K-State 360 will be unavailable for 2020-2021 academic year due to budget, COVID-19 concerns

Students gather around the Union Courtyard for the Silent Disco, wearing headphones that are synced to the same station on Oct 11, 2019. Events like these might not be possible as social distancing requirements have put off several gatherings. That fact leaves the long term fate of K-State360 up in the air. (File Photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

The Center for Student Involvement will temporarily discontinue K-State 360 due to budget troubles and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was designed to emphasize the importance of outside involvement in co-curricular activities and help students better prepare themselves in applying for jobs post-graduation. Students could track their progress through attending activities that were placed in a series of categories with the intention of guiding students through their college experience to become well-rounded with a developed skill set.

“For this year, there won’t be any program that will replace it,” Kelli Farris, executive director of Center for Student Involvement, said. “Our team is starting the process of looking to see what the program may look like in the future, and we hope to bring the program back or something similar that has a similar purpose back to campus for the 2021-2022 school year, but for the 2020-2021 school year, it will not exist.”

Along with budget challenges, Farris said the uncertainty of how the novel coronavirus pandemic will affect the fall semester played a major role in the decision to temporarily discontinue K-State 360.

“We just don’t know what the fall semester or really all of this coming year will look like, and so much of the program as it is is based on event attendance and participation, and those events may not be happening and so it would be tough to still fund a program, still run a program if students can’t really engage with it anyway given the circumstances,” she said.

As for the future of K-State 360, Farris said her team and her are already discussing what the program may look like when it returns.

“Our team had a meeting this morning and we started to throw around some ideas,” she said. “We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, but we are going to work with some of our partners in different units to look at a few different options and to see what direction they think may be best moving ahead. We’ll include some students in those conversations too, so if students are interested in participating in what this would look like in the future, having them reach out to our staff would be super helpful.”

Although the types of campus events that will be permitted during the fall semester remains undetermined, Farris urges students to remain as involved as they can.

“I certainly would still encourage students to participate in events and activities,” she said. “Definitely keep an eye on the university calendar more closely because that will be a direction that a lot of events and opportunities will be posted to. Our CSI update will go out weekly and that will include some of the student organization focused events and opportunities, so for any of our students who are involved in student organizations, that would be a great direction to search.”

Even though this isn’t the end for K-State 360, Farris said she wants to thank everyone who made the program possible.

“I think I would add an appreciation, a thank you to all of the partners within the university that have really supported the program for the last several years,” she said. “The program existed because of SGA, and so I think it’s important for students to know that, and it’s important for students to know that it’s not going to disappear forever. It will come back in some way, shape or form, and students who participated in the program before will hopefully find great purpose and usefulness out of what it will look like in the future. We definitely appreciate the support from those students who were really engaged in the past, as well as our campus partners. We’ll look forward to having them on board soon.”