For the third year in a row, Mississippi State's student chapter of the Society of American Foresters is the top chapter in the nation.
The Outstanding Student Chapter award honors the best three SAF student chapters, as well as their faculty advisor. MSU has been recognized in first-place nine times in the last 25 years and has placed in the top three consecutively for more than two decades.
Adam Lindsey of Purvis, a senior forestry major and SAF student chapter president, said receiving this award demonstrates the MSU chapter's commitment to the forestry profession.
"Winning this award means that we are making a difference in our community and for our fellow students," Lindsey said. "Our chapter focuses on providing opportunities for our members in a professional setting. We promote being good public servants and preparing to serve as leaders in the forest industry."
Prioritizing professional development, community and student outreach, and responsible forest management through public relations, outreach and community involvement are among criteria for the award.
A chapter member since his freshman year, Lindsey explained that members have made a tradition of focusing on stewardship, and passing this perspective down through the years has helped the MSU organization attain recognition time and again.
Robert K. Grala, professor of forest resource economics and SAF advisor, said committed student leaders have helped achieve ongoing success.
"These students work hard year-round, and what happens is that each generation sets the bar high, so the next year, the students are determined to be even better," Grala said. "Our goal is to promote and advance sustainable management of forest resources, and we do that through science, education and technology. We provide students with different venues to learn more about various aspects of the forest sector and prepare to be competitive as they seek employment and begin their careers."
Grala emphasized that faculty in the Department of Forestry also take pride in the student chapter's accomplishments.
"We know that these students work hard. We see their activities every day, and we are willing and happy to support them," he said.
Caption:MSU President Mark E. Keenum is pictured with forestry students and mentors during a congratulatory meeting with members of the university's student chapter of the Society of American Foresters, which again is being recognized as the national Outstanding Student Chapter. Pictured, left to right, row 1: Baylor Doughty, a sophomore from Mobile, Alabama; Daniel West, a senior from Hoover, Alabama; and Brianna Ellis, a senior from Starkville; row 2: Noah Hammond, a senior from Linden, Alabama; and Joshua Rush, a senior from Philadelphia; row 3: MSU President Mark E. Keenum; row 4: Dustin Zavala, a senior from Fulton; and Adam Lindsey, SAF president and a senior from Purvis; row 5: Professor Robert Grala, SAF advisor; and Professor and Forestry Department Head Donald Grebner. (Photo by Beth Wynn)