Kansas State University


Student Stories

Tag: Leadership

Love Your Melon


Meet Mackenzie, a junior majoring in Marketing and minoring in Leadership Studies at Kansas State University. Combing two of her passions, helping cancer patients and supporting the K-State family, she has helped introduce “Love Your Melon” to our campus. Not only does Mack have an incredible story to share, she represents that despite tragic events; hope, love and hard work will prevail. I’m proud of Mack for sharing her story and blessed to call her one of my best friends. -Cajsa

What is something that you are really passionate about? Maybe in your college career you are unsure of what that looks like for you at this point. As a junior, I am just discovering what that is. Before I graduate Kansas State University, I set a goal that I wanted to make a lasting impression and leave something behind at K-State that made it better than when I started here. Personally I am passionate about helping cancer patients, their families and those left behind because of cancer. I personally have been impacted and experienced loss because of cancer. My mom lost her battle to cancer in 2008 and ever since her diagnosis in 1997 I have looked for ways to continue working with people affected by cancer. One day while on Facebook I stumbled across an organization called Love Your Melon a nonprofit started by college students that sells hats, t-shirts and other gear. This grabbed my attention because it was started by students, which was very relatable to me. They have a buy one; give one philosophy so every hat they sell they donate one to a child going through chemotherapy and other cancer treatment. I was so energized by the whole mission of the organization and having a passion for non-profits this stood out to me. The more I looked into it I found that they had campus ambassador crews. Noticing that K-State didn’t have a crew I emailed the site looking to start a team. Luckily I was able to connect with some other women from K-State looking to get involved in the organization. We started in January of this year and are quickly approaching our goal of selling 100 hats at 95 right now! We are planning our first donation event to be able to bring the kids hats at Children’s Mercy in Overland Park. Once we reach 300, Love Your Melon will make a special KSU beanie. The reason I am so passionate about bringing this to K-State is because I have already seen amazing support from the community and I believe in K-State family. For me, losing my mom and moving away from home to come to college was a big challenge and it wouldn’t have gone as well without the wonderful people that make up the K-State family. KSU truly is my home away from home and I want to do what I can to make it better than when I started here. We all sincerely appreciate the support you have already shown.

If you are looking to get involved, follow us on social media at @KSULYMCREW on Instagram, @KSULYM_Crew on Twitter, and Kansas State University Love Your Melon Campus Crew on Facebook.

If you are interested in making a purchase, check out www.loveyourmelon.com. They will be releasing a new summer line soon!

Fighting Ever Fighting,


Dedicated to My Fellow Juniors #CreateYourLegacy

Junior year is a special year for us in college.
We’ve mastered the Wabash and can recite the K-state fight song in our sleep.
ISIS is a piece of cake. Adding classes, no problem.
We finally know our way around campus without looking at the online map.
We’ve established our favorite study place in Hale (if anyone beats you there, you become slightly unraveled).
No money in the bank, but you know you have that $10 of free printing.
But here’s the thing, as awesome as that is…
There are some weird feelings about being a Junior too.
We’re leaving K-state in not too long… Most of us are over half way done.
Now more than ever, I think it’s crucial to try to focus on why you came to K-state. You chose to be a part of this family for a reason. Spend any extra time that you have (I know it’s not that much, but the little time you do), creating a legacy. Utilize your energy and help the new generation create the experience you had. Focus on what made you fall in love with our campus in the first place, and do what you can to help it grow..
Yes, K-state is evolving and changing… just like we are.
With the time we have left, make the effort to keep going strong. Don’t phase out. This is our time to push even harder to make K-state a closer and greater family.
#CreateYourLegacy #EMAW

A year in the life

As the new year gently unravels, many tend to reflect upon the past 12 months as a way to bring closure and look ahead to what’s to come. As a self-proclaimed list aficionado, I find myself clicking on almost every “year-end” article shared on Facebook and take great interest in how others recap their year—whether through a list of favorite albums, movies, or even moments in pop culture.  As a college student, all of those things play a large part in my day-to-day life; but as you can probably assume, school plays the main role. In hopes of shedding some light on what a year in college actually looks like, I’m going to share with you a (somewhat Sparknotes) rendition of the most significant moments of my year at K-State:

THE ‘CATS: We kicked off the year by going to watch our beloved ‘Cats battle in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. Tons of students road trip down (even though the drive was more than 13 hours!) so it was a blast getting to cheer on our football team with thousands of members of the Family.  Additionally, attending games throughout the year is always a highlight and has created some of my fondest memories.

MAJORS AND MINORS: At the beginning of the year, I finally made the transition from a Marketing major to a Pre-Journalism and Mass Communications student. I begin taking classes in the JMC school in the spring and later applied and officially became an Advertising major in the fall. Although it took me a little longer to finally figure it out, I couldn’t be happier with my academic path and, at last, feel fully connected with my curriculum, fellow students, and faculty.

GREEK LIFE: After falling in love with our chapter’s national philanthropy as a underclassman, I decided to apply for Philanthropy Chair—and was lucky enough to get it! Our chapter has an event each semester, so I was in charge of coordinating both and getting the chapter excited. We helped raise over $6,500 for our national philanthropy, Make-A-Wish, and my position came to a close in December after a full year of hard work. (I also discovered that event planning is definitely NOT my forte.)

STUDENT GOVERNING ASSOCIATION: In late October of 2012, I began working for a team campaigning for Student Body President and Vice President. Campaign season is in full force during January and February, and closes in March. Working as a campaign manager was by far the most challenging, time-consuming leadership position I had ever taken on, but after winning the election and watching two close friends and incredible mentors take office, it quickly solidified my love for student government at K-State and paid off 110%.

In early spring, our organization hosts the K-State Proud campaign, which helps raise money for fellow K-State students who are struggling financially to keep them on campus. I then got to take on the position of Vice President of Membership, which means I basically get to plan fun socials and retreats for our group, along with new member recruitment, selections, and training. In late summer, we took a trip to New Orleans for a national conference where we got to present our organization’s practices and learn from dozens of other similar programs from universities across the nation.

EMPLOYMENT: I spent the year working for New Student Services in Anderson Hall and returned for my 2nd summer serving as a Wildcat Warm-up Counselor for Orientation and Enrollment. Over the course of the year, I was able to give several campus tours, sit on student panels, and help coordinate visits for all of the talented students interested in K-State. Nothing beats the challenge of recruiting the top students to K-State, and hopefully this post has helped express why I’m so passionate about it.

The point of this recap wasn’t to celebrate or show off the feats of my year; rather, to show you how many unbelievable opportunities there are to take advantage of at this university every single day. While I can easily express the things I did over the past year, I cannot even begin to express the personal development I’ve achieved through fully immersing myself in undergraduate life. At the end of the day (or year, I suppose), I owe every ounce of my growth and success to the relationships with the lifelong mentors, leaders, and friends that make this place the unique and special place I will forever call home—from 2013, to 2014, and forever and ever until I’m old and graduated and gray and blogs aren’t even cool anymore.  ‘Cats, man.

xoxo, ellen

Take LEAD 212!

Enrollment is right around the corner for students here at K-State. This is always a bitter sweet time for students, excited to work out their schedules but being at the mercy of tricky times and trying to get that ideal time of each class.

This time makes me reflect back upon the first time I enrolled as an incoming freshman 4 years ago. Boy does time fly! It was both scary and exciting all at the same time.

A question that many incoming freshman have is: What is the structure of classes in college? Answer: It varies, but K-State offers a really unique class that is targeted at freshman and helping them ask the “why” question behind leadership in their life.

This class is called Introduction to Leadership Concepts or “LEAD 212”. It is offered through the School of Leadership Studies here at K-State. This is one of the most beneficial classes that you can take as a freshman. This class put emphasis on asking the question, “Leadership for what?” I think this is a great question that freshman can ask themselves. The answer to that question will provide direction and guidance for students to determine what activities they choose to get involved in during college.

One of the coolest things about this is that the second half of the class is actually taught by a student in Leadership Studies! I have the opportunity to be one of these students, commonly referred to as a “Class Leader”. Students like me have the opportunity to share our understanding of leadership with 10-12 freshman in our small groups. The saying, “You really don’t know something until you have to teach it” really holds true to this opportunity. I have learned so much about myself during this process, as well as sharing my knowledge with my students.

As many of you are pondering where to go to college, I would encourage you to examine K-State and it’s School of Leadership Studies. K-State is committed to it’s students to not only have a great education in their specific field, but be able to be a leader in any field due to the skills and theories that Leadership Studies has to offer.

And it all starts with enrolling in this class! Check it out!


Have a good week! Go Cats!


Learning From Fellow Students

Much of what I’ve learned during my time at K-State has been from fellow students – some older, and some younger than myself. Last night, we elected new officers in my fraternity, and we’ll now be going through a week-long transition and training period for the new chapter leaders. As my year as President draws to a close, I’m reminded of the individuals within my fraternity and across campus who have and continue to serve as my mentors and have taught me some of the most important things I’ve learned at college. I believe this focus on mentoring relationships and learning from our peers sets K-State apart – much like our unique focus on student leadership that I’ve discussed before.

As a freshman, I was paired up with a senior mentor through Quest Freshman Honorary, and I learned a great deal – and had a lot of fun – hanging out with my mentor. As I continued to get involved at K-State, I was fortunate to form several other informal mentorship relationships as well. It’s comforting to know that I always have a few people I can go to for advice and guidance. College is stressful at times, not to mention that living on your own for the first time and making major decisions that affect your future are not always easy. As I’ve dealt with several of these factors, I often find myself wondering where I would be were it not for those at K-State who have taken the time to help me out.

On the flip side, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a mentor in my fraternity and a couple of other organizations on campus. It’s not only rewarding, but fun to apply many of the skills I’ve learned from my own mentors. K-State provides unique opportunities to be mentored and in turn, to mentor. College is so much more than the in-the-classroom experiences one will gain, and I feel confident saying that K-State strikes the perfect balance between enabling achievement as a student and development as a person.


Leadership Appreciation

Last night was Blue Key’s annual Leadership Appreciation Reception. The leaders and advisors of all student organizations at K-State are invited to the event, and after Mr. K-State himself (Dr. Pat Bosco, Vice President of Student Life) spoke, an award was given out for Advisor of the Year.

I’ve heard Dr. Bosco speak many times, but last night he made a few points that especially stood out to me. When he speaks with alumni of K-State, it’s often not the in-the-classroom, textbook learning they remember most about their time in Manhattan; no, it’s the knowledge they gained through student leadership experiences at K-State, outside-the-classroom involvement opportunities, and real-world experiences that they remember most.

So far during my time at K-State, I feel like many of the most beneficial concepts and skills I’ve gained have come because of organizations represented at the Leadership Appreciation Reception last night. What’s more, many of the individuals I’ve been most influenced by attended the Reception, and the reasons I love K-State were on full display: here, students are trusted with responsibilities and duties they aren’t offered elsewhere. If involvement is your thing or influencing your peers is a desire you have, K-State is the place to be. Leadership is appreciated across campus, and learning in the classroom is just the start.


Philanthropy: More Than a Word

Merriam-Webster defines “philanthropy” as “goodwill to members of the human race,” but to be honest, I had no idea what the word meant before I came to college. A few years later, I find my weekly schedule chocked full of various philanthropies, some campus-wide and others put on by individual Greek organizations. One thing ties all these events together–the proceeds go to various local and national charities working to assist individuals all around the world.

On Monday night, my fraternity held our biggest philanthropy event, a pancake feed called “Philanthrocakes.” This time, the proceeds went to SWIPE Out Hunger, a campaign each fall to raise money to send packaged meals to the starving and malnourished populations in northeast Africa. Through the event we were able to serve pancakes to hundreds of people and raise over $1200! Philanthrocakes is an example of an idea that started off small and through the years, has grown into something much larger–it’s now one of the biggest nights of the year for my fraternity.

Philanthropies aren’t just held by Greek organizations though–K-State’s largest philanthropy, K-State PROUD, is put on each year by a group called Student Foundation. This year, my friend Kyle Reynolds (blogs.k-state.edu/kyle) is serving as one of the co-chairs of the campaign, and he’s already busy getting the word out about the philanthropy this year. The idea behind PROUD is simple: students donate money, receive a free t-shirt, and the proceeds go toward Student Opportunity Awards to assist students at K-State who are struggling financially. It’s the ultimate example of students helping students.

What’s the bottom line? The philanthropic spirit dominates K-State. We’re committed to helping people, whether they’re a fellow student in Manhattan or half a world away in Africa. Philanthropies bring K-State students together, are a lot of fun, and provide leadership and service experience for all those involved. I’m convinced that this spirit of giving is what sets K-State apart from other schools and makes us unique–that much is evident from a simple visit to campus!


Chocolate for Breakfast

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down for breakfast with 7 of my fraternity brothers  and be joined by the CEO of The Hershey Company. Hold on, did that really happen? It was quite the experience.

John P. Bilbrey visited campus for his Distinguished Alumni Lecture with the College of Business. When he was here for the day, he took the time to eat breakfast with us because he is an alumnus of our Fraternity.

The breakfast conversation varied from what we wanted to do with our lives to the Fraternity to leadership tips. He was a wealth of knowledge and the opportunity to sit down and hear about his theory on leadership was interesting. It was an experience I will never forget and one I am very thankful I was a part of.

I am amazed by the experiences, just like this, I have been able to have at K-State. I don’t know how I stumbled in a position to sit down and eat with the CEO of The Hershey Company, but I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

It is encouraging to see K-Staters doing such great things. It encourages me for my future.  Members of the K-State family are willing to offer tips and advice to other members of the “family.” Alumni are still very much a part of my K-State family and I appreciate all they have done for me!