Thanksgiving turkey sale benefits students year-round

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State student-run turkey sale that draws a crowd may not last long, but the benefits continue around the calendar.

The Poultry Science Club’s popular sale — open to anyone who wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with a fresh turkey — sold out of the birds in just under three hours Nov. 24.

“It’s a great social activity,” said Hannah Misner, a senior and club vice president.

She and Eric Salevsky, a sophomore studying veterinary and biomedical science, were preparing for the doors to open for the people who lined up outside the Poultry Education and Research Center for one of this year’s turkeys.

Students raise and ready the birds — including weighing, cleaning and organizing them. The money the club raises supports opportunities for the students, including going to an annual international trade show in Atlanta where they network and build relationships.

“It’s really good exposure for our students,” said Phillip Clauer, club advisor.

“Our students are very employable,” he said. “We have virtually 100 percent placement of students completing the poultry and avian science minor.”

Along with about 460 fresh turkeys sold this year are another 60 smoked birds that will be ready for the end-of-the-year holidays. One caveat: those smoked turkeys have already been claimed.

“They make a perfect Christmas gift, which is why a lot of people bought them,” Misner said, adding that the club is looking into expanding that offering next year.

Misner, who is majoring in animal science with a poultry and avian science minor, said that along with being like a family, the club gives the students a chance to learn from experts.

“It gives us a lot of exposure to industry people who come and speak to us and industry opportunities,” Misner said.

The club also does extras — including helping with the White House Easter egg roll and making Easter egg baskets for local food banks.

Mixed in with this year’s usual turkeys are some heritage birds that Michael Hulet, associate professor of poultry science, is studying as demand for heritage varieties grows. Those birds vary from the smaller mini-turkeys that weigh about 12 to 13 pounds when dressed to the broad-breasted bronze that are black with some white feathers and can weigh in at 35 pounds.

For information about future turkey sales, visit the club’s website.

 

Last Updated December 01, 2014