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MANRRS students win big in national contest highlighting importance of diversity and inclusion

By June 3, 2021May 17th, 2022No Comments

Student leaders of Auburn University’s Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS, chapter were recently honored for their entries in three components of the non-profit organization’s national contest.

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences master’s student and social media chair of Auburn University MANRRS’ chapter Sabine Bailey earned first place in the Social Media Campaign Challenge for her submission titled ‘Rethinking Diversity.’ Bailey’s hard work and leadership won both the regional and national contests, earning the chapter $1,250 to support programs that will expand on-campus resources and outreach.

Bailey began her work on the campaign just a week after she was appointed social media chair for the chapter. She attended three workshops on how to run a successful media campaign hosted by the OBP Marketing Agency and National MANRRS organization.

“Based on the contest topic of Rest and Resilience, we decided on the theme of Rethinking Diversity. Our goal was to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion in the fields of natural resources and agriculture. This year especially, we’ve been pushed to think and learn about what diversity, equity, and inclusion really mean and how to incorporate these values in our daily and professional lives.”

“The campaign highlighted select members, our accomplishments, why diversity matters to us, and how it makes our MANRRS Family here at Auburn even stronger! The social media campaign was officially posted on Instagram and included photos and texts regarding our theme. We also came up with the unique hashtag #DiverUSty to better share and track our campaign posts,” said Bailey.

“We’re very grateful that the National MANRRS Office chose our campaign as the nationwide and regional winner of the challenge and excited to improve the chapter with our winnings. We plan to use the funds to support various projects such as building a website to increase our visibility and outreach on campus, hosting workshops on professional development skills, increasing new member recruitment, and the continued support of underrepresented students in roles of leadership in our fields.”

Auburn University MANRRS Advisor and Jr. MANRRS National Committee Co-chair Michelle Cole was excited for the opportunity to showcase the chapters talent and drive through the contest.

Jr. MANRRS is the middle and high school component of the program which encourages students to explore natural resources and agriculture careers, especially through higher education.

“We are working hard to create the next generation of natural resource and agriculture professionals by encouraging students in grades 7–12 to attend college and earn degrees in these fields. Our program provides activities to help students discover firsthand how forestry, agriculture, engineering, and technology relate to the world around them and discover the excitement of academic excellence, leadership, technical development, and teamwork,” said Cole.

Along with the AU MANRRS campaign, Cole encouraged local Jr. MANRRS program members to take part in other sects of the national contest, and two high school students of Tallassee, Alabama, were awarded for their submissions.

Wendell Padgett won first place and a prize of $200 for his submission, “Broadening Horizons and Changing the Narrative,” in the national theme contest. His theme will be used for the year on all communications regarding the 36th National Conference.

“This win means a lot to me because I got to compete with my high school peers as well as college students. Jr. MANRRS has given me multiple resources and opportunities to learn about forestry, agriculture, and other natural sciences, as well as network and build my leadership skills,” said Padgett.

The written essay contest encourages members to gain experience in expressing themselves through the written word. For her essay on “Reclaiming our Time, Territory, and Triumph,” Hannah Padgett won the contest and was awarded a $100 prize.

“Winning the essay contest means so much to me because I got to express myself and share my ideas with the national conference. Jr. MANRRS is a great resource for learning more about the professional aspects of natural resources and agriculture science that benefit me now and in the future. I am so thankful that I get to participate in this program,” said Hannah Padgett.

Bailey was proud to hear of the students’ achievements and involvement in the program, feeling that “In addition to the scholastic rewards, Jr. MANRRS is a great bridge to the university-level MANRRS organization.”

“Jr. MANRRS members benefit from connecting with Auburn chapter students to talk about similar interests and learn about the varying paths members have taken to achieve their goals,” said Bailey.

If you would like to join Auburn’s MANRRS student chapter, please email Michelle Cole at or visit their page on AUInvolve. Support MANNRS by liking the club’s Facebook page and following its Instagram 

(Written by Avy Elmore)

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