Kansas State University


The Loop

Fostering Leadership for Life: HandsOn Kansas State

Photo from Furniture Amnesty Day

In 2006, K-State’s office of Community Service Programs formally merged with Leadership Studies and Programs and later became part of the Staley School of Leadership Studies as the program now known as “HandsOn Kansas State.”

HandsOn Kansas State strives to develop socially responsible citizens that are knowledgeably equipped for active participation in the community through a listserv that connects student volunteers with opportunities to serve the Manhattan community, helping coordinate new service opportunities as needs arise, and hosting annual Days of Service to heighten civic awareness and participation.

Through partnerships with the Manhattan community, students have the opportunity to get involved beyond the K-State campus. We want to provide students with the connections they need to put the knowledge they learn in the classroom into practice.

Learn more the work of HandsOn Kansas State below:

Throughout the year, HandsOn Kansas State partners with Harvesters Community Food Network to host a mobile food distribution events that offer fresh produce at no cost to K-State students, faculty, and staff, as well as Manhattan community members. Last year, HandsOn Kansas State served over 1,000 participants each semester through the mobile food distributions. The Mobile Food Pantry has been available as part of the annual 9/11 Day of Service, the Everybody Counts community event, and at other dates throughout the school year.


The main service event for the spring semester falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During this Day of Service, the program organizes several volunteer sites throughout the community.

HandsOn Kansas State also serves as the umbrella organization for Manhattan Good Neighbors (MGN) and Academic Mentoring.

Manhattan Good Neighbors focuses on building positive relationships between college students and permanent residents in Manhattan. MGN coordinates community-wide projects each year, including a Clean Up event following the Fake Patty’s Day celebration, which involved 45 volunteers who helped clean up 30 streets in the Aggieville district this past spring.

Their biggest initiative, Furniture Amnesty Day, takes place in July in partnership with the Konza United Way, City of Manhattan, and the Riley County Police Department. Together these organizations encourage the community to properly dispose of furniture by recycling, reusing, and repurposing furniture—keeping it out of the landfill and giving it to those who need it.

reading with mentorsAcademic Mentoring stems from the need for extra help in Manhattan’s local schools. The program selects, trains, and places K-State students in school and community-based classrooms and programs that promote and support family literacy efforts and youth development. The students serve as tutors and mentors to elementary and middle school children. Academic Mentors serve throughout the Greater Manhattan area, including the cities of Ogden, Wamego, and St. George.


Like many of the Staley School’s programs, the initiatives of HandsOn Kansas State are coordinated by students. The role of a student coordinator can be a powerful learning experience for students interested in working with nonprofits or preparing for a service-enriched life. Opportunities like these provide students with practical work experiences that can be applied to their life and leadership after graduation.

Supporting HandsOn Kansas State

Continuing this valued contribution to the future of our community, and expanding opportunities to serve more students and more communities, requires sustainable funding. Whether providing materials and transportation for our teams of student volunteers or the operational funding required to serve as the university’s resource for community engagement and service-learning, your support of the “Leadership for Life” Fund makes a difference in the K-State community and to the leaders of tomorrow.

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