiate Farm Bureau Jenny Kuffel Todd Hubbs
Crops and Soils Caleb Riedeman Bill Anderson, Pam Weller
Dairy Club Kristie Langrehr Steve Kelm, Dennis Cooper, Sylvia Kehoe
Delta Theta Sigma Justin Luther
ECO club Amanda Peterson Kerry Keen
Falcon Pullers (1/4 scale) Jacob Hannemann Joe Shakal
Food Science Amy Kringle Bonnie Walters
Geological Society Tammy Cook Ian Williams
Horseman’s Association Katie Nelson Peter Rayne
Horticulture Society Maurisha Meyer Brian Smith, David Zlesak, Terry Ferriss
Phi Alpha Xi Rebecca Claflin Terry Ferriss
Poultry Club Faith Pronschinske Bonnie Walters
Pre-Vet Club Amanda Ogle Larry Baumann
Resource Management Club Danielle Peterson Mike Kaltenberg, Eric Sanden
Rodeo Club Haley Dettmering Nathan O’Connor
SALSA Bethany Gapinski Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing
Sigma Alpha Stacey Kunde Sylvia Kehoe, Ekenstedt
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