What is CREAM?
CREAM, which stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management, is a student-lead course where learning occurs through hands-on experiences with part of the UNH dairy herd at the Fairchild Dairy Research and Teaching Center, interacting with peers, faculty, and speakers, as well as class activities that are designed by classmates. Students will be in charge of milking, feeding, cleaning or changing bedding twice a day at 4:15 am and 3:15 pm (rain, shine, or snow), and managing a herd of approximately 25 registered Holstein cattle, which are exclusively cared for by the students. CREAMers are also responsible for the care of newborn calves, growing heifers, and constant checks and monitoring of the health of the cows. CREAM could be considered closer to that of a part-time job than to a lecture with a professor; it is a huge commitment! Students will also track feed costs, veterinary expenses, student labor, and several other costs associated with running this small dairy cattle operation. With careful decision-making and hard work, a profit can be achieved and an improved herd can be passed on to the next class of CREAMers.
As a CREAM member, your time commitment to the program will average 8-10 hours/week for each semester. The time listed above will be spent in weekly business meetings as part of a regularly scheduled class time, committee work, chores and other related activities and assignments. As a CREAMers, time management is essential. Some of you will be taking other courses, as well as working a part time job and participating in other clubs and organizations; careful budgeting of your time will be key to ensuring that your CREAM and additional responsibilities are met.
The success of the CREAM program greatly depends on the ability of the group to work together as a whole, and at times, this may be difficult. Decision-making is seldom choosing between “right” or “wrong”, but is instead choosing the “best” decision from several “right” alternatives. Another challenge that CREAMers must face is problem solving. Being positive and working towards a solution can help you and your classmates overcome many problems. Remember, students are all on the same team and need to work toward a common goal! Effective teamwork depends upon sincere commitment, clear communication, thoughtful compromise and cooperation, as well as stepping up to lead committees and the CREAM class itself.
CREAM by far will be one of your most memorable experiences at UNH!