HAYS – The annual Dr. Fred P. Ruda Teaming Up for Tots Day at Fort Hays State University, a Christmas toy-building project, was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.
However, students and faculty in the Department of Applied Technology still plan to assemble 200 wooden toys for children who otherwise might not receive a Christmas gift.
The TUFT project was started in 1990 by Ruda, former chair of the department. FHSU students designed the toys. Volunteers of all ages from the university and the Hays community would converge on the woodshop in Davis Hall to sand, glue, nail, assemble and apply oil finish to the toys. The project moved to the new Center for Applied Technology in 2017.
Kim Stewart, current department chair, said that because of the pandemic, the faculty decided to have students in FHSU’s chapter of the Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association (TEECA) construct the toys the first week of December. The toys will be delivered to the local TUFT organization, which then distributes them in time for Christmas.
As in years past, the Materials, Processes and Production class taught by Dr. Duane Renfrow, associate professor of applied technology, will design and cut the pieces for a wooden pick-up truck and create instructions to guide the assembly process. The TEECA students then will assemble the toy trucks.
“We really believe it’s still important to continue this project,” Stewart said. “Although we are saddened we can’t have university and community members participate this year for safety reasons, it’s a tradition that has gone on for more than 30 years, one that we still want to continue.”