Happy Holidays Feel-Good News
This has been one wild sleigh ride into winter break. Who could have prepared for something like COVID-19 taking over all of 2020? Even when I heard the news back in the spring, I never could have imagined the monumental impact it would have on Fort Hays State University and how we have had to adapt to new ways of learning and living. Stressed about schoolwork? Why not throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix! Move over mom jeans; masks are the newest fashion trend on campus. On the bright side, I can say this semester I learned and made history at the same time!
As romantic as it sounds to be living through what will soon be a major chapter in history, I think we’re all ready to close the book on 2020 and welcome in the new year. Winter break brings with it a much-needed rest from a semester-and-a-half of unexpected challenges. I think we all could use the time to regroup and prepare for 2021. That being said, take the time and appreciate that not even a pandemic could ruin your semester. However you spend the holiday season, you’ve earned the right to relax and be thankful.
While it’s easy to focus on all of the hardships of 2020, it wasn’t all bad. It’s definitely worth looking back at all the good this year has brought as well. Every cloud has a silver lining, and here are a few inspiring stories that show how Fort Hays State University has persevered through the pandemic and are sending off 2020 and welcoming in the holidays in a way that would leave even Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch feeling full of Christmas cheer!
A Drive-In STEM-Ed Christmas Show
With many events at Fort Hays State University this year, the theme has been to “convert, don’t cancel.” The annual Christmas show presented by the university’s STEM-Ed Student Chapter is a great example of how this has been put into practice.
Held indoors for the past 17 years, this year’s annual science demonstration, “The Polar Express,” was moved outdoors. The event, which took place on the 5th of December in the west parking lot of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, was modified to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Participants were required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Location cones were set up for those who watched the show outdoors while people were also able to watch the live video broadcast from their cars. The audio was available at www.fhsu.edu/smei, where the entire event was live-streamed. By hosting a drive-in event, the show carried on, and everyone could safely participate in this annual tradition.
Viewers explored the workings of the Polar Express through the means of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — how steam powers an engine, how reindeer fly, and how Santa gets all the toys in his bag and powers his sleigh. It was an enjoyable learning experience for both the future mathematics and science teachers of the STEM-ED chapter who hosted the show and those who participated.
Nightingale Living Learning Community
Along with everyone else, Fort Hays nursing students are also in the spirit of the holidays. The students who are part of the Nightingale Living Learning Community decided they wanted to give back this holiday season. At the beginning of December, they gathered together to put together gifts for a local nursing home. All together, they packed 48 presents for the residents, who were surely overjoyed to be getting them.
Keeping Alive the Toy-Building Tradition
Every year, Fort Hays State University holds its annual Dr. Fred P. Ruda Teaming Up for Tots (TUFT) Day. Volunteers of all ages from the university and the Hays community would converge in the Center for Applied Technology to help build wooden toys to be delivered to the local TUFT organization and distributed in time for Christmas. The project aims to provide toys for children who otherwise might not receive a Christmas gift.
Fort Hays State University