By Michele F. Mihaljevich
HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Huntington University’s new animal science education center will give students in the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies hands-on experience working with livestock, the institute’s managing director said.
The building, named for the late Don Strauss, a fourth generation member of the Strauss family in North Manchester, Ind., has 10,000 square feet and includes a flexible pen area and classroom space. Strauss was founder of Strauss Veal Feeds and Midwest Poultry Services. The facility opened Nov. 16 with a ribbon cutting featuring Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“The students will be able to take what they’ve learned in lectures and put it into practice,” Nate Perry explained. “It will offer hands-on learning opportunities for students in animal production, animal science and pre-veterinarian studies. This generation of students likes to have their hands on, especially agriculture students. That’s what this building presents.”
The facility will give students the opportunity to work with animals from their freshman to senior years, he noted. The experience they’ll gain will help as they seek internships while in school and jobs afterward, Perry added.
The building was announced in December 2019 and construction began in the spring, he said. Perry said officials hope the building will also be used as a community center, for board meetings and for elementary school tours.
The Haupert Institute opened in the fall of 2015 with the goal of offering a faith-based agricultural curriculum. Huntington University is a Christian college of liberal arts. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 70 areas of study.
The program has more than 50 students, with 28 new this fall. So far, 17 have graduated and all are employed, Perry said.
The animal science building is one of several additions to the Institute over the last couple of years. Last year, an aquaponics system was added to a greenhouse constructed in 2017. The Institute recently launched Forester Farms LLC, which allows students to gain experience with the business side of agriculture. Earlier this year, the university began operating a 25-acre livestock farm north of Huntington.
Two majors were added to the Institute’s curriculum this fall, Perry said. In addition to agribusiness and agricultural education, students may now seek degrees in animal science and crop science and agronomy.
“The growth is really representative of the interest in agriculture,” he explained. “These students want to make a difference. They want to impact the world. Agriculture is who they are and they recognize it.”