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K-State Today

February 15, 2024

Celebrating the successful Jackson County community visit

Submitted by Mackenzie Waggoner

During the Jackson County community visit, a packed room at Holton Community Hospital listens as panelists discuss child care needs and strategic action plans for the future. (Photo credit: Mackenzie Waggoner)

Kansas State University engaged with more than 300 community members during the recent community visit to Jackson County and the Holton region. 

President Richard Linton and several Connected 'Cats students led the team of faculty, staff and extension professionals who visited Jackson County from Feb. 6-7. The visit included community conversations, recruitment activities and events to highlight university partnerships and K-State Research and Extension relationships. 

The next K-State community visit will be Tuesday, March 5, through Thursday, March 7, in Reno County and Seward County. Check out K-State's Instagram and Facebook stories on March 5-7 to follow the community visit events. 

The two-day Jackson County community visit started on Feb. 6 with a community open forum, where the K-State team highlighted university connections in the Holton region.

Other events throughout the visit included a facilitated conversation on responding to child care needs through collaboration and partnership and discussing strategic action plans for the future. This event at Holton Community Hospital involved various collaborators from the Holton community as well as K-State Research and Extension. 

An afternoon panel discussion focused on building economic prosperity through innovation and partnerships. Community partners showcased the entrepreneurship of the community and discussed how these efforts are building a stronger Jackson County. They also talked about ways that the K-State 105 initiative could get involved. 

For the two Connected 'Cats student event leaders for the Jackson County visit, the two-day visit provided many opportunities to share their K-State stories with their hometown communities. The Connected 'Cats students included Jaye Hrencher, senior in marketing, Hiawatha, and Jerilyn Nelson, first-year veterinary medicine student, Soldier.

"Being able to return to Jackson County as a part of Kansas State University was such a rewarding experience," Nelson said. "My favorite part of the visit was being able to surprise my FFA advisor, Mr. Lierz, with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State Award. This meant so much to both of us and is something that we both will cherish forever."

President Richard Linton led the Jackson County community visit with Connected 'Cats student leaders Jaye Hrencher, senior in marketing, Hiawatha, left, and Jerilyn Nelson, first-year veterinary medicine student, Soldier. (Photo credit: Mackenzie Waggoner)

University recognizes Kansas educators with Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State awards

K-State continues 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.
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.

At the Jackson County regional community visit, Hrencher chose to recognize Karl Kliewer, math teacher at Hiawatha High School. Nelson chose to recognize Paul Lierz, vocational-agriculture teacher at Jackson Heights High School.

About the community visit initiative
The K-State community visit initiative focuses on the people of Kansas and their communities. K-State is visiting multiple communities throughout the state to listen to and learn from the Kansans who live there. See where K-State has been and where the university is going next.

Watch a video that showcases K-State's engagement in Kansas communities.

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.

The community visits are an important part of the K-State 105 initiative, which is Kansas State University's answer to the call for a comprehensive economic growth and advancement solution for Kansas. The initiative leverages the statewide K-State Research and Extension network to deliver the full breadth of the university's collective knowledge and solution-driven innovation to every Kansan, right where they live and work. Additionally, K-State 105 forges the connections and partnerships that create access to additional expertise within other state institutions and agencies, nonprofits and corporations — all part of an effort to build additional capacities and strengths in each of the 105 counties in the state.