Swine Unit Herdsman Hugo Rodriguez holds the month-old piglet ‘Missy’ as Secretary Victoria Tolin kisses her snout as part of the initiation for the Block and Bridle club on March 14, 2018 at the Animal Science Pavilion. (Ramuel Reyes/The Collegian)

They kissed a pig and became Fresno State’s newest club – Block and Bridle

After reciting an oath and getting a certificate – and kissing a pig for some – 90 students were officially initiated into Fresno State’s Block and Bridle club last Wednesday.

The 90 members, along with nine Fresno State faculty members, filed into the Animal Science Pavilion, where the ceremony was to take place.

The Block and Bridle club has a presence on college campuses nationwide, but this is the first year Fresno State established a chapter. According to the club’s description on its Facebook page, it aims to promote “the interest and scholarship of animal science and agriculture.”

The pig kissing was only done by the 13 officers. Club secretary Victoria Tolin said it was meant to add some “quirkiness” to the ceremony.

The quirkiness met some squealing, courtesy of the pig – Miss Missy.

“What’s more quirky than pork?” Tolin said. “We kissed Miss Missy and hopefully started a tradition.”

Club president Abigail Davis said that the pig kissing will help distinguish the officers from the general members. The officers and the general club members joined to read the oath and get an official recognition certificate.

“I really enjoyed being initiated into it, because it just felt more real being here with everybody,” said general member Sarah McGlennon.

McGlennon added that all of the members paid their dues last semester and have been members since then, but they held off the initiation until this semester because they could not get the certificates printed in time.

The club’s 90 members make them the third-largest Block and Bridle chapter in the country – and the largest club in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We represent all aspects of agriculture. And if we’re the largest and we have all these members here, that means we’re doing our job right, and we’re getting everybody involved, and making everybody aware,” Tolin said.

University President Dr. Joseph Castro was present for the ceremony. He spoke before the initiation and told the club members that they are important for the university.

“Agriculture, for me as your president, is one of the highest priorities,” Castro said. “If there is going to be a university to lead the way in agriculture, it should be right here at Fresno State.”

The Block and Bridle club members were all photographed with Castro after they received their certificates. After the initiation, club members were able to socialize among each other and eat pizza.

Davis and Tolin said they hope the club is able to change some perceptions that society has placed on agriculture’s relationship with animals.

“As with any industry, there are always going to be those bad apples in the bunch,” Tolin said. “We’re really trying to promote openness on our school farm. We really want people to understand, and we really want people to know what’s actually going on in agriculture and what we stand for.”