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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

November 15, 2023

Food and Farm Council receives International Innovative Education of the Year Award

Submitted by Grant Chapman

Konza Student Table logo

The Kansas State University Office of International Programs, or OIP, recognizes the Food and Farm Council of Riley County and City of Manhattan as the recipient of the 2023 International Innovative Education Program of the Year Award.

The annual recognition, announced during International Education Week, is awarded to an external organization that goes above and beyond promoting international education initiatives and serving K-State's global student body. Established in 2012, the award is determined by the Office of International Programs' leadership team.

The mission of the council is to advocate for and sustain an accessible, healthy and local food system. The council members are appointed by Riley County and the city of Manhattan. The Office of International Programs recognizes the council for its sponsorship and administration of the Konza Student Table in partnership with St. Isidore's Catholic Student Center.

"We know that many of our students, including our international students and families, receive meals from the Konza Student Table on Wednesday evenings," said Grant Chapman, associate provost for international programs. "These meals provide needed nourishment in the middle of the week for our students. Additionally, our international students, staff and faculty volunteer at the Konza Student Table."

The Konza Student Table was established in September 2020. Its motto is "more than a meal." Since September 2020, the Konza Student Table has provided more than 90,000 meals to K-State students and has involved more than 450 different volunteers.

"The deep passion I feel for Konza Student Table is about my desire to help students be their best Wildcat!" said Vickie James, coordinator for the Food and Farm Council. "We refer to the program as 'more than a meal' because it offers a safe space for trust, engagement, support, and consistency in the lives of our students. This is a humbling honor and one that could not happen without all of the amazing student and community volunteers, K-State Housing and Dining and Sodexo Campus partnerships plus financial donations generously given by the K-State community."

"Konza Student Table is a program that tugs at your heartstrings and lifts you up all at the same time," said Kelly Whitehair, K-State dietetics program coordinator and Konza Student Table leadership team co-coordinator. "Our students cannot be academically, physically or socially successful without nourishment. Not only does Konza Student Table provide nutrients, but it also provides community. " 

Sara Thurston, director of International Student and Scholar Services said, "The Konza Student Table is such a wonderful resource. Those planning the menus are sensitive to all students, clearly sharing the menu and offering vegetarian options each week. They are a blessing to our K-State students."

Grant Chapman added, "The OIP team felt strongly that the Konza Student Table, while open to all K-State students, definitely benefits our international students and their families."

Noted past recipients of this award:

  • 2020: Saudia Airlines for sponsoring students at K-State Salina.  
  • 2021: Institute of International Education for advocacy of and granting emergency funds to international students during a pandemic. 
  • 2022: Institute for American Universities at the American College of the Mediterranean for establishing a full-tuition education abroad scholarship for K-State students in memory of Allison Benson.

Please join us for the remaining International Education Week events through Nov. 17. 

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