20-year Centennial Bell ringing continues for PSU graduates

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A tradition that began at PSU more than 20 years ago also continued. Since 2000, Pittsburg State grads, faculty, and alumni ring in some of their most important days with the University’s “Centennial Bell.”

“They actually receive a commemorative bell when they do it, so that they have that as a memento in memory of that, and of course we want their parents to take their picture or their families and take a video and tag us when they post it to their social media because we love seeing that and we hear the bell and we know it means new students are here,” said Heather Eckstein, Asst. Vice President, Student Success.

It’s all thanks to the classes of 1993 through 1996 who fundraised to put the tower in place – right between the Axe Library and the Carnie Smith Stadium. And each year, it symbolizes success for those reaching important milestones.

“It’s a recognition of an accomplishment. Students have access to come over here and ring it, but that’s actually what I think a really cool thing that we put in place in 2019 is that when our Freshman classes come in the summer to enroll, what we do is they get to ring it for the first time. So at the end of what we call our Cares Session, in June, they’ll come over here and ring it and then they’ll know when they, it’ll be the other bookend, they’ll come back when they graduate and get to ring it again,” said Dr. Howard Smith, Vice President, Academic Affairs.

Friday is graduation day for hundreds of PSU students who rang the bell, marking the special occasion.

“It was really cool to do because you know, I said I was a COVID grad so I didn’t get to do that in 2020. I remember doing it my Freshman year, we did it in the Freshmen Orientation Class. You know, they marched everyone around. So, getting to finally do it after 6 years later is like, ‘Woo hoo, I finally got to ring the bell at Pitt State!,” said Hanna Tasin, PSU Graduate ’22.

PSU concert tradition returns after pandemic hiatus

PITTSBURG, Kans. — A holiday music tradition continues on the campus of Pittsburg State University. The annual Timmons Holiday Music Concert is back and in person for the first time in two years. The event brings together some of the best musicians in southeast Kansas and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Joanne Britz, a music professor at PSU, is one of the musicians that plays at the event. She says it’s always held the weekend before finals and includes the talents of PSU students, faculty, and members of the local community.

“I think that the small chapel, it’s a more intimate environment and there’s the singing of carols and the sorts of songs you hear over Christmas,” she said.

Visitors were not allowed inside the chapel the last two years due to the pandemic, but it was recorded and shared online.

Teaching STEM skills with robots

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Two Pitt State professors take their show on the road.

Over the past 10 years professors, Norman Philipps and Randy Winzer have taught a two-week summer camp on robotics.

Today was the first time they got the opportunity to teach the class outside of Pitt State.

The class was open to grades 4th through 9th, and cost $10 per student.

Their objective was to promote STEM education.

“This is our first foray into taking our adventures in robotics summer camp into a roadshow workshop that we’re able to take out to areas beyond the Pittsburg State University campus. So we’re working for ways that we can help encourage and develop STEM activities for younger students to help encourage them towards looking for that as a possible future or towards a possible college career,” said Norman Philipps, Pitt State Professor.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun making a robot with them and we’ve already made a lot of progress so far,” said Landon Reed.

The summer camp starts on July 10.

For more information on the camp, visit the Pittsburg State University website, here.

PSU College of Tech hosts open house for Four State area HS students

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Area high school students get a look at possible career paths. More than 700 students made it to Pittsburg State University’s Technology and Career Expo Friday. Juniors and seniors heard from college students about the different career options — like metal working, construction simulations, and machine operations.

“I think it’s important to come here before going to college so that you know, what you’re getting into and see what it’s like before you actually go. So you know,” said Camree Showalter, Erie HS Student.

“I think it’s really cool because, you know not many people get this opportunity to come here and you know if I were to go to college it’d probably be this one because you know, it’s close to home and I’ve heard there’s a lot of opportunities here,” said Donny Graziose, Pittsburg HS Student.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us because we have a lot to show off here and the College of Technology has a lot of different excellent programs. A lot of students graduate from Pitt State University College of Technology with a job which is a good thing in today’s day and age and this is our way of kind of getting the show off all the real good things that we’re doing and training students to do here at Pitt State University College of Technology,” said Matt Brown, Professor at Pitt State.

The participating high school students represent nearly 50 schools from the Four States.

PSU students are making a difference in their communities

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Most people have happy memories from school, but that wasn’t always the case for Irvin Augur.

So he did something about that recently to prevent the same thing from happening at a Pittsburg Elementary School.

Augur called his fundraiser “Clothes for Kids.”

“And there were certain times when I couldn’t go out to recess because I didn’t have winter attire, and because of this I felt like, embarrassed to go to school, so we had a self-defense seminar this past Saturday for the children and charged them $20 for the entry fee, and all the money is going to purchase children’s clothing at Meadowlark Elementary School,” said Irvin Augur, PSU Social Work Senior.

Augur is one of a group of seniors in the PSU social work program that selected a cause near to their heart, and is making it happen.

His classmate Haylee Miller, a native of Lamar, is also fundraising for a good cause.

“I’m raising money for a domestic violence shelter called “Moss House” and I’m selling T-shirts and sweatshirts that I designed, and 100% of the proceeds go directly to Moss House, Moss House serves a huge community and they don’t have a ton of resources so I wanted to help raise money so they can better provide my community as also their community in Nevada,” said Haylee Miller, PSU Social Work Senior.

Dr. Kristen Humphrey says the social work department program is a great way to get experience in serving the community, something they’ll be doing for a living after graduation.

“It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and talk about doing community advocacy, and it’s an entirely something different to get out there and actually do it, so the students have the opportunity to see a project from beginning to end, from the spark of an idea to planning it out,” said Dr. Kristen Humphrey, PSU Professor of Social Work.

By the end of the semester, students will have collected fundraising dollars, dispersed them to the organization they’re helping, and presented their project for faculty, staff, and other students to look at.

The "Midwest Trumpet Festival" is back, and better than ever

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Trumpet enthusiasts from all over the Midwest are likely to be heard playing in Pittsburg.

Sunday and Monday, the annual “Midwest Trumpet Festival” is being held at “Pittsburg State University”. The event is all put together by music professor Todd Hastings, who started the program in 2009.

The two days are full of recitals, master classes and presentations for students and educators coming from all over the region.

The festival hasn’t happened in two years due to COVID-19, so this year was even more of an excitement for those participating.

“So, being able to make the drive down to Pittsburg, and just spend a couple days like totally immersed in incredible teaching and incredible playing, it’s something that I know my students don’t get to do very often, but it’s been great to be able to bring them to this so that they can experience that,” said Eric Dickson, Trumpet Professor, Truman State University.

If you didn’t make today’s concert, that’s okay. Monday offers more concerts, workshops and presentations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s all happening at the “Bicknell Center for the Arts” in Pittsburg.

Annual Diwali Night celebration at PSU

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Over 100 came out tonight to share and learn about Indian culture.

The “Indian Students Association” of Pittsburg State University held their annual “Diwali Night” tonight.

It was an evening of traditional dancing, art, music, clothing and much more.

Traditionally, Diwali is known as the annual festival of lights.

It’s also when the Indian culture celebrates the new year.

Tonight was all about enjoying and having fun.

“We would, we would be very happy to, teach everyone about our culture and traditions, as well as share as much as we could,” said Srikar Reddy Nagirebdypally, President, Indian Students Association.

“We want everyone to come and enjoy, have fun, you know, get to know other Indian cultures, wear traditional dress because everyone, if you look around, they are colorful today,” said Raj Thakor, Member, Indian Students Association.

The night ended later with fireworks and even more dancing.

PSU students conduct research to gauge fentanyl knowledge among families

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Students at an area university are trying to stop the damage done to families from the use of a deadly drug. Fentanyl overdoses now account for the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

So five graduate students from the P.S.U. Communications Department are asking for area parents with children between the ages of 13 and 21 to fill out a questionnaire regarding that drug. Tre Meyers is one of those grad students and says the goal is to find out how much parents know about the drug and effectively communicate its danger to their kids.

“Fentanyl has been one of the biggest growing problems in the United States. Products will get embedded or disguised as other drugs, it’s really affecting the adolescents in the community and the United States as a whole, just last year in 2021 about 77% of adolescents has had some sort of affiliation to the overdose of Fentanyl,” said Meyers.

Parents are often targeted by ads to talk with their kids about dangerous drugs like fentanyl but aren’t given the background and information on the medication to have an educated conversation with them. Trying to find out how much they know about fentanyl and how kids can get their hands on it is among the purposes of the questionnaire.

“So we’re looking at the different types of family communication patterns, family dynamics to see how many people are known about using fentanyl or how many people discuss the use of drugs like Fentanyl at the dinner table,” Meyers said.

The study consists of two parts, the first of which is an online questionnaire, followed by a fifteen-minute zoom interview. All the information is kept confidential and participants can remain anonymous if they’d like.

For more information about the study, or to participate, you can email commlab@pittstate.edu.

Homecoming Week at PSU includes "Banana Extravaganza"

PITTSBURG, Kans. — “Homecoming Week” this week at Pittsburg State University, and something new has been added to the lineup.

The “Banana Extravaganza” turns classrooms and the oval into a campus-wide scavenger hunt.

Students get clues on social media to hunt down bananas hidden in different spots. Student organizers say it’s a fun way to incorporate the campus footprint into celebratory mix of things.

“We have three large prizes for social media, so if they find the three big bananas then they get the three big prizes. Then our spirit chair Morgan Castellan is in charge of that so she’s on social media. But also we have about 30 little bananas that are just kind of hidden around campus that students can find and take to the CAC office,” said Hope Rainey, PSU Homecoming Committee President.

There are smaller prizes like gift cards and also a food truck and raft races tonight.

Saturday’s parade is at 9 a.m. on Broadway Street. The game between the 5th-ranked Gorillas and Missouri Western is on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Showing off Gorilla Pride at PSU's Rumble in the Jungle

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Pittsburg State had the chance to show off its Gorilla Pride to potential students and their families.

Campus held the annual “Rumble in the Jungle” today. More than 1,400 people were expected to attend.

Activities got started early this morning where potential students could tour campus and look at programs the university offers.

Then it was time for all-campus meal and yard games, all leading up to today’s big game against Northwest Missouri State.

“We are very, very lucky to have the game day atmosphere that we have. And honestly, that’s because of the amazing community, Pittsburg, that we live in. It’s because of our alumni who are coming back from Kansas City, and Wichita and even further away for these game days,” said Jon Bartlow, Director of Alumni Relations.

Pitt State administrators also handed out five $1,000 scholarships as part of Rumble in the Jungle.