Students: “You can feel the excitement” 

You can feel it. Students are back, school is in person, and there is more energy not just at Pitt State, but throughout Pittsburg — a community known for its relationship with students and the university. 

Cale Chapman/Gorilla Activities Board 
“It feels 10 times better this year” 

Cale Chapman, a media production major from Mission, Kansas, has noticed something this week: A hole that seemed to exist in the community is being filled, relationships are once again being built, and the town and campus feel alive. 

“Last year, we went through a period of learning online from remote locations and not as many people being on campus for activities, not as many people being out and about in Pittsburg,” he said. 

“I think people really forgot how great it is to be on campus, to walk across The Oval and engage, to physically be present in buildings, to go downtown and eat at a restaurant or grab a coffee. It feels 10 times better this year and makes a world of difference to Pittsburg and to Pitt State.” 

“College is all about relationships. We experimented with offering virtual substitutes, but there's no substitute for being live and in person,” he said. 

Chapman is the president of the Gorilla Activities Board, or GAB, which this week held a foam and powder paint party for students on the Lindburg Plaza — something well attended by all grades. Lots more activities are on the horizon. 

He also heads up philanthropy for his fraternity.  

“Last year, our fraternity’s community service got suspended because there was nowhere that we could volunteer,” he said. “This year, I’ve already spoken with several places in town who are looking for volunteers. They depend on students. We will be able to play a greater role in the city and the community this year.” 

As a summer intern with Main Street Axe Throwing Company downtown, he also learned first-hand the impact students have on local businesses. 

"We hope we’re starting to fill the hole again this year. It’s a symbiotic relationship we have with the town — the town is just important to us as the campus, and I think we’re important to it. If we can keep the town healthy, that makes our university experience even better.” — Cale Chapman

Sorority bid

Adrea Shadbolt/Panhellenic Executive Team  
“I’m coming back with renewed energy” 

Adrea Shadbolt, a psychology major from Fulton, Missouri, arrived on campus two weeks ago to begin sorority recruitment. 

“As a student, I’m also super excited to have fully in person classes again. I’m coming back with a renewed energy,” she said.  

Sorority Bid Day, which took place last Friday on The Oval before the new semester began Monday, culminates a week of sorority rush and recruitment activities. 

“In some ways, what we’re doing this week feels like we’re going through it for the first time because it’s so exciting. This is my senior year, and it’s my last time for everything here, so I’m thankful to be able to do it this way and enjoy it to the fullest.” — Adrea Shadbolt

Move in

Addy Campbell/Honors College 
“I’m motivated to learn, to meet people” 

Last year as a freshman, Addy Campbell, a psychology major from Pittsburg, saw many of the activities she was most passionate about — performing live concerts with the University Choir and attending Honors College gatherings and service projects — cancelled or heavily modified. 

It was a bummer. 

This year as a sophomore, she was all smiles as she interacted with other students at the Community Fair on the Oval Tuesday — one of the first events of each academic year that clearly illustrates the relationship between students and Pittsburg businesses and organizations. 

“It’s incredible to be back. It's lifechanging. I’m motivated now to learn, to meet people. I’ll get to do activities I was looking forward to last year. It’s just so wonderful to be able to now get to embrace all that college has to offer.” — Addy Campbell

Marching band

Tyler Fries/Pride of the Plains Marching Band  
“There’s no better feeling than doing what you love” 

Tyler Fries, a senior in music education from Olathe, Kansas, was among the 150 students who are part of the PSU Pride of the Plains Marching Band to arrive a week early at Pitt State for band camp. 

This time, they came to camp with plans to have a full, regular season of marching in halftime shows and entertaining the fans in Gorilla Village during tailgating and the Gorilla walk. 

As drum major, Fries ranks the experience of being part of the group as “a big highlight of my college career.” 

“Making music is what we do, and we’re determined to create the best experience for everyone involved in Gorilla Game Day both on and off the field. There’s no better feeling than doing what you love.” — Tyler Fries

International students

Alex Simoes de Lacerda/international student 
“It’s different to see the campus ‘alive’ again!” 

Alex Simoes de Lacerda, a graduate student in International Business from Salvador, Brazil, is excited to be meeting professors and colleagues this week in person. 

“It’s different to see the campus ‘alive’ again after a year of uncertainty! But, it is a huge step since we are overcoming the difficulties that were brought to us during the pandemic,” he said. “Being able to have all my classes back to face-to-face format is what makes me the happiest about being back on campus!” 

“My first week of classes has been busy, but also great and full of new discoveries. It is comforting to see Pitt State as a whole working hard to maintain our environment as the safest for all students and faculty!" — Alex Simoes de Lacerda


Elijah Harris/Gorilla Football 
“I couldn’t wait to get back out there” 

Elijah Harris, a 2021 plastics engineering technology graduate from Pittsburg currently pursuing a master’s in engineering technology, missed the modified 2020 season altogether due to injury. 

On a break during daylong practice sessions last week, the wide receiver expressed excitement to be back at Carnie Smith Stadium — one of his favorite places to be. 

“I couldn’t wait to get back out there, and I think the whole team is looking forward to this season in a way we haven’t ever before. There’s an excitement you can definitely feel.” — Elijah Harris


Watch: Welcome back video!