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K-State Today Student Edition

September 24, 2012



Noted alumni photographers join students to again document a week in the life of the university

By Communications and Marketing

Twenty six years ago, a group of Kansas State University alumni photographers and student photographers spent a week capturing life at the university, both on and off campus, for the book "A Week at Kansas State: Photographs of College Life."

That effort will be recreated -- with new twists -- the week of Oct. 1-7 for the second A Week at Kansas State -- or AWAKS2 -- project to record the way students, staff and faculty live their lives and do their work in 2012. It's sponsored by the Collegian Media Group, which oversees student publications at Kansas State University.

Unlike the book produced the first time around, A Week at Kansas State 2 will be a Web project, said Steve Wolgast, director of Collegian Media Group and an assistant professor at the university's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

"We may do a book in the future, but a website allows for video, audio slideshows and still photos, and it lets us reach people around the world," Wolgast said.

"The focus of AWAKS2 will be on showing how students live today," said Andy Nelson, R.M. Seaton professional journalism chair at the A.Q. Miller School of Journal and Mass Communications. Nelson also is the school's journalism and digital media sequence chair. "We want to show both the usual and the unusual, like students who are parents, veterans, students who work in labs, etc." 

That's where current students, staff and faculty can help. Everyone is being encouraged to contact Wolgast, wolgast@k-state.edu, and Nelson, nelson@k-state.edu, with their ideas on what should be included in the project.

As with the original "A Week at Kansas State," student photographers will be part of the project, gaining mentoring and networking opportunities with the alumni photographers -- including several professionals in the field.

As students, both Wolgast and Nelson contributed several photos to the "A Week at Kansas State" book. They both said the experience proved beneficial in their careers.

Wolgast went on to become a news design editor for the New York Times, while Nelson was a staff photographer at the Christian Science Monitor, Kansas City Star and Register-Guard in Eugene, Ore. He also worked as an independent photographer and multimedia specialist based out of Bangkok.

Co-editors of A Week at Kansas State 2 are Maggie Clarkin Spano and Christopher T. Assaf, both 1992 journalism graduates who worked as photographers for the Kansas State Collegian and Royal Purple yearbook while students.

"They're both successful, energetic professionals, and they're dedicated to K-State and telling its story," Wolgast said. "The ideas they come up with will definitely tell Wildcat stories as they've never been told."

Spano, who grew up in Topeka, is the senior director of operations at Universal Uclick, a division of Andrews McMeel Universal in Kansas City, Mo.

Assaf, originally from Shawnee, has a bachelor's in journalism. He is the multimedia editor/video of the Baltimore Sun, where he has worked since 2003.

Spano and Assaf will bring in Gary Haynes, a 1957 university alumnus, as the project's photo editor. Haynes was a photographer for the first "A Week at Kansas State" book. In 1996 he retired from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was assistant managing editor/photo and graphics. He also worked at the New York Times as its national picture editor.

Wolgast will serve as publisher of A Week at Kansas State 2.

Kansas State University students who will be involved in A Week at Kansas State 2 include:

Tommy Theis, senior in information systems, Olathe, and photo editor of the Kansas State Collegian; Evert Nelson, sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communications, Tecumseh, photo editor of the Royal Purple; and Erin Poppe, senior in digital journalism, Burlington, Wash., editor-in-chief of the Royal Purple.

Collegian Media Group is the private, nonprofit company that publishes the Collegian and the Royal Purple, and hosts the Flint Hills Publications Workshop. It was founded in 1946, 50 years after the Collegian printed its first edition. It is a 501(c)3 and receives no funding from Kansas State University or the state of Kansas. Donations to fund this project may be made to Collegian Media Group/Student Publications through the KSU Foundation.