K-State at Salina provides small-campus atmosphere, big-campus name
By Michelle Hall
On this small campus, the College Center, left, is less than 50 feet from the Residence Hall.
At first glance, Kansas State University at Salina couldn't really look much different than the main campus. The main buildings are newer, and look more practical than historic. There are fewer trees, and decidedly more planes. The one dining hall is more of a cozy cafe than a giant auditorium. Everyone knows everyone else much like at a high school. Salina serves approximately 1,000 students, compared to the 22,000 in Manhattan a board just inside Salina's College Center even has enough space to recognize each and every high school or transfer student visiting that day.
But in many ways, K-State at Salina is pretty much just the same as the main campus, just a little further down the road. Everyone who isn't wearing their pilot's uniform is decked out in purple especially on Fridays. Powercats cover everything from signs to the planes and the atmosphere is bustling and friendly.
And that's what students, faculty and staff say they like about the campus it has a small-campus atmosphere with all the opportunities and traditions of a big school.
Marcina Bussen, a sophomore applied science and business arts major, said she likes that she is close to her peers and to her instructors. She said coming to K-State at Salina was a fairly easy transition from high school.
"It's like a family," agreed Jason Braun, a sophomore applied science and business arts major. Dean Dennis Kuhlman gives students his direct office phone number and frequently has "Pepsi with the Dean," where students can talk with him about their concerns or ideas.
"It's easier to ask questions," freshman Ryan Reid said about the atmosphere. Reid studies toward a degree in the airway science professional pilot program.
From a staff viewpoint, Delton Gordon, the residence life coordinator, said the small campus atmosphere allows him to be a jack-of-all-trades.
"At larger schools, you're more specialized," he said. "Here you get involved in so much more." He said this "getting involved" means he has formed friendships with many students.
"The ability to affect someone is greater here," Gordon said.
Braun said this personal touch from staff and faculty means a lot to the students, especially his friendship with Gordon.
"It's nice to know if we have issues we can talk to Delton," Braun said. "We see him as a friend."
But many students agreed although this family atmosphere has its pros, it also has its cons.
"Everyone knows everything about everyone else," Braun said. But, he added that living on campus has been wonderful; he's very close to his classes (the two residence halls are right next to the administration building and can house up to 191 students). And he has found a lot to do Braun stays busy with the school's new fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, as well as with pizza parties and hall wars. Reid, also a member of the fraternity, said the many student-run organizations really help carry K-State at Salina.
The students also say they love that the programs on the Salina campus are very hands-on and that the people are open and friendly.
And the campus has other unique aspects. Kelsey Osborne, a junior in the airway science professional pilot program, said he likes that the campus is right on the airport.
"There's always something to look at," he said. Jessica Taylor, a freshman in the airway science professional pilot program, said she loves that at K-State at Salina, much of the focus is on the flight school; it's not just a small part of a large college.
Although they love the small-campus atmosphere, students at K-State at Salina say there are many benefits to being connected to a bigger school, including more scholarships and big-name sports teams. Many Salina students head to KSU Stadium to tailgate every Saturday during football season, just like students at the main campus.
"It's cool to say we're part of K-State," said Nick Sulzen, a senior in computer information systems technology management.
"I feel like we're a part of K-State," Braun said. "We're purple deep down inside."
Visit the student life Web site for more information on the activities and atmosphere at K-State at Salina.