From Jayhawk to Wildcat: a change to a purple heart

Many students who grow up rooting for KU end up switching their loyalty after coming to KSU and deciding to attend. (Photo Illustration by Lauren Nagle | The Collegian)

With many students coming from all around Kansas, there is a high possibility there are students currently enrolled at K-State who grew up rooting for the team 85 miles to the east of us.

If this is true, then what is K-State doing that is persuading these kids to change their loyalties?

Michael Penny, junior in marketing, said he first noticed the family atmosphere while on his official visit to K-State as a senior in high school.

“The minute I stepped on the K-State campus, they made me feel like I was at home,” Penny said. “All I kept hearing was that I mattered and that they wanted to hear my opinion.”

Penny, who grew up in Lawrence, said that he was a huge KU fan throughout his childhood. He said his heart was set on KU through high school, but on his visit to the campus something startled him.

“When I toured KU, both of my parents and I got the feel that they were treating and talking to me like I was just a number,” Penny said.

After experiencing both campuses, Penny made his decision to attend K-State and hasn’t looked back.

“From day one I felt like I was apart of the K-State family, and it’s been the most rewarding three years of my life,” Penny said.

For some, however, the choice wasn’t as easy.

Logan Cox, sophomore in park management and conservation, said watching KU sports was a daily occurrence as a younger kid. Cox, who grew up in the Kansas City area, was part of a Jayhawk family. With college rapidly approaching, Cox said he knew he was going to have to make a tough decision.

“K-State was on the radar because they had the schooling I wanted, but I knew it was going to be a hard decision deciding if I could abandon the college I had grown up loving,” Cox said.

After a lengthy thought process, Cox made the decision to head to Manhattan for college. After two years of attending K-State, Cox said he has no regrets with his decision.

“Once I came to K-State, the beautiful campus combined with the amazing people finally turned me away from the crimson and blue,” Cox said. “Ever since I made the decision to come to K-State, I have not looked back and have no regrets.”

Cox said he was surprised he ever even considered K-State, but for others it was mainly about getting that new college experience.

After growing up in Lawrence, Libby Allen, junior in mass communications, said she wanted to experience something outside of her comfort zone for college. Allen considered many colleges in the area, but was reeled into K-State by the niceness of the people and the family-oriented vibe.

Like Penny, Allen said she felt that she truly mattered to the people at K-State.

“If I would have stayed in Lawrence and gone to college there, I wouldn’t have ever gotten outside of my comfort zone and got the new experience I had hoped for,” Allen said. “Now, when I look back on it coming to K-State, it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made for myself.”

For many students, K-State’s friendliness and ability to interact with potential students on a personal level is what made it stand apart from other, bigger universities.

“Once I made the decision, I was happy to trade in my crimson and blue for purple,” Cox said. “Kansas State is great. Great school, great people, great experience.”