This transfer student is making waves fighting student issues at K-State

Jonathan Cole, fifth-year senior in mechanical engineering and student senator, transferred to K-State from Butler Community College and has been active in KSU's student government. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Coming from a purple family, Jonathan Cole, fifth-year senior in mechanical engineering and student senator, is nothing short of a passionate and driven member of the Kansas State family.

Cole comes from a line of K-State alumni, which includes his grandfather — who played football for K-State — and his mother, who attended for a couple of years.

Cole first attended Butler Community College and graduated from Butler in 2016. Cole, who wanted to try something new while at Butler and had always been interested in politics, decided to join student government while he was in community college. At Butler, he was treasurer in his first year and would go on to run for student body president. He lost by eight points, but became vice president.

After graduating from Butler, Cole decided he wanted to continue his education at another institution and toured a few campuses, but ultimately chose K-State because he said he felt at home when he stepped foot onto the campus. He began attending K-State in August 2016 and said he has loved it every day since.

Once at K-State, Cole decided that he wanted to continue his journey in student government and joined the Student Governing Association, bringing his passion of helping others to his new institution.

During his time here, he has helped various people on campus through his work as a Real Change Fellow for RESULT, addressing poverty that stems from oppression. He has also been working with U.S. Congress members to learn more about the process the officials use to make change and how to utilize his voice to help others.

Cole said his experiences with government systems has allowed him to have a hand in creating programs for students on campus. He said he worked with KSUnite and started conversations about the planned Multicultural Student Center. He is also passionate about mobilizing student voters, he said.

Outside of K-State, Cole said he has been advocating to help people across the board, working with Sen. Pat Roberts, Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Roger Marshall to oppose the new guidelines for Public Charge, which previously prevented temporary residents of the United States from being granted citizenship if they receive cash assistance.

The new rule would prevent recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and similar programs from receiving citizenship, which could negatively impact K-State students.

Cole said he sees K-State as home, which means the people around him feel like family. He said he wants others to have the opportunity to experience what he has been able to experience at K-State.

Cole said he plans to continue advocating for faculty and staff at Kansas State as well as for both current and future Wildcats by continuing with SGA and by working with elected officials on issues that he feels are important.

“I know how at home I feel at K-State and I know how great K-State is overall, and I also realize that others don’t have the opportunity to see that or they can’t see it,” Cole said. “I want to make those opportunities available to others through my influence as a student senator.”