By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs
When asked to give a motivational talk at the WSU Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity (AGR), Dr. Colette Casavant was surprised and delighted at the opportunity to connect with her students outside her advising office.
Dylan Baty, the scholarship chair for the fraternity, took the initiative and asked Dr. Casavant to speak to AGR. This was the first time that the WSU AGR invited someone in to offer a motivational talk, according to Dylan, something their speaker noticed.
“I could tell it was a new experience, they were a little out of sorts” Casavant said. “But not in a bad way.”
While it may have been a change from past traditions, the men were warm and welcoming, said Casavant, and paid close attention to what she had to say. As a fraternity striving for a high GPA, according to Dylan, the members, especially the freshmen, were ready for all the encouragement they could get. With midterms coming, Dylan wanted to give the new brothers a warm and motivating welcome.
“They took it really seriously,” explained Dylan. “This was a good motivator for the freshmen. School is getting much more difficult. It’s time to buckle down and take [school] seriously.”
One of the most impactful parts of the evening for Casavant was the connection to the men’s broad network of support. She wanted to highlight the brotherhood that surrounds not only current members, but alumni as well, to demonstrate the people standing behind these men; inspiring them to do their best.
For Casavant, the opportunity struck close to home. She shared her personal story about her father, WSU alum and Agricultural Economist instructor at WSU for 50 years and his college pathway. She could see it struck a chord with the men. Later when she asked them to write down who impacted them, the men deeply considered their responses. This activity demonstrated the amount of support behind the men’s success, and this really brought that to their attention.
“It’s important to get to know your students outside of the major and the classroom,” Casavant said. She encourages other advisors to give motivational talks whenever the opportunity arises. Dylan hopes this will continue to grow for years to come.
As the nation’s leading agricultural fraternity, according to the AGR website, as well as a professional fraternity, the men in this brotherhood promote academic and personal success through hard work and a supportive atmosphere. The initiative that was shown by the WSU AGR Chapter is just one example of this commitment.