Engaging the Design Students in Developing An Agricultural Training Facility Prototype to Assist the Veterans: A Service Learning Project

Contact: Vibhavari Jani, vjani@k-state.edu


Vibhavari Jani, an associate professor in the Department of Interior Architecture & Product Design, has proposed the project, “Engaging the Design Students in Developing An Agricultural Facility Prototype to Assist the Veterans: A Service Learning Project.” This project was developed to reduce the suicide rate in war veterans by incorporating the veterans and their strengths into a farming community. Not only would the veterans benefit, as farming would serve as a therapy tool, but the farmers would also benefit with the addition of an intern. Farmers, on average, are around the age of 60, and many will be retiring in the near future. With this statistic, it is important to incorporate these war veterans into the farming community, as approximately 1,000,000 farmers will be needed nationwide in the near future. The principal investigator has partnered with many veterans, the Fort Riley medical staff, Major LaGrange, who started the SAVE Organization, Topeka Rehabilitation Hospital medical staff, K-State Research and Extension agent Kerri Ebery, local farms, Steelcase Inc., Scott Rice Office Works, and Hoefer Wysocki. This project will take place in Manhattan, Kansas, benefiting the nearly 15,000 veterans who are predicted to return in the next two years. The engaged grant will be put to use in teaching students at Kansas State University about the evidence on this topic, and ultimately leading to the design of an agricultural training campus in Manhattan. This training campus will assist veterans in farming and agriculture.

Program Partners:

Major LaGrange and SAVE Organization board of directors, and staff members, Fort Riley Military Hospital and Topeka Rehabilitation Hospital medical staff, Kansas State Research and Extension Agent Ms. Kerri Ebert, local farm including Mertz Family Farms, Sunny Day Farms, Wind Song Farms, Steelcase Inc. (Large Furniture Manufacturer), Nurture (Healthcare Furniture Manufacturer, a subsidiary of Steelcase Inc.), Scott Rice office (Steelcase Dealership), Hoefer Wysocki, an architectural firm based in Kansas.

Institutional Impact Area(s):

Architecture, Product Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning


War veterans, Farmers, Design Students