January 29, 2023

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Kansas State tradition unfold to native communities by new pupil group

President Richard Linton talks alongside junior Kady Figge and graduate pupil Mark Estares on the first Related ‘Cats occasion. This neighborhood go to befell in Manhattan for the Flint Hills area. (Carter Schaffer | Collegian Media Group)

President Linton’s initiative, Related ‘Cats, goals to share Kansas State College tradition with communities throughout the state. 

“Most significantly it’s about relationship constructing — relationship constructing with our 105 counties, relationship constructing with our nice leaders by cooperative extension,” Linton mentioned throughout the Flint Hills neighborhood go to. “Additionally it is about with the ability to re-engage after COVID and to have the ability to work on a problem that is essential to all of us, particularly the Manhattan area, which is pupil enrollment.”

Mary Tolar, college chief in Related ‘Cats, mentioned the group is a solution to function pupil voices by permitting Ok-State college students to share their tales and spotlight Ok-State’s connection to native communities. 

The Workplace of the President is visiting 9 Kansas communities this 12 months, in keeping with the  Regional Group Visits webpage.  Throughout every go to, two Related ‘Cats college students function occasion leaders whose roles are to inform their Ok-State tales and assist lead the day’s occasions, in keeping with the webpage. Tolar mentioned every occasion chief can have a connection to the host neighborhood they go to.  

“This is a chance for [the event leaders] to behave on their dedication each to their college expertise and in addition to their residence communities and spotlight these connections,” Tolar mentioned. 

The coed expertise is a central a part of the brand new presidential initiative, in keeping with the Related ‘Cats webpage

Stacia Mendoza, senior in finance and an occasion chief for the better Kansas Metropolis space, mentioned being an occasion chief permits her to share Ok-State along with her neighborhood. 

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“I believe it’s a good way to kinda, mix the 2 largest communities in my life — my hometown, Kansas Metropolis, however then additionally my residence at present: Manhattan, Kansas,” Mendoza mentioned.

Tolar mentioned the occasion leaders begin every go to with a neighborhood open discussion board.

“That’s the place the 2 Related ‘Cats occasion leads will share their story,” Tolar mentioned. “They assist lead that discussion board with the president.”  

After the discussion board, varied periods can be held locally all through the day. 

“We raise up completely different partnerships specializing in neighborhood areas of neighborhood want or curiosity,” Tolar mentioned.

For instance, the schedule for visiting Ford County this previous Tuesday included periods targeted on making ready the native workforce, informing folks concerning the watershed and making ready and responding to disasters, in keeping with the Ford County Go to Schedule.

The day ends with an occasion named “Calling All ‘Cats,” Tolar mentioned.

“In the course of the Calling All ‘Cats session and locally discussion board, we attempt to join with native alumni and in addition potential college students to share the scholar expertise,” Tolar mentioned. 

Related ‘Cats college students additionally take part in a zero-credit hour class taught by Tolar, Emily Lenhing, director of the presidential regional neighborhood go to initiative and Jeff Ebeck, a senior in finance and economics. This class meets for one hour each week to assist construction the group, Tolar mentioned. 

“We put together for the visits by doing analysis on the completely different communities and the partnerships with Ok-State,” Tolar mentioned. “We additionally develop and refine expertise round facilitating, convening, internet hosting and storytelling.”

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The category focuses on studying from the knowledge gathered within the communities, Tolar mentioned. 

“Following up on what we be taught locally visits, particularly round alternatives for future engagement is a vital a part of the initiative,” Tolar mentioned. “Related ‘Cats assist seize conversations and work with members of the core planning crew and the Workplace of Engagement to attach and share curiosity and alternative with colleagues throughout the college.”

Totty Norwood, junior in English and Related ‘Cats member, mentioned she has grown to like Ok-State by this program. 

“I didn’t come from a Ok-State household,” Norwood mentioned. “I simply have such a giant love for Ok-State now, particularly since being part of Related ‘Cats, as a result of the president actually is pushing this initiative ahead, speaking about not solely rising enrollment numbers however desirous to share, once more, that Ok-State story.”

Each Norwood and Tolar mentioned they’re excited for the way forward for Related ‘Cats.

“That is the primary 12 months of this initiative however the expectation is that this continues and so we’re trying ahead to having the Related ‘Cats develop and evolve as a pupil group,” Tolar mentioned.