Kansas State formally renewed its partnership with the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley Wednesday evening, April 7, inside Anderson Hall. President Richard Myers and Fort Riley Maj. Gen. DA Sims signed the agreement, refreshing the 12-year university-to-military community partnership.
This renewal will focus on and support the 1st Infantry Division’s Victory Wellness Program and the Big Red One Year of Honor professional development program, among other efforts.
Sims said the 1st Infantry Division is working hard on the Victory Wellness for the people, the soldiers, the civilians and family members.
“We’re working across the five dimensions of strength … emotional, physical, social, spiritual and family,” Sims said. “Every one of those dimensions of strength is enhanced by this partnership. It’s not possible to think one of those five where we don’t have a connection back to Kansas State.”
With the continued partnership, K-State will expand its academic public service student internships with Fort Riley’s Garrison activities and will assist in many human services offered to local military.
Since Fort Riley’s establishment in 1852, there has been a connection between the two institutions, Sims said.
“[K-State has] been providing a great deal of support in all sorts of ways — academic and otherwise — to the United States Army in Fort Riley ever since then,” Sims said. “So, to be able today to reaffirm our connection to one another is a huge deal for us.”
The central aim of this public-to-public partnership is to mutually support each institution’s unique missions through collaboration and intellectual and cultural sharing.
“This is about a true partnership where we find places where we can add value to the other’s mission, and we go help with that,” Myers said. “Service is a big part of [the land grant mission], and this is a part of our mission to serve, and to be able to do it with a community partner is so important for our nation and so important to our community.”
One objective Fort Riley is working towards is normalizing counseling, Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, director of public affairs for the First Infantry Division said.
“The analogy we use is, ‘Everyone goes to the dentist, so if you come back and say, “Well, I was at the dentist,” no one thinks twice. But, if someone comes back and says, ‘Well, I was at a counseling appointment,’ well, no one thinks twice because we all have to go, too,” Kelley said.
This program is changing the paradigm of how soldiers receive counseling services, Kelley said. K-State played a major influence on getting this program going.