Old PSU stadium seats will be given new life

PITTSBURG, Kans. — A local sustainability effort will keep thousands of pounds of plastic out of landfills.

Close to 2,000 old, heavy plastic stadium seats from Carnie Smith Stadium will soon be recycled to make new products. Employees with Pitt State’s Recycling Services loaded them up today.

They’re being shipped to a recycling company in Missouri. Once they’re grounded up, they’ll be shipped to a crate and container company in Desoto, Kansas.

“We don’t like things going to the landfill, so we tried to utilize our resources and that includes laboratories, students– we needed a lot of labor to repack these parts and sort them so it was kind of a neat project and we brought a lot of things together to make it happen,” said Paul Herring, PSU Professor of Plastics Engineering.

The seats were removed from the stadium last summer and replaced with new ones.


PSU social work students showcase semester research

PITTSBURG, Kans. — A handful of community-based projects were on display Wednesday at Pittsburg State.

The first floor of Russ Hall is where the works of nine social work majors were set up. Each showcased the results of each student’s research over the semester. Some of the projects focused on ways to better assist veterans, homeless individuals, the Gorilla Food Pantry on campus, and international students

“I feel like there’s some populations that don’t have representation, because there’s so many people that need assistance, and so some populations and some communities don’t have that assistance and that representation. And so because of that, if a student comes up with a population they want to help, that no one else has ever thought of helping, we’re reaching out more to other members of the community. So I think this makes a really big impact not only to us as students, but to the members of the community,” said Nyasha Makunike, PSU Senior.

The semester is almost over for students. Finals are next week.

Commencement ceremonies will take place next Friday and Saturday.


"Toy Car" for children with movement disabilities

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Some Mechanical Engineering students at Pittsburg State have spent the past year working on a toy car for children with movement disabilities. On Friday, the Pittsburg community got its first look at the prototype.

“These kids kind of need something kid-ish, toy-ish to kind of excite their mind. Which this is something that would take two or three years to refine, so we’re on a short deadline.” Christian Schultz, PSU Mechanical Engineering Senior.

On Friday students from across the Mechanical Engineering Department at Pittsburg State University presented their senior projects to the Industrial Advisory Committee. Five of those students were approached by the non-profit “Geeks For Kids.”

“They build mobility vehicles for children with movement disabilities. They originally had been using an off- the-shelf vehicle, but there’s a possible discontinuation, so they tasked us, Pitt State undergrad team to design a chassis and power train for them,” said Shultz. “We kind of based our design off a small lunar rover but we adapted it to hopefully fit a kid.

Over the past year, schultz and his team have created this toy car prototype.

The new design hopes to help the non-profit cut down the costs many families face.

“Wheelchairs that you buy off the shelf are extremely expensive, probably starting at a base cost of $3,000 going up to anywhere towards 10,000 to $20,000, so there’s a lot of kids out there who are living in hospitals or living in homes with movement disabilities, who their parents can’t afford a wheelchair,” he added.

The team’s work isn’t done. They will present the prototype at a Geeks For Kids event in Kansas City in the beginning of June.

“They’ll refine our design, switch some materials. They’re looking at taking our design and they’re going to send it to a weld shop and a few other places and see how easy they can fabricate it. They actually are planning on donating this to a kid,” said Shultz “They need that to learn their environment and grow in their environment.”


PSU offers dual MBA degree program

PITTSBURG, Kans. — What’s better than having one Master’s of Business Administration?
Two of them.

Students from P.S.U. and those from two schools in France and Taiwan are now able to pick up dual MBA degrees — thanks to a new agreement. Students in the program divide up their studies and complete one year at their home school, then complete their last year at the other and receive one degree from each.

Dr. Bienvenido Cortes says the program is ideal for students from one country wanting to find work abroad, especially if they can pick up the language.

“And and the schools provide that language instruction then again as an American student looking for a job in Europe, having a bilingual background provides them another competitive edge,” said Dr. Cortes, P.S.U. Assoc. Dean & MBA Dir.

Cortes says more foreign students have taken advantage of the opportunity to study abroad than P.S.U. students have, but he hopes that will eventually even out.


PSU offers new Social Media Certificate

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Thanks to a new certification, students at an area university will have a leg up on the competition when it comes to the job search.

There are many options for college graduates going into the field of communications. Regardless of what area they specialize in, it’s no longer a question of if they’ll need to know how to use social media, it’s a question of how much.

“You know social media used to be thought of as kind of an add on and now it’s a fundamental skill for any communications work, right. It doesn’t matter what if you’re going into media or another form of communication, like all of our students need to be prepared to operate effectively, communicate effectively socially yeah,” said Dr. Ken Ward, PSU Communications Department.

To make them more proficient in the social media arena, PSU Communications majors like Brooklyn Peterson have the option to take an all-encompassing class and receive a professional social and digital media certification. Brooklyn peterson says she’s been using social media much of her life, but even she learned a lot from the course.

“Like it goes into like every little detail of social media and how it works and how like you can pull data to advertise to certain people and different advertisements to appeal to certain people and age groups and stuff like that. It definitely teaches you a lot,” said Peterson.

Ward says PSU students become even more valuable for companies that are used to having to teach social media skills to new hires.

“It shows employers that our students have certification to right away start working in ways they need them in their field,” said Ward.

A total of 11 students graduating this spring took the optional certification class, and Peterson highly recommends other communications students do the same thing.

“One class but it’s multiple certifications and verifications so you have verifications for like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and then certifications are digital advertising, social media marketing and there are a couple others,” Peterson said.


PSU National Steel Competition Winner

PITTSBURG, Kans. — For the second year in a row, an area university student out performs peers from major universities not just in a heavy metal competition. But it doesn’t have anything to do with music.

Last year, Austin Jacks was part of a team of students from Pittsburg State that won first place in a steel casting competition where they made this steel version of Thor’s hammer.
This year, he finished in third place, all by himself, in the third annual “Cast In Steel” competition in Columbus, Ohio.

“There’s a lot of challenges and a lot of thought process and actually engineering that goes into a contest like this and it was a good way of challenging students and giving then hands on experience to test what they’ve learned and actually compete in kind of a friendly but still competitive environment, I had a lot of fun with it,” said Austin Jacks, PSU Senior.

He made this celtic leaf sword based on religious and mythological ornamentation. But one of his instructors isn’t surprised in the least when it comes to his student’s success.

“And the judges are wondering where his team is and he said well it’s just me and they were kind of surprised that he produced this fantastic sword and it’s just you. One of the judges was so impressed he called him out during the awards ceremony and said where all of you had teams of four or five, he had a team of one,” said Russ Rosmait, PSU Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

Rosmait says his student beat out entire teams from Texas A&M and Cal Poly to name a few.

“Those are big, extremely funded schools with huge teams of engineering students and we can compete with them,” added Rosmait.

And in Jack’s case, can beat them.


"T-R-Iffic Day of Play" held at PSU after two year hiatus

PITTSBURG, Kans. — After two years of not being able to hold the annual event, PSU was successful in hosting their “T-R-iffic Day of Play,” at the Plaster Center on Wednesday.

The “T-R-iffic Day of Play” event was established 5 years ago, by PSU students majoring in recreational therapy. On Wednesday, students guided those participating through many different activities, all designed to provide therapeutic qualities.

“I know a lot of people that struggle with different disabilities and things. They don’t always have events that are just put on, specifically, just for them. So, this is a day that they can have to have fun and be around people that are just like them and they kind of feel a sense of, you know, just like, they can just have fun and just not worry about anything. So I think that that’s the really important thing for this day,” said Libby Vanrheen, Graduate Student. “Also like the other therapeutic aspects that all of the games provide, but just being able to just have fun and not have to worry about anything and just have a day specifically made for them.”

“The different events we have here today include face-painting, bocce ball, volleyball, different types of board games such as bingo, a fishing game. We have bowling, we have a photo booth with fun little props. We also have sensory stations, craft stations, so a little bit of everything,” added Laura Covert Miller, PSU Associate Professor.

More than 100 K-12 students and adults came from all over Southeast Kansas to participate.

Teachers who have brought students in the past say events like this one pose many benefits for their students.

“Well, it helps them get stimulated. It helps them also socialize, because a lot of times the students are isolated, and they get out here and they get to meet people and talk. And they get to have a lot of fun, I’m enjoying watching them,” said Walter Simpson, Para-educator, Pittsburg High School.

Event organizers also partnered with Special Olympics Kansas to offer free dental screenings for those participating, through the Special Smiles Program.

“The Special Smiles program is part of the Healthy Athletes program for Special Olympics Kansas, and athletes can come in and get a dental exam for free. And they can be checked by professionals that have been specifically trained on individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, for specific dental needs that they may have. And then once they get checked, they can be referred to a dental provider here in the area as well,” said Erin Fletcher, Director of Grants and Developments for SEK Special Olympics


Pitt State Axe Library renovation is completed

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Pittsburg State University celebrated the completion of a multi-year renovation of the Axe Library on Tuesday (4/26).

Construction on the library started back in May of 2016 and all renovation-projects finished with a total price tag of $6 million.

Over the six-years of changes, the library added new study rooms, bathrooms, a new east entrance, and a new roof. Representatives at Pittsburg State say the ideas for these changes were really a team effort from the entire campus.

“In 2014-2015, we did a lot of surveys and focus groups with students facuilty and staff. And so, alot of the changes that we have are a reflection of the things they said they would like to see made to the library building,” said Randy Roberts, Dean of Library Services.

“Like a big thing I looked at personally whenever I was looking at where I wanted to end up was kinda where I could see myself studying cause I knew that would be eating a lot of my time of the week,” said Isaac Lewis, Pittsburg State Senior.

Roberts also said the Axe Library has more books than ever when you include their online catalog.


"No Space Like Home" PSU alumni art showcased at Porter Hall

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Pitt State graduates continue to have their art work displayed at the University.

The latest exhibit at Porter Hall is called, “No Space Like Home.” John Cohorst and Holly Kranker’s work in ceramics explores both the humor in outerspace and personal memories of home. It’s the culmination of a year highlighting alumni art — which has been a focus during the pandemic.

“We’ve had a total of eight alums show this year in the department, partially because of COVID and other artists dropping out, not wanting to travel early in the year and different things like that, so we leveraged that opportunity and reached out to alums that we knew were making really quality work and have been highlighting them all year,” said James Oliver, PSU Department of Art Chair.

The artwork of 6 PSU seniors is being shown in Porter Hall, as well.

An artists’ reception will be held tomorrow from 4 to 6.

Cohorst and Kranker will have a reception next Thursday from 5 to 7.


Gorilla Pantry filled with donations from competition

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Pitt State students who aren’t food insecure are helping out the ones who are.

Fraternities and sororities on campus recently held a competition to see which one could collect the most amount of food.

Eva Sager with Campus Activities says what they received came at just the right time — because shelves inside the Gorilla Pantry were getting empty.

“Our fraternity and sorority life community collected over 2,000 items as part of a competition during Greek Games,” said Eva Sager, Campus Activities Associate Director

Sager says any student, staff, or faculty member who needs food is welcome to come in and get what they need. She says the demand has increased a lot recently — which she attributes to rising student population and the ever increasing cost of food.