Pittsburg State University, like many other educational institutions, owes much of its success to generous Gorillas and that’s what ‘Thank A Gorilla’ or T.A.G. Week is all about: celebrating generous gifts that have allowed the university to thrive.
T.A.G. Week has taken place from Mar. 1 to Mar. 5 and involves all areas of campus. T.A.G. Week has been a yearly tradition at Pittsburg State University since 2013. The program involves members of the Advancement Ambassadors tagging landmarks or places on campus that were created or built with the help of generous donors. Locations that have tags include the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, the Overman Student Center, many of the benches around campus, the Fisk organ in the Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall in McCray Hall and many more.
“I think that this week is all about being grateful that we have such a sense of community here that people want to continue to give once they are gone,” said Blair James, alumna in physical therapy. “We may be a small university, but we make a big impact, and that makes people want to continue being a part of it even when their time as a student comes to an end.”
The first day of T.A.G. Week was celebrated in conjunction with another of Pittsburg State’s well-known traditions: Apple Day. Apple Day commemorates the life and work of the first principal of Pittsburg State University Russel Russ for whom Russ Hall is named. Russ secured the first building appropriation from the Kansas State Legislature after needing an expansion from the building downtown that the university was originally housed in. While there, Russ broke a key rule of the legislature’s parliamentary procedure. He sat in a legislator’s chair by accident. For this offense, the legislative body fined Russ a barrel of apples which Russ happily supplied and distributed among the lawmakers. When the principal and Pittsburg’s mayor returned with the funding for a new facility secured, the students at the time fined the faculty of Pittsburg State a barrel of apples as good fun and the faculty complied. Apple Day has been a tradition ever since. Normal activities of Apple Day would be a baking competition, a public ceremony to hand out special scholarships and honor student-nominated faculty, a scholarship drawing, and a performance by the University Choir. Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, these festivities have been adjusted to a virtual format.
For a celebration of T.A.G. Week, the university hosted an event in the Oval from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in which social distancing was observed and coupons for free bagels from Einstein Bro’s were handed out.
“Hopefully this tradition will only continue to grow,” James said. “I think it’s always important to appreciate the things we receive as a community from our members. I definitely think the new aspects of the week introduced this year will only spread the word more and more and I look forward to seeing students participating in years to come.”