K-State holds Open House event, incoming students discuss their expectations

Michael Crisp, freshman in physics and computer engineering, talks about electrical currents and magnetic fields of copper and aluminum with Ethan McLenon and Jimmy Mendoza of Overland Park, Kansas. (Shelton Burch | The Collegian)

Organizations from across campus and around the community set up stations and activities on campus as K-State hosted its annual Open House event on Saturday.

Over 470 student organizations were present, according to the event’s website. The event began at 9 a.m. on all three campuses: Manhattan, Olathe and Polytechnic.

Throughout the day, performance groups were scheduled to perform on stages set up in both Bosco Student Plaza and the Quad. Performances started when the event did, with the K-State Singers, a show choir at K-State, performing in Bosco Plaza while In-A-Chord, an a cappella music group, performed in the Quad.

Volunteers stood in various locations around campus to help people who needed directions. The volunteers wore white shirts with the words “Lost? Find yourself at K-State’s All-University Open House” to identify themselves.

One such volunteer, Annie Jewell, sophomore in public relations, said she volunteered as a way of doing service hours for her sorority, Delta Delta Delta.

“I did it last year, and I liked it a lot,” Jewell said. “I’m involved in some other organizations, and so I have heard a lot about Open House. And so I just wanted to be out here today regardless, and so I might as well kill two birds with one stone.”

Jewell and Hannah Schmitt, sophomore in apparel marketing, also a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, stood together on the sidewalk between Hale Library and English Counseling Services for the first part of the morning.

Jewell said she and Schmitt were initially posted somewhere else, but they were reassigned to help people navigate the construction on campus, which seemed to be the biggest problem causing Open House attendees to get lost.

“They had us in the middle, and then they moved us over here just because the construction is ridiculous right now,” Jewell said. “There’s a bunch of signs on campus but people still get lost, and so I think people just ask where buildings are and how to kind of get from one place to the next.”

Schmitt said she also needed community hours for her sorority, so she volunteered to help knock a few of them out. She also said she felt the type of work fit her well because of her personality.

“I like to think I’m a super friendly person, so I enjoy talking to people and I know the campus pretty well,” Schmitt said.

Activities on campus included a bouncy playhouse for kids, which was set up outside Dickens and Bluemont halls, a distracted driver station set up by the K-State Police Department in the Quad and tours of K-State’s nuclear reactor in Ward Hall.

Visitors to K-State included Blake Wewer, senior at the Manhattan High School west campus, and his mother and father, Paula and Randy Wewer. Blake said he plans to pursue a dual major in math and computer science.

Paula said they had gone mostly in the computer science area. Blake said he most liked the virtual reality display, and Paula said she liked the exhibit that was a table of sand set up as a topographic map simulator.

Blake said his interest in math came from his father Randy, a math teacher at MHS, while his interest in computer science came from the way he has always enjoyed creating new things.

“I just like the idea of creating and designing new ways of doing things,” Blake said.

Blake said he most looks forward to seeing K-State as more than a community member. He spent his whole life in Manhattan, he said, so he always saw it from that perspective, but now he looks forward to seeing it from the perspective of the K-State community.

“We both have graduated with our master’s and our bachelor’s (degrees) here so we have lots of ties to the university, and then we’ve lived here for about 30 years, so this is our home ever since we finished college,” Paula said. “I guess just keeping him in like our family area is really going to be nice that he’ll be close to us, and then also following where we’ve gone to school.”

Gabby Stein, senior in high school from Overland Park, Kansas, said she planned on studying computer science and engineering, while Emily Wollard, also a senior in high school from Overland Park, said she planned on studying elementary education with a minor in leadership studies.

Wollard said she attended Open House to see more of K-State and get a feel for it on a normal Saturday.

“They had all the events going on, so we thought it would be a good idea to come and see,” Wollard said.

Wollard said she and Stein arrived about midway through the event, so they checked out greek life first because they considered sorority life as one of the most immediately pressing decisions to make.

Stein said she is most looking forward to being exposed to a different environment, having to be more independent and having to manage a new schedule.

“That’d probably be for me, too,” Wollard said. “Like meeting new people and kind of getting away from home.”

Stein said she thought the biggest challenge might be to make sure she avoided taking on more than she could handle since she planned to get involved in a few different groups, but she said even that challenge seemed doable. Stein and Wollard both said they lived in the same place growing up. Wollard said the biggest challenge she anticipates is leaving home.

“Being away from home for the first time is kind of scary,” Wollard said. “I mean I’m ready to do it, but like at the same time, I know I’ll miss my family.”

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.