The K-State residence hall parking lots are about as empty today as the university’s classrooms. The university’s school year has come and gone. With it went thousands of students, leaving Manhattan and its permanent residents to adjust to the rhythms of summer.
For some residents, that will be easy. That’s because K-State’s student lots aren’t the only places where there will be open spots. Parking becomes easier in shopping and dining areas all over town. Also, motorists will find the streets less crowded, and business at restaurants and stores will slow down. Our fair city won’t just have fewer people, it will be more peaceful, more quiet.
In fact it might seem too quiet, if not immediately, then in a few weeks. Parents whose children have grown up and left home will recognize the phenomenon. Manhattan doesn’t quite become an empty nest, but many permanent residents will miss the energy — and perhaps even some of the noise — that comes with a town filled with young people.
Also missed will be the contributions so many KSU and Manhattan Christian College students make to this community. During the school year they coach youth teams, volunteer for countless local agencies and add to our religious congregations. Permanent residents who miss them can take comfort in the knowledge that the separation won’t be permanent; most of them will be back.
In the meantime, there’s summer in Manhattan. That can mean anything from afternoons at one of the city’s pools to participation in various Parks and Recreation or UFM programs. Soon we’ll commemorate Memorial Day, a particularly special occasion in military communities. In the last week of June we’ll brace for the big event of midsummer — the Country Stampede.
The Fourth of July brings annual fireworks (and annual fireworks debates), Manhattan Municipal Band performances and Arts in the Park outdoor evening concerts. Toward the end of July comes another of summer’s highlights, the Riley County Fair, complete with the Kaw Valley Rodeo and carnival rides and games.
KSU students who rent apartments will begin returning Aug. 1, but the more conspicuous wave will come when the residence halls reopen.
We’ll certainly be glad when students again fill the parking lots at the residence halls, but in the interim, we’ll find plenty of ways to occupy ourselves — enough to make summer fly by.