During the month of November, the Michigan State University Dairy Club prepared for and held their annual holiday cheese sale. Students take the lead in managing the annual sale from start to finish. The day-to-day running of the sale is a hands-on process, and students find that the duties they’re charged with performing translate into a portfolio of practical career-building and life skills that will prepare them for life after graduation.
( Click here to listen to a podcast about the cheese sale.) * *
From balancing classes, projects, jobs, homework and daily routines to learning how to effectively work as part of a team, communicate with one another and identify how to resolve problems, it’s all hands on deck when cheese sale season rolls around.
“I feel that participating in the Dairy Club cheese sale has helped me in school by teaching me how to multi-task while balancing all my responsibilities and it has also improved my communication skills. Whether taking orders over the phone or answering customer’s questions during the over-the-counter sales, I am more confident in my abilities to effectively communicate my points,” said Lauren Bush, a sophomore majoring in animal science from Swartz Creek, Michigan.
Larry Gremel, assistant general counsel at MSU, was pursuing his undergraduate degree in animal science and pre-veterinary studies when he served as the president of the MSU Dairy Club and helped oversee the cheese sale. He says the cheese sale is a good example of how clubs and other activities outside the classroom can enhance the college experience for students.
“While it is often similar backgrounds that entice members to join the dairy club, members have diverse talents and represent a variety of undergraduate programs, including creative arts, communications, marketing, packaging, pre-professional health careers and engineering, in addition to animal science. Because the cheese sale is essentially a vertically integrated enterprise comprising production, advertising, marketing, distribution and financial management, it provides an opportunity for each member to share their skills while reinforcing principles learned in their studies,” he says. “Members learn through experience to value other team member’s abilities and efforts in addition to becoming good friends and having fun.”
Like years past, this year’s sale featured the traditional items and friendly customer service that customers have come to expect, but also several changes to improve the gift-buying and –giving experience.
MSU Dairy Club vice-president and cheese sale coordinator Jessica Makowski, animal science senior from Macomb, Michigan, says that in addition to the traditional cheese boxes, buyers found that the Club had made some updates to the product line based on customer feedback.
Makowski added that customers seemed to welcome the new and improved website and a new online ordering system, providing customers with an alternative method for ordering beyond mail order or coming to campus to order in person. Detailed descriptions and pricing options were provided for each item, and customers were able to pay through a secure payment system on PayPal using credit or debit cards.
For more information about the cheese sale, visit the website at www.msudairyclubcheese.com . People can also contact Jessica Makowski, the 2010 cheese sale chairperson, by sending an e-mail to or calling 586-764-8996 or the MSU Dairy Club at or 517-355-3699. PD
—Information and photos provided by Krista Beeker, Michigan State University Dairy Club
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