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Sources: Kevin Cook, 785-532-2644,;
Stephen Kiefer, 785-532-2642,;
and Nick Lander, 785-532-7659,
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


MANHATTAN -- A renovated lobby, updated bathrooms, new beds and new carpet are not the only changes happening at Marlatt Residence Hall on the Kansas State University campus. A new K-State Honors Program cluster floor also is being introduced in the hall for the 2009-2010 school year.

"One of the goals I have for the honors program is to really develop a community," said Stephen Kiefer, director of the K-State Honors Program. "Having them all living in proximity to one another is going to facilitate that goal enormously."

Marlatt, traditionally an all-male residence hall, will be converted to co-ed in the fall. In addition to its recent renovations, Marlatt was chosen for the honors cluster floor because it is spacious, has both suite-style and traditional-style rooms, and is affordable, Kiefer said.

The two resident assistants selected to be in charge of the honors cluster floor are also current honors program students.

"They'll be able to share their experience with the honors program and assist incoming freshman with their experiences as well," said Nick Lander, K-State assistant director of residence life. "Over time we would hope that more honors students would want to return to the cluster floor for their sophomore, junior or senior years to provide an experienced student influence on new students."

Students who live on the honors cluster floor will have the opportunity to participate in several honors program activities. Kiefer said he has plans for bringing in professional speakers, taking day trips and having evening social events. One of the more popular activities that other cluster floors already offer is meals with faculty. Kevin Cook, coordinator for enrollment management and academic affairs for K-State housing and dining services, anticipates that this will be a popular program for the honors students as well.

"Our goal in housing with our clusters is to help students connect with faculty and staff outside the classroom," Cook said. "Faculty have lives outside of what students see for 50 minutes during a class. It is also important for faculty to see the students and the environments they live in outside of class."

Students interested in applying to the K-State Honors Program may do so at anytime. The program requires a short application process, with students submitting a piece of work that expresses their interest and motivation for being in the program. Students also must submit one letter of recommendation. General admission requirements include a minimum high school grade point average of 3.75 and an ACT score of 28 or higher. Once admitted, students must maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average to continue in the program.

Honors students have the benefits of smaller class sizes, educational trips and the opportunity to complete an honors project in either their junior or senior year.

"The honors project can be a very valuable experience for developing new skills and really honing those skills you developed as an undergraduate," Kiefer said. "If you go to professional school or start a career, you're going to be working on projects, so there is a very nice carry over into life after college."

Students interested in living on the honors cluster floor in Marlatt Hall will go through the housing contract process just like any other student. There is a place on the online contract form to identify an interest in the honors cluster. The contract will then be processed and cross-referenced with the honors list to confirm that the student is in the honors program.

"If a student has already completed a contract but would like to change it to preference the honors cluster floor, we can process a change request form," Lander said. "As long as we receive the change by the end of May, we will be able to accommodate their request."

Several different cluster floors exist in other K-State residence halls and are a popular option for students, according to Cook. Goodnow Hall is home to the architecture and engineering cluster floors. Haymaker Hall has cluster floors for pre-health and agriculture. The business administration and leadership cluster floors are in Moore Hall, and the community service cluster floor is in West Hall.

Cook said although the popularity for each cluster floor varies from year to year, they seem to be growing in popularity this year.

"When I have been at recruitment events this year, I have seen more interest and fielded more questions about the cluster floors than I've ever had before," he said.

"With any student in housing our goal is to make their experience living in the residence hall enhance their academic experience, and to allow their learning to go beyond the classroom," Lander said. "By pinpointing this specific group of students, we hope the honors cluster floor will help enhance their academic experience as well."