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College of Human Ecology

Open House, set for April 11, originated as home economics hospitality day

Monday, March 30, 2015

Balloons mark the gerontology exhibit in 2014.

Open House encompasses all of both the Kansas State University Manhattan campus and the Salina campus. But it all started with the College of Human Ecology.

This year's All-University Open House, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11, will explore more than 250 majors and options through exhibits, games and activities. The theme is "Unfold Your Future."

The day originated on April 27, 1931, with the Division of Home Economics (at Kansas State College). Each department offered an exhibit and there were contests among groups of high school girls, a tea and a banquet, according to Julius Terrass Willard in the 1940 book, "History of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science."

In 1932 the event was expanded into "Hospitality Week" and the theme was "From Godey's Book Days until Now." Godey's was a popular magazine published from 1830 to 1898. The student chairman that year was Madge Limes Halvorsen.

The name changed again in 1937, this time to "Hospitality Days." The purpose, according to Willard, was "the interpretation of home economics as taught at the College, to high school girls, college students, faculty and townspeople. In 1939, more than 3,600, including girls from 78 high schools, attended," he reported.

The program included "elaborate" exhibits; a speaker; contests for high school girls in art, child welfare, clothing, foods and home living; tours of the departments; teas; a dinner for students and a hospitality hop.

Willard wrote: "The programs of Hospitality Days are planned, prepared, and presented almost entirely by students... and this work is of high educational value to them in several ways."

The first All-University Open House was in 1980.

Students continue to plan, prepare and present the event. This year College of Human Ecology students are offering a variety of activities and displays. Most of them are in Justin Hall. They include:

  • Witness an ice carving demonstration by hotel and restaurant management students at noon.
  • Get free hearing screenings at 127 Campus Creek Complex by graduate students in communication sciences and disorders.
  • Play golf with the Club Mangers Association of America.
  • Run a relay race featuring a martini olive toss, creating a place setting and broom competition. There also will be a blindfolded cupcake decorating and napkin folding demonstrations with hospitality management students.
  • Fold paper and make paper chains with early childhood education students.
  • Make recycled paper into notepads with family and consumer sciences education students.
  • Add your ideas to a family studies and human services graffiti board that explores what it means to be of service to others.
  • Discover what it may feel like being 40 pounds heavier, receive a BMI estimation and learn to "rethink your drink" to cut calories from sugar-sweetened beverages with human nutrition students.
  • Visit the kinesiology booth to pick up a free pedometer.
  • Discover how interior design students transform their sketches to create universal and sustainable spaces for clients. 328 Justin Hall.
  • Experience a variety of high-tech communication devices learn how they operate to improve communication for those who are unable to speak effectively at Campus Creek Complex.

Among the students coordinating the campus-wide event are Rebekah Shirley, sophomore in human nutrition and kinesiology, quad entertainment coordinator, and Kaitlyn Ellis and Joshua Allen, seniors in hotel and restaurant management, representing the College of Human Ecology.

Some of the themes of those early years were Home Economics at Home and Abroad, Serving on the Home Front (1944), Alice in Home Economics Land and Our Wizard of Ahs - Home Economics.

Young Wildcat fans get a chemistry lesson from family and consumer sciences students at Open House 2014. Above, balloons mark the spot of the Center on Aging exhibit in 2014.

Young Wildcat fans get a chemistry lesson from family and consumer sciences students at Open House 2014. Above, balloons mark the spot of the Center on Aging exhibit in 2014.

This article was posted on Monday, March 30, 2015, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design, Center on Aging, College News, Costume and Textile Museum, Family Studies & Human Services, Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Hospitality Management, Kinesiology.