Kedziepalooza welcomes students back for another year in journalism

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Kedziepalooza took place in the courtyard of Kedzie Hall in Manhattan, Kan. on Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo by Justin Wright | Collegian Media Group)

Members of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism & Mass Communications welcomed new and returning JMC students to the sixth annual Kedziepalooza Tuesday with the help of sponsors Buffalo Wild Wings and Varsity Donuts.

Since it first started in 2012, the event has “grown every year,” Sarah Howe, JMC academic advisor, said.

In 2012, Louise Benjamin, the school’s interim director at the time, saw other colleges around K-State welcoming students in similar fashions and saw a need to welcome back JMC students for the new year.

Current interim director Jean Folkerts said she had that same mindset, expressing that her goal for Kedziepalooza is to make freshmen feel welcome.

“We want to make them understand that we are a family at Kedzie, and that we value every student that walks through our door,” Folkerts said.

Savanna Rattanavong, senior in print media, said she encourages new students to get involved as much as possible, as she has her hand in programs and organizations throughout the school.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get some experience,” Rattanavong said. “Join a staff of any kind. We have the Royal Purple Yearbook, the Collegian and now the Manhappenin’ Magazine.”

Janelle Frasier and Baylee Flood, freshmen in pre-journalism and mass communications, were two of the many students in attendance for the annual event. Both Frasier and Flood said the event turned out much better than what they were initially expecting.

“The event is a lot smaller, and I got to connect with people more than I thought I would,” Flood said.

That’s exactly what the JMC Ambassadors and advisors had in mind when they began planning the event last semester. The event is packed with every organization from the department to encourage student involvement.

Kristen Egger, senior in mass communications and president of the JMC Ambassadors, said Kedziepalooza provides an opportunity to see what journalism and mass communications has to offer its students.

Folkerts said that a new news series will partner with successful alumni who will tell students the stories of how they landed their careers. Susan Edgerley, K-State alumna and former editor at the New York Times, is heading this new program and has already lined up several alumni to speak in the series.

Fundraising for next year’s Kedziepalooza will start immediately to help provide more free food and prizes, as well as to keep improving the Kedziepalooza experience.

Folkerts closed Kedziepalooza with a message for the students of the A.Q. Miller School:

“We think communication is one of the most important functions in our democracy,” Folkerts said. “We hope that every student learns that and has a really successful career here.”

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