Virtual 4-H event offers ‘College Life’ experience

Published 2:48 pm Friday, May 15, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
What has BINGO, prize packages, office hours and tours of lands far, far away?
If you guessed the 2020 Tennessee 4-H Academic UN-Conference, then you are correct!
For the last 30 years, Tennessee 4-H hosted a 4-H Academic Conference in June. This four-day event provided junior high 4-H members all across the state to come to the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for a week-long, college experience. 4-H’ers lived in the residence halls, ate in the cafeteria, learned about the university, explored potential careers and took college classes (that relate to their 4-H project) with actual UT faculty and Extension specialists … just like a “real” college student.
This year, it’s going to be a little different.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, 4-H Academic Conference —along with other summer events— has been converted into a virtual event, an “UN-Conference”— in order to protect the health and safety of all involved.
Dr. Dwight Loveday, Interim State 4-H Program Leader explained, “In spite of the outbreak, we wanted to still give every Tennessee Junior High 4-H member the opportunity to get a taste of college life while learning more about their 4-H project area.”
So, instead of 4-H Academic Conference, this year the event is called 4-H Academic UN-Conference. While some of the traditional experiences are on hold, the UN-conference, scheduled for June 9-11, will continue to focus on helping 4-H’ers gain important subject matter knowledge and skills as it relates to their 4-H project. Instead of face-to-face instruction, UT faculty and Extension Specialists will work with 4-H’ers virtually to share in-depth, research-based knowledge and career exploration through a variety of teaching methods such as hands-on demonstrations, interactive activities and virtual tours.
“Virtual technology does not limit our ability to learn and network with others,” said Loveday. “Actually, our 4-H’ers will be experiencing exactly what our UT students experienced last semester with their class work. While it is not the norm, it was the norm this spring.”
This year’s 4-H Academic UN-conference will feature more than just learning! 4-H’ers will participate in hands-on activities, meet other 4-H’ers across the state and have an opportunity to win prizes for their academic achievements.
Another change for this year is the selection process and cost. For 2020, any Tennessee 4-H member in the 6th-8th grades (as of January 1, 2020) is eligible to attend the conference in one of 16 different project area topics for FREE. Conference fees are also waived for 2020. This event is open to any sixth to eighth grader regardless of previous 4-H experience.
To register contact Emily Barton, 4-H Extension Agent with UT Extension Carter County, by email at ebanks3@utk.eduor phone at 423-542-1818. The registration deadline is Friday, May 29.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox