Keeping Salina Warm: Kansas State Polytechnic social work students create homelessness simulation, fundraiser for senior project

By Julee Cobb

When seven seniors in the social work degree option on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus decided to gather warm clothing for three local agencies, they had hoped to receive 100 winter coat donations. After only 30 minutes of their seven-hour-long collection drive, the students surpassed their goal and even amassed boxes and bags filled with scarves, gloves and hats.

The fundraiser was a part of the seniors’ final project in Social Work Macro Practice and Theory, a class focused on promoting change within a community, rather than an individual. The students – Stacy Crumble, Gina Nelson-Fishel, Lexi Gasper, Hali Norris, Katrina Ramirez, Maritza Rodriguez and Tammy Trepoy – wanted to use their project to shine a light on the local homeless population and decided to create an event that would be both philanthropic and educational.

Seven seniors in the social work degree option on the Polytechnic Campus created Keeping Salina Warm – an event designed to educate the public about homelessness. The students include Stacy Crumble, Gina Nelson-Fishel, Lexi Gasper, Hali Norris, Katrina Ramirez, Maritza Rodriguez (not pictured) and Tammy Trepoy.


From 5 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 1, the social work students held Keeping Salina Warm, which encouraged attendees to donate winter clothing items while learning about homelessness. Participants experienced what it would be like to be without adequate shelter on a cold night through a simulation held outside the Student Life Center on campus with tents and cardboard boxes. Dinner also was served in the style of a soup kitchen and representatives of the Salina Rescue Mission, Ashby House and Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas talked with guests about their experiences with and services for people who need help getting back on their feet.

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Kansas State Polytechnic offers training courses for social workers, other helping professionals in Salina, Manhattan and Hays

By Julee Cobb

Debra Marseline, center, social work practicum director and program coordinator at Kansas State Polytechnic, will be teaching the Working with Loss and Grief course on Oct. 13.

From self-care to working through grief, a trio of training courses for professionals in helping fields, such as social workers, therapists and psychologists, are being offered by the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in three different Kansas cities in the coming months.

The courses, designed to provide comprehensive curriculum, including new trends in industry and refresher information, are primarily for professionals who need to obtain continuing education units, or CEUs, though anyone from the community is welcome to attend. Starting in July and running through October, Kansas State Polytechnic is holding three courses and expanding its location from only one campus in Salina to both east and west in Manhattan and Hays. The course topics include Seven Steps to Fabulous Grant Writing, Self-care is Ethical Practice, and Working with Loss and Grief. All are approved by the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.

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Good as gold: K-State Salina’s journey of 50 revolutionary years

By: Julee Cobb

The year was 1965. “The Sound of Music” was released in theaters and shows like “Green Acres” and “I Dream of Jeannie” ruled on television. The average price of gas was 13 cents a gallon and a new car cost around $2,600. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama – a demonstration that later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

In Salina, change was afoot on the Schilling Air Force Base on Centennial Road. It was announced the previous year that 150 military installations would close across the country. At the same time, Henry Neely and Thomas Creech, both faculty members at Kansas State University, had been tasked with designing a degree program for a potential engineering technology college. With Schilling Air Force Base shutting down, Neely and Creech met with base commander Col. Mike Scanlan about using some of their facilities and equipment.

K-State Salina is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their campus in 2015.

K-State Salina is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its campus in 2015.

Much to Neely and Creech’s surprise, the Kansas Legislature approved of their plans and officially established Schilling Institute on the base property on April 26, 1965 after the passage of House Bill 1101. The college would offer two-year degree programs in electronic engineering technology, detail design technology, civil engineering technology and aeronautical technology. Neely was appointed the president of Schilling Institute and Creech was named director of academic affairs.

Once the base was officially vacated in the summer of 1966, Neely and Creech, along with the other hired faculty and staff, moved onto the campus and started making the buildings and barracks suitable for students. They acted as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painters as there was no extra money available to hire any tradesmen to complete the necessary work. Students arrived for classes in the fall and an additional program, computer science technology, was created – the first of its kind in the state. In 1968, Schilling Institute graduated its first 10 students.

The next year, the college was placed under the control of the State Board of Education and changed its name to Kansas Technical Institute, or KTI. Creech was selected as the campus’s third president in 1976 and during KTI’s reign, seven more degree programs were added. Students even picked the peacock as an unofficial mascot for the school, frequently appearing in the campus newspaper and yearbook.

In 1988, the property on Centennial Road would see another name change, to Kansas College of Technology. By this time, there were around 800 students enrolled and 11 programs led to an Associate of Technology degree. Kansas College of Technology, or KCT, also offered an Associate of Applied Science and an aviation maintenance certificate program.

In a full circle moment – as two K-State faculty were instrumental in founding the first institution on the grounds – KCT merged with Kansas State University in 1991 and became its ninth college, the College of Technology and Aviation. K-State Salina upgraded many of the previous two-year degrees to bachelor’s degrees. Most recently, it has added an unmanned aircraft systems program as well as family studies and human services, personal financial planning and social work. The landscape of the campus has also evolved, with the building of two residence halls, the College Center, the Student Life Center and a renovated Welcome Center.

Now the year is 2015, and popular comedic series aren’t just watched on television anymore. There are cell phones that are really smart phones, allowing access to the Internet and streaming music and social media. Movies are seen in theaters with 3D glasses and the price of gas continues to fluctuate between $2 and $3. Agreeably, times have dramatically changed since that day in 1965 when Schilling Institute was born. The students on campus now bleed purple, but K-State Salina wouldn’t be what it is today without the three colleges that came before.

K-State Salina is honoring the 50 years of those four educational institutions with a golden anniversary. If you would like to participate in the celebration, click here for the listed signature events that run April through September.

K-State Salina social work program offers educational conference on Kansas death penalty

By: Julee Cobb

An educational conference about capital punishment will be offered at Kansas State University Salina to find out more about both sides of the widely debated issue.

The Salina Regional Abolition Conference will be 3:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21. Two sessions, both open to the public, will be offered. Session one, beginning at 3:30 p.m., will feature the daughter of a murder victim and experts on the issue of capital punishment. It will be in rooms 108 and 169 of the Technology Center. Session two, starting at 6:30 p.m., will highlight a Missouri exoneree who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This session will be in the College Center conference room.

The conference is sponsored by the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which is a not-for-profit corporation that formed in 1989 by a group opposed to reinstating the death penalty in Kansas, and the social work program at K-State Salina.

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Presley named Social Worker of the Year

SALINA — Margaret Presley, instructor of social work at Kansas State University Salina, has been named the 2012 Social Worker of the Year by the Smoky Hill Association of Social Workers.

To be eligible for the award, the nominee must be currently providing professional social work services in Central Kansas. Nominations can recognize ongoing professional excellence, highly competent practice under difficult or unusual circumstances, outstanding contributions to policy and practice, and service “above and beyond” the normal expectations of one’s position. Continue reading