Nathan Encourages Others to Rely on the Support Communities They've Built

Nathan Rowland Miller photo
Nathan Rowland Miller fosters community through several leadership positions he holds on campus. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, he nurtures those communities virtually. Nathan is a student leader in the trumpet section of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, assisting with the yearly band camp to welcome new members and mentoring them throughout the year. A junior from Perrysburg, Ohio, majoring in industrial engineering, Nathan helps to lead 66 trumpet players.

"We teach them tools they need to be successful,” said Nathan. “In the course of one week at camp, we teach them our style of marching. We also build up the community to ensure they know we are family. We’re 66 people they can be friends with right when they walk in the door.”

Nathan holds leadership roles in the band service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, and he is a teaching assistant for EDPS 300—Student Leadership Development. As part of the Boilers in Action team for Civic Engagement and Leadership Development, Nathan plans community service days, such as “Make a Difference Day” held in October 2019 and “Spring Blast” that would have taken place in April 2020 in partnership with local neighborhood associations.

Even though “Spring Blast” was cancelled, the team continues to reach out. Nathan said, “We’ve been sending emails to the volunteers and community residents, saying, ‘Thank you for signing up to give your time. We're sorry it couldn't take place. Please let us know if you need anything. We have virtual office hours open in case you need to reach out to us.’”

As a board member and stocking director for the ACE Campus Food Pantry, Nathan takes inventory of the food available. “We make sure that our clients have enough food,” he said.

Located at the Baptist Student Foundation, 200 N. Russell Street, ACE is open to students, staff, and faculty on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. during the pandemic.

“As long as the grocery stores are staying open, our food bank is staying open,” said Nathan.

ACE sponsored a WebEx cooking demonstration on April 10. Nathan’s leadership philosophy echoes how Purdue strives to connect with students during this time. “Community has always been the number one thing I look for,” said Nathan. “You can't really be a leader if you're not encouraging growth of community. Always extending your hand to those in need, checking on individuals, making sure everyone is aware there is a place where they can go, building up trust between each of the members so that as a community, we can grow together.” Nathan encourages students to continue to rely on their groups.

“With everything going on right now, remember the communities you have built, are still your communities. There are people in those circles who are just as confused and trying to get through as you are. You still have people around who can support you.”