Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student
Communications and Agricultural Education students joined others across the College of Agriculture to discuss why diversity matters in the college. This student-led forum was standing-room-only in the Leadership Studies’ Town Hall.
The crowd included Dean John Floros, assistant and associate deans, department chairs, and faculty. Industry partners were also present like Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Cargill, and other stakeholders.
The discussion began with the statement, “Diversity is our reality. Inclusion is our goal.”
Two ACJ students, Bryanna Cook and Kyler Langvardt, were brave enough to speak out against hate and stand up for inclusion.
Cook, a junior ACJ student, spoke up saying, “We are a K-State family, and we need to act like it.”
During the forum, students were challenged by Carlene Hawkins, an employee experience specialist at Cargill, to be the example within their classes and communities to move toward the goal of inclusion as a reality for all.
Langvardt, a junior ACJ student says, “When we heard from the Cargill representative, I was curious how they not only recruit diverse individuals, but retain them and make it an inclusive work place for all.”
From there, the two-hour forum continued as Dean Floros encouraged students to continue striving for inclusion. He offered hope for inclusion by citing a survey of new freshman in the College of Agriculture in which they used the word “home” to describe K-State.
Dr. Zelia Wiley, Interim Associate Provost for Diversity in the College, wrapped up the forum by applauding students for uniting to discuss important issues and how to make a difference moving forward.