Recently, The Princeton Review ranked K-State eighth for
the “happiest students” in the nation. The news of this ranking quickly spread
across the K-State campus, and, although it was received with enthusiasm, many students said they were not surprised.
Gabi Sims, senior in kinesiology, said she feels like K-State has always been a
friendly place, so the ranking did not surprise her. She said there are always friendly people on campus even if
they are simply giving directions, ensuring that she never felt like a “stranger” on campus.
“I think that students on campus are all really open and
kind to other students,” Sims said. “I know when I first came to K-State for a
visit we got lost, and I just remember somebody helped us find the right parking
lot we needed and the right building we needed to be at. So from the beginning
it’s always been that way. When you have a question there’s always someone to
Mikaela Needles, senior at Hesston High School, said that
her tour at K-State was the best experience she has had on a college campus.
“I love it here,” Needles said. “It’s so friendly. Everybody
comes up, like when we got lost people came up and talked to us, and they helped
us along our way. And our campus tour leader was really funny. It’s just a
really friendly campus.”
Her mother, Gwendolyn Needles, said they came to K-State for
the first time on Junior Day last year and were welcomed and greeted by so many students and faculty that the experience was completely set apart from
other college visits.
“Even on the first visit, people were very friendly,” Gwendolyn Needles said. “There was a student that wasn’t part of the tour that sat with [us]
when we ate and asked her [Mikaela] why she was wanting to come here and explained what
he found about being here and how much he enjoyed coming here. For me, as a
mother, I’m letting her go away. The environment so far that I’ve seen, well I’m
not going to be concerned because I know she’s going to make friends easily.”
Her father, Don Needles, said that Manhattan has always
been a welcoming town.
“You hope that everybody is friendly no matter where you go
to,” Don Needles said, “but we’ve been to the other colleges, and this one has
Both Gwendolyn and Don Needles emphasized how comfortable they
felt as parents when bringing their daughter to K-State and how they were
continually surprised, and reassured, by the random greetings they
received from other students throughout the day as they walked around campus.
Nathan Laudan, sophomore in food science and agricultural communications, works as a K-State campus tour guide. Laudan said most parents
and students really make up their mind after a tour, so it is important to
represent K-State in the best way possible.
“There have been a lot of studies done on how tour guides
are what makes or breaks a student’s decision on what university they will
attend," Laudan said. "So our job is to kind of be a face of K-State … why we love it so much here and why we are proud to be a part
of this family.”
Laudan said he draws upon personal experiences when leading
a group because the students can really tell if guides are telling true,
heartfelt stories or not, and the personal stories are what capture their
attention the most. He said students want to feel like they belong, and as tour
guides he gets the opportunity to show the countless ways students can feel
welcomed into the “K-State family."
“It’s a fun place to be involved and have a home,” Laudan said. “The family atmosphere here is what really sets us apart from any other
Student body president Nate Spriggs and vice president Grant Hill both said their roles in the Student Governing Association are focused on always
improving the overall well-being of student life and “happiness” on campus.
Spriggs said that his role working with K-State programs
like the Union Program Council, Powercat Financial Counseling, SGA staff and Recreational Services has proved vital in contributing to K-State
students’ experiences. These programs have made an important impact on student
life by constantly providing K-State students with new opportunities.
“The atmosphere is created by a system of shared governance
we have here,” Spriggs said. “Students, faculty and staff, and
administration work with the community and the state government to create a
higher education system that is geared toward putting students first. And that
shared governance is really why I believe K-State is one of the nation’s
Hill said that he has personally experienced the welcoming
effects of K-State and the Manhattan community ever since coming his freshman
“I personally think K-State is one of the top-10 happiest
college campuses across the nation because we showcase our university so well
to prospective students that they have just high expectations,” Hill said. “So
when they come in and realize that not only are those expectations they are
going to receive, [but] our services go above and beyond our student life. It
amazes me every day by the different programs and initiatives they have, the
different living organizations on campus, the student groups that are
passionate for their different causes and different realms on campus, and so I
think that the opportunity here at K-State is better than any around. Students
are constantly being surprised about how great the campus is at K-State.”