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KSRE Tuesday Letter

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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

February 11, 2020

It Starts With Us

Submitted by Gregg Hadley

There are many who are frustrated with what our society has become. I am one of those frustrated.

The divisiveness, aggression, incivility, argumentativeness, intolerance, hypocrisy, and, at the risk of insulting children, childish behavior exhibited by adults on social media, in shopping complex parking lots, and at youth sports activities, school board meetings, and local, state, and federal government events is appalling. This isn’t a one side or the other side issue. The blanket of blame can be shared equally by all in this situation.

Our own institution and system is not exempt from this behavior. We witness it during the judging of our youth’s 4-H projects. We see it whenever a project deadline is missed. We also see it during our Extension Council meetings and in our offices, departments, centers, and colleges. When will it end, and who will put an end to it?
How about now? How about us?

You might be thinking, “What can we do about it? The problem is too big!” Yet, Cooperative Extension has positively changed society in so many ways for over 100 years. Why not this?


President Theodore Roosevelt once recommended, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We can start a path towards civility by starting with ourselves and lead by example. At our 4-H activities, we can have posters, perhaps made by our participating youth, reminding parents that the ultimate goals of our 4-H Youth Development are education and to enable and empower youth to become extremely productive and civil contributors to our society.

In our Extension Councils, offices, departments, centers, and colleges – we can pledge to one another that we will respect each other, listen, discuss, negotiate, and be professional and civil. This can be reinforced by repeating such a pledge before each meeting, and it can be reaffirmed by thanking participants, regardless of the side they are on, when they live up to the expectations of the pledge.

Will this work? Why not? Mahatma Gandhi is credited with imploring “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Why can’t our institution be the example that others use to become more professional, caring, tolerant, and civil organizations? Why can’t we lead in such a way that the leaders of tomorrow that we train will see professionalism, tolerance, and civility as the only way a proper functioning society works together?

As poet, writer, and Army National Guardsman Anthony Liccione wrote, “It starts with you, and that which never starts, also finishes with you.” Let’s get our organization, our communities, and our society back on track. Let’s start with us!

In this issue

From the Director for Extension
From KSRE Administration
Local, Regional and Statewide Extension Events
Extension Professional Trainings
Publications Update
Program Updates
Thank Yous
Calendar of Events