April 4, 2023
K-State provides recap, photos of the successful Crawford County community visit
Colben Dodson, second-year veterinary medicine student and a Connected 'Cats event leader for the Crawford County community visit, tells his K-State story during the community open forum at the Girard Civic Center.
Kansas State University engaged with more than 220 community members during the recent presidential community visit to Crawford County and the Pittsburg and Girard region.
President Richard Linton and several Connected 'Cats students led the K-State team of faculty, staff and extension professionals who visited Crawford County on March 28. The visit included community conversations, recruitment activities and events to highlight university partnerships and K-State Research and Extension relationships.
View photos of the events throughout the Crawford County community visit. More photos will be added in the coming days.
The next K-State community visit will be Monday, April 24, and Tuesday, April 25, in Finney County and Garden City. Check out K-State's Instagram and Facebook stories on April 24 and 25 to follow the community visit events.
At the Crawford County community visit, Linton and the K-State team began the day with a community open forum that highlighted university connections in the Pittsburg and Girard area.
Other events throughout the day included a discussion on improving health outcomes in southeast Kansas through community services and partnerships, including the K-State SNAP-Ed program for nutrition education. A session at Pittsburg High School highlighted the school's innovative hydroponic farm project and how it benefits students and the overall community through a partnership with Community Green Farms.
An afternoon panel discussion focused on economic prosperity by spotlighting Block 22 and bringing together Pittsburg State University, the city of Pittsburg, developers, K-State Research and Extension and NetWork Kansas to learn how higher education supports community development. A Calling All 'Cats recruitment event occurred in the evening, too.
For the two Connected 'Cats student event leaders for the Crawford County visit, the day provided many opportunities to share their K-State stories with their hometown communities and southeast Kansas.
"It was such an amazing opportunity to take K-State's leaders to my home community where they were able to learn about what K-State can do to better connect with the community," said Cara DeTar, senior in agricultural education, Coffeyville. "My favorite part of the day was getting to honor my high school agricultural education teacher with the Spirit of K-State award. It was such a special moment for both my teacher and myself."
"Getting the opportunity to return to southeast Kansas and represent K-State was an amazing opportunity," said Colben Dodson, second-year veterinary medicine student, Liberty. "Getting to come before my community and give my K-State story and hear from the people about what they wanted to see from K-State was a big learning opportunity. It means a lot to see the support from my community for not only me as a student but the university as well."
Cara DeTar, senior in agricultural education, center in white blazer, recognized Kyle Zwahlen, agricultural education instructor at Labette County High School, with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award. Zwahlen’s family and students attended the surprise award ceremony.
University recognizes southeast Kansas educators with Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State awards
K-State continued recognizing local educators with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award. At every community visit, the Connected 'Cats choose educators from their hometown high schools to recognize for their inspiration and positive influence in helping the Connected 'Cats get to where they are today.
At the Crawford County community visit, K-State also launched the Spirit of K-State award to recognize an educator who partners with K-State Research and Extension
Educators who receive Spirit of K-State awards are recognized in a surprise ceremony at the high school and they are given a certificate for a $1,000 scholarship to give to a current high school student who plans to attend K-State.
In southeast Kansas, Cara DeTar chose to recognize Kyle Zwahlen, agricultural education instructor at Labette County High School.
"Receiving this award from Cara while surrounded by students, administration and my family was a huge surprise, one of the best of my career," Zwahlen said. "I'm honored that Cara, who continues to accomplish great things, chose me. It's humbling to be recognized for doing something you love — teaching the next generation about the importance and impact they can be for agriculture."
Will Morris, 4-H youth development agent in the K-State Research and Extension Wildcat District Girard office, chose to recognize Beth Wilson, secondary business educator at Girard High School.
"The Spirit of K-State Award was a wonderful surprise, and my seventh period Intro to Business students and I enjoyed the delicious cookies," Wilson said. "It felt surreal to stand there and listen to such nice compliments, but a moment that I will remember fondly. As teachers, we strive to make a difference in our students' lives, and I appreciate the nod and feel even more motivated to continue to chase the dream of providing for a student the knowledge or opportunity that he or she may not have had otherwise. Thank you to all involved for this jolt of encouragement, which is most needed in the last quarter of a school year."
Will Morris, 4-H youth development agent in the K-State Research and Extension Wildcat District Girard office, right, and Karen Goos, K-State vice provost for enrollment management, left, recognize Beth Wilson, secondary business educator at Girard High School, center, with the Spirit of K-State award.
About the community visit initiative
K-State continues traveling the state as part of the presidential community visit initiative that focuses on the people of Kansas and their communities. The initiative consists of nine community visits throughout the state this academic year. See where K-State has been and where the university is going next.
A communications toolkit is available to help K-Staters share a consistent message about the university's relationships, partnerships and contributions throughout the state of Kansas. The toolkit offers a pathway for any university unit to plug in to the initiative and help share stories of engagement across the state.
Access the communications toolkit on the community visit website. Please be prepared to enter your K-State eID and password to access the information.
K-State President Richard Linton and Pittsburg State University President Dan Shipp, center, help lead a Block 22 panel discussion that involved Pittsburg State University, the city of Pittsburg, developers, K-State Research and Extension and NetWork Kansas.