Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #108

For the 1895-1896 school year, the Young Men’s Christian Association produced the Students’ Handbook for State College, Lexington, Kentucky. In the greeting, the Y.M.C.A. expressed their desire to extend “a glad welcome to those whom we shall meet for the first time within our College walls.” The book included a brief history; the academic calendar; the officers and mission of the Y.M.C.A.; other organizations; advertisements; and tidbits of interest for the new student. 
This pocket sized guide for new students became a tradition. 
1895-1896 Hand Book
The 1913-1914 Varsity Guide recommended that incoming freshman:

·       Write home.
·       Fix up your room.
·       Attend socials.
·       Boost class spirit.
·       Learn yells and songs.
·       Visit a literary society.
·       Pick associations carefully.
·       Get a season ticket for all athletics.
·       If you are an athlete, get in the game.
·       Get some University colors and Wildcat spirit.
·       Don’t get to knocking on the way things are fun – boost.
·       By all means subscribe for the Idea, the official college newspaper. You simply can’t get along without it.
1913-1914 Varsity Guide
The handbooks were meant to help freshmen gain an understanding of life at UK, become acquainted with campus, and be convinced to actively participate in UK’s traditions. Publication of the book was discontinued in 1917 because of World War I but started again in 1921 and continued for the next 45 years. 
1935-1936 K Book
In 2007, a group of student leaders came together to resurrect the K Book tradition – absent from college life and culture since 1966. For the next year, these students wrote a 21st century version of the Freshman Handbook, inspired by the words of students from a century earlier. The result was the new K Book, a fun and informative publication filled with resources for incoming students.
Today, the tradition of the K Book continues. From the freshman class to the university’s president, there is widespread support for the publication on campus. The book is given to all incoming Wildcats during the summer before they begin classes in hopes of preparing them for college life at the University of Kentucky. During the year, the K Book Editorial Board, are charged with the responsibility of writing and editing the K Book for the following year.

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