New student leaders shape future of K-State

K-State Alumni Communications

Kansas State University's new Student Body President Jessica Van Ranken with Vice President Trenton Kennedy. (Courtesy photo)

Serving as a student body leader is a huge responsibility but also an incredible opportunity. It’s a chance to make a positive impact and help shape the future of the university.

That’s one of the main reasons why Jessica Van Ranken and Trenton Kennedy decided to run for office at Kansas State University. This spring, students elected Van Ranken, a junior in political science/pre-law from Lindsborg, Kansas, to serve as student body president, and Kennedy, a sophomore in entrepreneurship from Frankfort, Kansas, to serve as student body vice president.

“I am incredibly passionate about serving this university and the students who attend it,” Van Ranken said. “Creating the Van Ranken-Kennedy campaign over the past several months has grown my love and appreciation for K-State exponentially, and has given me a direction and further understanding of how I can best contribute my time and talents to the student body.”

Kennedy echoed her thoughts. “There is no other position on campus that a student could hold with the greatest potential for change and impact,” he said. “I wanted to run because I knew with Jessica and I in office, we would have the resources and the accessibility to make a huge impact at K-State.”

Van Ranken and Kennedy both have a history of involvement on campus. Van Ranken serves as director of community and internal relations for the Panhellenic Council and is a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, while Kennedy’s involvement includes Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, College Republicans and St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center. They also both have a K-State legacy: Van Ranken’s father, Fred Van Ranken ’87, ’94, is a K-State graduate, as is Kennedy’s mother, Melissa Kennedy ’93.

The two will take office April 7, when they will begin to advocate for the three initiatives of their campaign: mental wellness, diversity and political advocacy.

During their time in office, they want to create an even stronger relationship between Counseling Services and the Student Governing Association, destigmatizing mental illness on K-State's campus. Their second platform, diversity, includes advocating for cultural competency training for faculty and students, and they plan to prioritize fundraising for a multicultural student center. 

“We want all students to feel that they are members of the K-State family, and we believe that taking these action steps toward becoming a more inclusive campus community will help us work towards that goal and demonstrate that K-State values diversity,” Van Ranken said. 

Finally, Van Ranken and Kennedy plan to promote political advocacy, uniting students behind the mission of advocating for higher education in a nonpartisan manner, with a focus on voter education, registration and prioritization of higher education funding.

“We have a vision for K-State that is exceptional,” Kennedy said. “I am ready to truly serve the student body.”

 Kansas State Polytechnic elects new officers

Kansas State Polytechnic recently re-elected Student Governing Association President Elliot Rogers, a junior in airport management, and Vice President Ian Bonsall, also a junior in airport management. (Photo: Kansas State Polytechnic Communications)
Kansas State Polytechnic recently re-elected Student Governing Association President Elliot Rogers, a junior in airport management, and Vice President Ian Bonsall, also a junior in airport management.

In 2011, Rogers began studying at Johnson County Community College, where he was a member of the Academic Excellence Challenge team and a leader in Student Government, as well as a student representative on multiple committees, boards and work groups. Last year, he began studies in the aviation department of Kansas State Polytechnic and has completed his first summer of U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. As a leader in the Kansas State Polytechnic Student Government, Rogers said he is looking forward to the great things students will accomplish alongside faculty and staff.

Bonsall said leadership has always been a passion of his, and he held multiple positions in local, state and national academic and career and technical student organizations throughout high school. He started at Kansas State Polytechnic in the fall of 2014 as a professional pilot major. He was elected student senate chair for the campus's Student Governing Association and later was elected to serve as vice president for two consecutive terms. Bonsall said he is always looking for new horizons and opportunities to expand as an individual and leader, and he and Rogers hope to be a voice for the diverse student body at Kansas State Polytechnic.

 Student Alumni Board welcomes new members 

Thirteen K-State students recently were selected to serve on Student Alumni Board, a group of approximately 40 students who promote and serve the university and the K-State Alumni Association. SAB works to enhance the K-State experience by creating a link between the Alumni Association and past, present and future students. SAB members are responsible for planning and hosting several programs to recruit students to K-State, and they also coordinate and assist with other student-related Alumni Association programs and events.

The new members are: 

• Shane Maloney, Andover, Kansas, sophomore in construction sciences and management.

• Drew Young, Burlington, Kansas, sophomore in biological systems engineering.

• Jeffrey Hadachek, Cuba, Kansas, sophomore in agricultural economics.

• Cooper McGuire, Gardner, Kansas, freshman in vocal performance.

• Summer Smith, Hays, Kansas, freshman in marketing.

• Baylee Heitschmidt, Hutchinson, Kansas, freshman in secondary education.

• Hallie Lucas, Leavenworth, Kansas, freshman in biology, natural resources and conservation sciences.

• Kevin Kellerman, Leawood, Kansas, freshman in computer engineering.

• Matt Grosdidier, Lenexa, Kansas, sophomore in mechanical engineering.

• Victoria Thomas, Lenexa, Kansas, freshman in bio-environmental engineering.

• Jordan Eberhardy, Olathe, Kansas, freshman in kinesiology, pre-physical therapy.

• Gabrielle Riggs, Shawnee, Kansas, sophomore in marketing.

• Emily Zwick, Wichita, Kansas, freshman in agricultural economics and pre-law.

K-State Alumni Association
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