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Welcome to the Share Your Story blog. Tell us your favorite memory from your college days as an Alpha Zeta member.

 

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Top tags: Cook College Chapter  Gulf Coast Work Trip  Louisiana  National Service Project  Puerto Rico  Rutgers  Service  Service Leadership  SLE  Townshend 

Inspirational Words from Daughter of Cook Alumni

Posted By Lauren Mangnall, Friday, June 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 05, 2014

This story was sent to the Alpha Zeta National Office by the daughter of Alpha Zeta member, Robert Edgar Duke. Robert, known as "Bob" to his friends and family, studied agriculture at Rutgers University in the late 30s-early 40s and was a member of the Cook Chapter.

She felt strongly about sharing his inspirational story with current Alpha Zeta student members:

"I just wanted to share my father's story with other students. He was born in 1919 and a member of Alpha Zeta. The interesting thing about my father was that he was blind. At age three, he contracted spinal meningitis and his optic nerves were destroyed. Therefore he couldn't see anything, not even a shadow. His world was dark. He went on to become a chicken farmer but gave that up to be a dairy farmer. He married a nurse and had seven children.

I just though he would be an inspiration to others if they knew his story.

Sincerely,
Nancy Duke-Smith"


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Rutgers University Dance Marathon 2012

Posted By Christina K. Lam, Thursday, April 05, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012
http://youtu.be/KVUVeUXm5J0

This past weekend, 13 brothers of the Alpha Zeta Cook Chapter participated in this year's Dance Marathon (many more volunteered!).  We raised over $6000 for the Embrace Kids foundation and continue to raise money for it. 

Dance Marathon isn't just a 32-hour long event where dancers can't sit or sleep.. each participant raised over $350 for their team and worked together to stay strong for the kids.  The Embrace Kids foundation benefits families of children who suffer from cancer or blood disorders.  We got to meet many of the families who benefited directly from Embrace Kids and Dance Marathon and it was a truly inspiring event. Getting to meet these kids and hear their stories made all of our efforts worth it. 

It was a long 32 hours, but being with our fellow brothers made all the difference.  New members, current brothers, and alumni all visited and showed their support and lifted our spirits when we got tired (eg. 8:00 in the morning after being awake on your feet for 22 hours straight makes you grow a little delirious).  "Club DM" took place between 12-3AM, where the entire gym turned into a giant club, and tickets were sold to Rutgers Students to raise even more money for the cause.  After things died down, the dancers went back to playing games like giant Jenga and Connect Four.  Rutgers did a great job making the dancers as entertained and as comfortable as possible during the entire weekend.

 I'm proud to say I'm a brother of the Cook Chapter.  Many of us dance in memory of Michael J. Congiusta, a brother who pledged in Fall 2009.  At the age of 14, he was diagnosed with Lukemia and fought through it with the help of the Embrace Kids Foundation.  In Spring of 2010, he had relapsed and had to be admitted into the hospital for the semester.  On March 10, 2010, we learned that sadly, Mike had passed away.  Though he is no longer with us in person, he is always with us in spirit.  He had the brightest personality out of all the brothers I knew and always gave 100%.  Mike was part of the pledge committee as a brother and would get all of the new members pumped about Alpha Zeta.  Throughout the years, we will still keep memories of him alive and strong.

Cook Chapter keeps on dancing, no matter how hard things get.

The YouTube link above is a little documentary I put together for our DM weekend.  Hope everyone enjoys it!


(3/31/12-4/1/12)


Tags:  Cook College Chapter  Rutgers  Service 

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Esmeralda

Posted By Charles R. Aiken, Wednesday, June 02, 2010
I was at the Townshend AZ House at Ohio State University from 1941 through l943. We had a 4-car garage but the only car in the garage was one owned by Ray T. Carroll. It was a 1929 Chevrolet and was called "Esmeralda." I drove the car one time from Ashtabula County to the AZ house.

Tags:  Townshend 

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Gulf Coast Work Trip

Posted By Brian M. Reuwee, Friday, April 30, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010
I was in Canada fishing when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. We were "off the grid" and didn't know about the devastation until after we arrived back in civilization. During the following days as I was watching the media coverage something struck me: what's happening to the farmers and the people in the rural communities?

All the media coverage was focused on New Orleans -- and certainly what happened there was tragic, but the hurricane struck a huge geographic region and inflicted and enormous toll throughout the area. As volunteers started organizing to aid victims and those displaced, the media coverage remained centered on New Orleans and urban centers. That's when I brought to the High Council the idea of a work trip to help farmers and rural communities clean-up and rebuild.

I had no idea how we were going to pull this off. AZ hadn't ever done anything like this, we didn't have the budget to do it and I had no idea who would show up.

But I figured, Alpha Zeta has more than 3,000 student members. We have the hands to do a lot of good work, and in that first year I rallied a small number of students -- about 20 -- from several Midwestern chapters along with California Eta and Cornell to take a little trip with me. But I really had no idea what we were getting into other than we were going to get our hands dirty.

Yet through a series of fortunate events, Alpha Zeta developed a relationship with Louisiana Farm Bureau. They helped us arrange lodging, meals and work sites. Working with LaFB folks such as Scott Bickham, Nolan Beabinoux and others smoothed the logistics.

And I was -- and continue to be -- fortunate to head an organization with the highest caliber college students in agriculture. My biggest fear was the people participating wouldn't get along and we wouldn't get anything done.

I'm certain we exceeded everyone's expectations. Those novice fence-builders stretched more than five miles of fence in under four days. The farmers' jaws dropped when they saw the girls keeping up with the boys stringing wire, clipping ties, pounding posts and cleaning up debris.

That first trip in December 2005 was special. It's since launched five National Service Projects -- the sixth is scheduled for December 17-22 in Orlando, Fla. -- and three Service Leadership Experience trips, a combination of service projects and AgTours in Puerto Rico.

And, although the mission of Alpha Zeta hasn't changed much in 113 years, the Gulf Coast Work Trip has renewed Alpha Zeta's focus and emphasis on doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

Tags:  Gulf Coast Work Trip  Louisiana  National Service Project  Service Leadership 

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The Alpha Zeta Experience

Posted By Lauren Mangnall, Friday, April 30, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010

I was not a member of Alpha Zeta in college so my first real experience with AZ and its members wasn’t until I had the opportunity to participate in two service trips. I was lucky enough to go on the Service Leadership Experience to Puerto Rico this January with two student members from the Nevada Chapter and an alumni and Board member from Cal Eta. For six days, we participated in two service projects, toured several farms, went on hikes, explored some caves, swam at a beautiful beach and a river with a waterfall, and tasted some excellent food! We had a small group but got along great, learned a lot about ag in another culture and had a fantastic time.

I left St. Louis just as the Midwest was getting smacked with a small blizzard. Needless to say, my flight got delayed. Once finally arriving in Puerto Rico, I immediately took off my fleece jacket, rolled up my long-sleeve shirt and wished I had shorts and sandals on instead of jeans and tennis shoes. At the airport I was greeted by two of the guys from the Puerto Rico Chapter, Oscar and Abner. They would be our tour guides for the week, so to speak.

Our first service project was a beach cleanup at Guánica Bay called El Malecón. There is a large problem in this area with people and restaurants dumping their trash into the water. It all ends up along the coast and beach of El Malecón. We were told that a big clean up like the one we were doing has to be done once every three months. Nine of us spent the morning picking up trash and loading up enough bags to overflow the bed of a pickup truck! That afternoon, we went for a hike in the Guánica Dry Forest and explored the Guánica Bat Cave and another nearby cave.

The next morning we drove to a Nature Reserve in Cabo Rojo that was the property of the US Fish and Wildlife where we did a reforestation project by planting around 75 native trees. After lunch we drove to the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse and one of the three best beaches in Puerto Rico called "Playuela Beach." We spent the afternoon floating and playing in the water and laying on the white, sandy beaches. Couldn’t ask for much more!

Each day we spent in Puerto Rico, Oscar made sure we got to sample all kinds of local food. Sunday morning he took us to a local bakery to try some fresh pastries for breakfast. Several of us tried "quesitos" that were stuffed with cheese. They were delicious! I was never disappointed with any of the food we tried. Can’t go wrong with anything that is fried! After breakfast we visited a Starchy Crops Farms at the Coloso Valley. The farmer’s son, Freddie, took us around to different parts of the farm, showing us different starchy crops including some gigantic yams. We also tasted some pigeon peas and got to see and learn how plantains are grown. On the way back, we stopped by Freddie’s Uncle’s greenhouse where he grows high-quality cilantro. The irrigation method he was using was fascinating and not like anything I’d seen before. After a late lunch we drove to San Sebastián to swim in the El Guamá waterfall. It took a steep, muddy hike to get there, but was well worth the trip! The fresh water flowing over the waterfall was very cold but we had an amazing time swimming in the river and waterfall.

On our last full day in Puerto Rico, we drove to Adjuntas, PR for a hike in the mountains. Oscar led the way on our hike in the "Guilarte Forest." It was quite an uphill climb but after almost a mile everyone made it to the top -- what a view!! We could see for miles and miles without much else being higher than we were. It was as if we were on to of the world!

On the way to our next destination we stopped to explore one more cave. The "Ventana Cave" was pitch black! We weren’t prepared and didn’t have any flashlights, so it took an exercise in teamwork to get everyone through the cave. Oscar put his camera flash to good use and slowly guided us back through the cave as we all held hands in a long line and felt our way through the rocky cave as a group. As we got closer to the end of the cave, there was a large opening that looked out over the land below. What an incredible view!! It was as if someone blasted a hole in the side of this mountain and there we were looking out.

Next, we headed to the Arecibo Observatory and the World's largest radio telescope. The telescope is visually distinctive and has been used in the filming of notable movies and TV shows including the James Bond movie GoldenEye, Contact, and even an episode of the The X-Files.

On our last morning in Puerto Rico we sadly packed our bags and headed back to San Juan to catch our flights home. I’ll never forget all that I learned about the agriculture n Puerto Rico, not to mention all the amazing food and places we got to visit. Oscar and Abner did a fantastic job of mixing service projects and agriculture experiences with fun, culture and amazing food. I know we all had an amazing time and owe a big thanks to the Puerto Rico Alpha Zetas that showed us around. This trip would not have been possible and nearly as amazing without them!

For pictures of the trip, visit the Alpha Zeta facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/AlphaZeta


Tags:  Puerto Rico  SLE 

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