Annual Open House event showcases many facets of K-State


K-State has welcomed more than 20,000 visitors to the K-State All-University Open House in years past. This year’s 45th annual event will showcase almost every department on campus with activities, free food, demonstrations and tours.

“One of the great things about Open House is seeing so many different aspects of campus on the same day,” said Emily Lehning, assistant vice president of new student services and co-coordinator of the event. “This is [many potential students’] first introduction to campus. It’s a chance for them to see the breadth of opportunities, organizations, academic programs and research, and get a view of themselves as students here.”

This year, the Open House coordinators have strengthened the passport system and added clearer check-ins on the Manhattan campus. Visitors can use Foursquare, an app for “checking in” to places and posting visits to social media, to scan particular booths throughout campus.

Paper and digital check-ins will be entered into drawings for prizes like T-shirts, signed footballs or an iPad.

One of the unique displays at the Open House is Poet-in-a-Box, hosted by the English department. Graduate and undergraduate student volunteers and some faculty will sit behind screens in the K-State Student Union. Visitors write poem subjects on pieces of paper, ranging from their name to hobbies to favorite foods. The volunteers have 10 minutes to write a custom poem for each participating visitor. Last year, the volunteers produced more than 100 poems.

“Poetry can often seem like something separate from our everyday lives, but our Poet-in-a-Box reminds us that everyday experiences are what makes poetry and art,” Karin Westman, head of the English department, said. “[It is] a great way to celebrate Open House and National Poetry Month, [which is] in April.”

Hands on
On the other side of the spectrum, the department of regional and community planning’s BOXhattan might appeal to those who like working with their hands. Visitors will apply for “building permits” after they plan the function and design of their building, from airports to fire stations.

The “buildings” are decorated cereal boxes from which the visitors will build a model city, under the guidance of the Student Planning Association. The program has been successful with local elementary schools; the finished project will be displayed in Seaton Hall.

“We help them with where to put buildings and how a city works,” John Heiman, junior in regional and community planning, said. “Something as complex as a city, like a living organism, has cells.”

The agriculture department will be hosting events in lesser-known parts of campus. Visitors can tour the University Gardens with the landscape design students and stop by the horticulture club’s bedding plant sale.

A student livestock show will be in Weber Arena at 1 p.m. The arena is located inside Weber Hall.

A shuttle will be available to tour the grain science north complex. The $16 million feed and flour mill will have hands-on demonstrations and an opportunity to try snacks.

Non-academic departments are also open for exploration on Open House. The Beach Museum of Art will be hosting “Take Shelter: An Installation by Tom Parish,” an exhibit that explores the native stone and root cellars of the Flint Hills, as well as “Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature,” featuring responses by painters to the writings of philosopher Luis Borges, former President of the Argentine Society of Writers.

A day pass to the Chester Peters Recreation Complex lets visitors experience the new 40-foot rock climbing wall and the residence halls. Some Greek houses will be open to visitors, as well as the recycling center on campus.

The K-State Olathe campus will host speakers on new disciplines like sensory science and urban water usage, and participate in demonstrations like “Keep it Cool,” informing participants about long-term refrigeration, and a meatball tasting consumer research study.

Hot air balloon rides for $10 can be found on the K-State Salina campus, as well as an airplane simulator and automation shows with dancing robots and M&M; dispensers.

Old favorites on the Manhattan campus, including Purple Pride ice cream from Call Hall and meeting Willie the Wildcat, will also be back again this year.