Spring 2012 Intern Profile ~ Melissa Slagle ~

Melissa is a senior undergraduate at Kansas State, majoring in history. She is planning on entering graduate school at Emporia State in the spring of 2013, to get a Master of Library Science in Archival Studies. She attended College of William Jewell prior to her entry into Kansas State University and there she held a work-study position in the archives of the Partee Center. It was in that position she discovered her love for archives and historic documents.

Melissa says, “old documents, papers, and books fascinate me,” and that makes her fit in quite well here at the Chapman Center. Our reading room is chock full of old books, and lucky for Melissa her desk is right next to them.

From the first time she had heard of the Chapman Center, she wanted to be a part of our work. Her desire was to practice public history, and she felt that the Chapman Center Internship was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Melissa is from the Manhattan area and both her parents work here in town. She also has one sibling, a brother, who attends Manhattan Christian College near by.

“This area of Kansas is a wonderful place to live because it is rich in local history and the Flint Hills are the the most beautiful part of Kansas.”

Currently Melissa is researching small town Kansas life during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, specifically life in  St. George (Pottawatomie County). She plans on extending her time-period to include the depression in the late 1800’s as well.

We are very glad to have Melissa on our team and welcome her enthusiasm in the 2012 semester.

Loss of Rural Grocery Stores Draws National Attention

This topic is near and dear to our hearts here at the Chapman Center. We would like to share the news that the CECD is hosting a Rural Grocery Summit on June 5-6, 2012 at Kansas State University.

“The Center for Engagement and Community Development’s (CECD) director, David Procter traveled to Washington DC on December 1, 2011. Procter briefed the US Senate Hunger Caucus on the loss of grocery stores in rural communities and its devastating impact on the town.

Procter’s presentation focused on the closing of rural grocery stores as an economic development issue, as well as a nutrition and community health issue. The preservation of a rural grocery store has significant benefits. However, high operational costs, limited labor force, and owner burnout are significant factors that influence the closing of rural grocery stores.

“I thought the briefing went very well,” said Procter, “People were very interested in the issue. Several folks came up and talked to us after the presentation about how they could help.”

One day before talking to the Hunger Caucus, Procter spoke at a conference called “The Partnership for a Healthier America” in Washington DC. The conference focused on the variety of ways kids could grow healthier. Procter spoke about access to nutritious food in rural America through rural grocery stores.

After his testimony, Procter met with US Senators to brief them on Kansas State University’s Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) and the work that is being done to preserve rural grocery stores. Procter had the opportunity to meet one on one with Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Lynn Jenkins. In each meeting, Procter spoke on addressing the food access issue.

“I think the biggest success of this trip was getting more people nationally interested in RGI,” said Procter, “Being able to talk about RGI to Senators and their staff from across the US is very important.”

The next big step is preparing for and hosting the Rural Grocery Summit on June 5-6, 2012 at Kansas State University.

“This will be a great opportunity to highlight all the important work we’ve done and to hear from rural grocery store owners and rural grocery stakeholders from around Kansas and the US,” said Procter.”