K-State Olathe looks to create traditions at first Open House event


Almost exactly two years ago, K-State brought its campus presence up from two to three, adding K-State Olathe to the family. The brand new graduate school is keeping up with tradition by offering its Open House event this Saturday in conjunction with K-State-Salina and the Manhattan main campus. With all three campuses hosting Open House on the same day, teamwork is the number one priority.

“We will have folks from Manhattan at our Open House,” said Kristi Northcutt, marketing communications coordinator for K-State Olathe. “We’re very excited to host them and see how we fit together.”

This will be the first year in which all three K-State campuses will be participating in Open House together. In a March 25 K-State press release, Olathe campus CEO Dan Richardson said that he was elated to kick off the first all-university event.

“The lineup of activities taking place in our first year of participation in the all-university open house is nothing short of amazing,” Richardson said in the release. “We are excited to proudly display our facility, programs and people to the community which has welcomed and supported us with open arms.”

K-State Olathe specializes in graduate studies in sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry. The Olathe campus is still new, so its Open House event is designed to showcase aspects of the university that people may not know.

“It’s an opportunity to bring K-State to the KC Metropolitan area,” said Matt Maciel, education graduate program coordinator at K-State Olathe. “I think this is a huge step for all of K-State.”

Areas of study available for undergraduate and graduate students will be highlighted at the Open House.

“There will be undergrad admissions representatives for students interested in our programs,” Northcutt said. “We also have master’s in agribusiness and business programs, and we’ll have ambassadors for those here.”

Food, attractions and activities will fill the schedule for Olathe’s event, and each event has been especially designed to be child-friendly. Face painting and animal interaction are a few of the events Northcutt said she believes kids will enjoy the most.

“Our Open House is free and open to all ages,” Northcutt said. “We’ll be having activities at our research pond that everyone can get into.”

As K-State Olathe’s first Open House attempt, Northcutt said this event will hopefully set in motion several yearly traditions.

“With something new like this, you never know. There’s no history or tradition to fall back on,” Northcutt said. “We’re hoping to have a good turnout.”

According to Maciel, the biggest hurdle to overcome will be getting the program moving.

“The challenge will be getting it off the ground,” Maciel said. “We’re going to have a good showing, though. Our alumni bleed purple. People will want to come visit us and see what we do.”

K-State Olathe is offering a unique Open House experience not only to its visitors, but to participating students. High school students in the Olathe area have the opportunity to assist the college in Open House activities.

“We have a lot of K-12 students helping us out,” Northcutt said. “They’re getting class credit for participating, and we plan to engage them in a variety of ways.”

The K-State Student Union in Manhattan will have informational materials about the Olathe campus available. The community aspect of all three campuses will be higher than ever before, Northcutt said.

“It’s a lot of synergy,” Northcutt said. ” It’s one K-State, and we’re trying to make it that way.”