Inspired by Kansas State University’s long-standing tradition of being a land-grant institution, the enrollment management, marketing and financial aid offices on the university’s Polytechnic Campus are making community outreach a priority.
Dubbed “Thankful Thursday,” one day a month Kansas State Polytechnic’s enrollment management, marketing and financial aid offices volunteer at a Salina organization, non-profit or business in need of extra help. Each staff member gets the opportunity to select a charity or cause in which they want to give back, and the entire team supports that initiative. So far, the group has assisted with the Saline County Back-to-School Fair, Casino Day at Eaglecrest Retirement Community, clean-up at Rolling Hills Zoo, and product organization at the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank.
“I call it ‘doing well by doing good,’” said Christopher Smith, executive director of enrollment management, marketing and financial aid at Kansas State Polytechnic. “Institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to give back to the community they serve, and one of K-State’s goals as a land-grant school is to improve quality of life through outreach. I wanted my team to be a part of our campus’s contributions to Salina and we are proud of what is being accomplished.”
The enrollment management, marketing and financial aid staff began lending a helping hand in August when the group volunteered at the city’s Back-to-School Fair. They checked in families to the event and handed out backpacks stuffed with school supplies. In September, the group acted as card game dealers at Eaglecrest Retirement Community’s Casino Day and in October, visited Rolling Hills Zoo where they cut down branches and plants that were being used as “browse,” or animal food. This month, the enrollment management, marketing and financial aid team stocked shelves, packed boxes, and sorted food items at the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank.
“Last year, we distributed 408,000 food items from our pantry,” said Michael Chambers, executive director of the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank. “The only way that scope of work is possible is through the donation of time and energy from volunteers in our community. The efforts of all our volunteers, whether here one day or every day, make a very meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve. Simply put, we could not do what we do without volunteers.”
Kansas State Polytechnic’s enrollment management and marketing team will continue its volunteer work in the Salina community in December and throughout 2019, with plans to assist such organizations as Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, and DVACK.
Photo Courtesy KSU Polytechnic (Staff members from the enrollment management, marketing and financial aid offices at Kansas State Polytechnic helped the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank Nov. 15 with stocking shelves, organizing food items, and packing boxes. Bottom row, from left: Dr. Christopher Smith, Julee Cobb and Ashley Haugaard. Top row, from left: Jessica Johnson, Kris Grinter, Michael Chambers, executive director of the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank, Kim Bird, Heather Wagoner, Jackie Tolbert, Cindy Newell, Dion Mosley, and Ellen Fixsen)