Students at K-State Salina lead Giving Tree project, donate holiday gifts to four families
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
K-State Salina students Roxana Linares (left) and Charlie Kiehlbauch (right) helped lead and organize K-State Salina's Giving Tree project, which helped contribute gifts to four families of students who attend Sunset Elementary in Salina. | Download this photo.
SALINA — Students, faculty, staff and administration at Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus helped contribute gifts to local families in the campus's first student-led Giving Tree project.
Students involved with K-State Salina's Student Governing Association helped create and lead the Giving Tree project, which raised more than $1,500 to put toward gifts for four different families of students who attend Sunset Elementary School in Salina. The gifts included everything from necessities — including towels, hats, gloves and cleaning supplies — to fun items for kids, such as toys, coloring books and crafts.
Two K-State Salina students helped organize the project, with assistance from the Student Governing Association and a team effort from all parts of campus. Roxana Linares, junior, Arkansas City, and Charlie Kiehlbauch, sophomore, Fort Worth, Texas, both led and organized the campus's inaugural Giving Tree project.
"We wanted to help the community in some way," Linares said. "Charlie and I really have an interest in service to our community, and this was a great opportunity to help people have a little more holiday cheer."
Kiehlbauch also credits the K-State Salina Student Governing Association's efforts in getting to be more involved with the Salina community. Thanks to this persistence, the school was able to build a relationship with the Sunset Parent-Teacher Organization, which notified the students of the opportunity.
"I think the Giving Tree project went really well … our faculty and staff supported us," said Kielbauch. "From giving gifts to donating money to wrapping, our campus had great buy-in. It means everything to me that our campus could achieve this to help the families."
While other community service projects ask for the community's help, the Giving Tree project only relied on the K-State Salina campus to rally around the families. Only K-State Salina students, faculty, staff and administration pitched in to raise funds. Some even helped wrap gifts to ensure a true holiday feel for the families.
"Students and staff have felt more of a responsibility to get involved and give back to the Salina community," said Alysia Starkey, K-State Salina CEO and dean. "I'm proud of the response this student-led project invoked in members of our campus. This is a great example of how leadership is viewed at our campus: where it doesn't matter one's title; anybody can lead at any time. Thanks to the leadership showcased by our SGA, we were able to come through for local families."
Recently, the K-State Salina campus has been involved with many aspects of community involvement, including a new on-campus community art appreciation mural, "Birds of a Feather," a community fundraiser for the Salina Area United Way and a volunteering campaign for the campus's annual Fall Kickoff in August.