Faster wifi, slower pace during K-State winter break

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Snow falls in Aggieville on Jan. 5, 2016. (File Photo by Austin Fuller | The Collegian)

If you’re looking for fast on-campus wifi, a slower pace of life and shorter lines in the grocery store, winter break is the time to live in Manhattan when 23,799 Kansas State students — equivalent to nearly half of Manhattan’s 52,281 population — are free to go home for the holidays.

Penny Billington, who has lived in Manhattan for over 50 years, said she would not change the college-town environment for anything, but she does appreciate the quiet breaks.

“During the school year the town is always just popping and crowded and busy,” Billington said. “During the breaks it’s just quiet. It’s more of a slow pace and it’s not busy and you know there’s no line in the grocery store and you can go the restaurants in Aggieville and get right in opposed to having to wait if you go down during the school year.”

Linda Mays, Aggieville Business Association executive director, said winter break is a time where the town gets to experience an Aggieville crowd change, but the K-State and Manhattan atmosphere do not noticeably change when students are home for break.

“With the students being gone, we see the crowd change a little bit to more of an older crowd and they’ll hang out in Aggieville a little bit, but other than that not much changes down here,” Mays said. “I would say it’s a little bit slower, but the environment is still about the same.”

As for businesses outside of Aggieville, Michael Goens, communications coordinator of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber would not be able to comment on how the absence of students affects businesses over winter break.

“As break falls when holiday sales increase, businesses may only see a very marginal difference,” Goens said.

Billington said she immediately notices when students are gone for the holidays because of the slower pace in town.

“I think it’s pretty unique — a different kind of vibe,” Billington said. “During the breaks you go back into your more quiet way of life, not as fast-paced of a town as you do when students are here. Like, I have a friend who lives in Topeka and I had said, ‘Oh you know, the students will be back.’ She looked at me like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So unless you’ve lived here, it’s hard to explain without having experienced it.”

On-campus changes

For Hale Library and the K-State Student Union, winter break can get a little bit lonely.

On the upside, there is nobody around to hog the wifi or take up your lunch break because of long lines.

Jason Coleman, head of Library User Services, said the gate count significantly drops from about 5,000 people per day when school is in session to a couple hundred over winter break.

“It’s a lot, lot, lot different,” Coleman said. “It’s actually a bit different with what people tend to do. People with research projects actually tend to wait until breaks because they know they’ll have a lot more time and won’t have to worry about parking as much and they know they can get specialized assistance if they need it.”

It’s easy to understand, Coleman said, because of the faster services that are available during winter break.

“Knock on wood, there’s always a computer available,” Coleman said.

In the Union, Audrey Taggart-Kagdis, assistant director of the Union’s marketing and community relations, said the traffic counts go down during the breaks, but they still keep most of their services open.

“The atmosphere is just completely different when the students are not here,” Taggart-Kagdis said. “We’re just super excited to have all our students back and for them to see how we’re progressing with all the renovations and have everything available for them to utilize when they get here.”

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Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!