Wheat State Whirlwind Goals:
- To understand/appreciate origins of KU students
- To develop a deeper relationship with Kansas and its people so that participants can gain a better understanding of their needs and hopes
- To experience a wide spectrum of Kansas people, heritage, and physical beauty
- To create a community within the university that crosses disciplinary boundaries
Wheat State Whirlwind Benefits:
- Improved cooperation/collaboration between KU campuses and KU faculty
- Encouraged service to the state of Kansas
- Improve faculty retention
- Improved public relations for the university
Wheat State Whirlwind
Since 1997, about 40-50 faculty and staff have boarded a motor coach at the University of Kansas each May for a "whirlwind" week tour of the state. The Wheat State Whirlwind Tour endeavors to bring a select group of KU personnel into a closer relationship with Kansans.
The participants engage in discussions with the people of Kansas, learn what KU means to Kansans, and develop ideas on how KU's resources could be of further assistance to the Wheat State. The tour serves to better familiarize the university with the needs of Kansans, introduces new KU faculty to their adopted home state, allows the faculty to enjoy the rare opportunity of interacting with colleagues from other disciplines, and serves as a public relations project. Sites have been selected largely on their basis on being otherwise inaccessible to individuals.
Several KU professors have accompanied the coach as on-board commentators, discussing interesting aspects of the state. Participants receive a notebook containing maps, brochures, and readings of interest. The tour provides a special means of outreach, with participants meeting the state's citizens, discovering the state's beauty, and learning from engaging guides about many aspects of Kansas. The participants also meet persons willing to share their great pride for their communities.
Highlights from past tours included a visit to a wheat farm, grain elevator, and rural school in Palco, the hometown of a KU professor who helped everyone gain an understanding of his community. The experience continued with a drive through a buffalo herd while participants rode atop bales of hay stacked on truck beds, coming within inches of 200 buffalo during calving season in Logan County.
The tour continues to receive highly enthusiastic responses from hundreds of persons touched in some way during these five days. Interaction among past participants remains high.
As one participant said in their tour evaluation, "I never thought Kansas could be so much fun!"
For related articles about the tour, complete with photos, please see the Media Coverage section.
Here's a sampling of useful links.
- State of Kansas
- Blue Skyways of Kansas
- Kansas State Historical Society
- Kansas Communities on the Web
- Kansas Community Networks
Dozens of links can be found by visiting Kansas Sights or by searching the Kansas page in the Yahoo! directory.
Other Suggested Sites
The purpose of University of Kansas Health Outreach Program (KU HOP) is to integrate the interdisciplinary outreach efforts of the University of Kansas Medical Community through coordination, communication and statewide partnerships to respond to the health needs of Kansans through education, research, and service.
During its nearly fifty years of operation, KU's Fire Service Training has certified thousands of firefighters throughout the state of Kansas. Emergency response training sessions are conducted statewide for the benefit of firefighters, law enforcement agencies, and EMS personnel.
Thousands of persons statewide listen to the Kansas Audio-Reader Network, a radio reading service for the blind and print-disabled. Hundreds of volunteers regularly visit Audio-Reader's studios on the KU campus to broadcast newspapers, magazines, and books over a closed-circuit signal. Their website offers news, volunteer information, and an opportunity to listen in on the broadcast.
The Institute for Policy & Social Research (IPSR) at KU publishes the Kansas Statistical Abstract and the Kansas Policy Review. The Institute for Policy & Social Research also provides the "Find Your Legislator" tool, with which users can find information about their elected officials. The "Find Your Legislator" tool can can be found at Find Your Legislator. Visit their website for more interactive maps and informative graphs that chart the state's population growth, economic health, and other statistics.
When was the last big earthquake in Kansas? How is salt contamination of south central Kansas groundwater progressing? The answers to these questions, plus a trove of interactive maps, are provided by the Kansas Geological Survey.