K-State celebrates sesquicentennial with Winter Expo and Activities Carnival

Parker Robb | Collegian Melissa Graves, sophomore in kinesiology, attempts to grab money swirling around her in the “cash vault,” at SALT booth at the Winter Expo and Activities Carnival on Thursday evening at the K-State Student Union. SALT is a free online tool offered by Powercat Financial Assistance to help students manage their finances.

This year marks K-State’s 150th, and one of the ways that campus leaders have decided to celebrate is the Winter Expo and Activities Carnival, hosted by the Union Program Council in the K-State Student Union on Thursday night.

“We were trying to go with the sesquicentennial theme for our winter activities carnival,” said Kaitlin Shea, community co-chair for UPC and senior in public relations. “We use this as a way for early promotion for our other events this semester, as well as tie it into the events of the campus as a whole for K-State’s sesquicentennial.”

As a part of the birthday party theme, UPC decorated the K-State Student Union Courtyard with banners, streamers and balloons. UPC also brought in attractions and organized activities for students to enjoy, like a photo booth, spray-on tattoos, free massages and a balloon man. But the treat that everyone seemed to enjoy was the mass of cupcakes given away to celebrate K-State’s “birthday.”

“There are a lot of students and student organizations here,” said Kyle Reynolds, community co-chair of UPC and senior in public relations. “We had a total of 750 cupcakes when this event started. They were probably all gone within the first hour of the event.”

Reynolds said one of the biggest challenges the community committee of UPC faced with this event was the five-week break between the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters. He said the committee had to complete all of the planning for the expo before finals week of the fall semester in order for the event to succeed. Committee members scattered across Kansas during the break, so they had to make sure the planning and execution of the event were spot-on.

The Winter Expo and Activities Carnival attracts many different types of student groups and initiatives. One of the carnival’s attractions was the “money vault” — a yellow, blown-up, house-like structure set up on the main floor of the Union. Students got the chance to enter and grab cash blowing around in the vault; whatever they held on to, they could keep.

“We have the money vault here,” said Jodi Kaus, director of Powercat Financial Counseling. “The way students have the opportunity to enter the money vault is to check out our new program, SALT.”

SALT, a new, free online program offered through PFC, offers students financial help in multiple areas relating to college. SALT helps students manage student loans, talk to experts about loans, seek jobs and internships, search for scholarships and find out how to learn about credit and managing money. Kaus said the program attracted a lot of attention from students.

“I think this tabling has been going great,” she said. “There has been a steady stream of students who have come and checked out our new program, as well as entered the money vault.”

Student organizations also got the opportunity to be a part of the Winter Activities Carnival. Taylor Middleton, president of the K-State chapter of Habitat for Humanity and sophomore in marketing, ran a booth at the expo and said she thought the carnival went well.

“There were constantly people stopping by our table to talk to us,” Middleton said. “This is incredibly beneficial for us since we just started up last year. This type of event allows us to get out name out there and allows students to know there are different outlets to receive community service hours and volunteerism. We like events like this, to find new people to join, due to our organization running purely off of volunteers.”