Drew makes an impact at Purdue by getting involved in leadership positions

Drew Thoennes photo
Drew Richard Thoennes, a junior from Lafayette majoring in computer science and mathematics, makes an impact through his everyday actions in student organizations. Drew is the director of donations for the ACE Campus Food Pantry. Located in the Baptist Student Foundation, 200 N. Russell Street, ACE provides groceries and more to members of the Purdue community who experience food insecurity. 

As donations director, Drew helps to coordinate donations of food and dollars and the thanking of donors. Drew said. “You’d be surprised by the diversity of the people who walk in the door. It’s not just grad students, who we see often, but it’s also Purdue staff and faculty. It’s people from the community. It’s people you might not expect, all in need, and we’re so happy to be on campus to help them and make an impact.”

Drew has been involved in BoilerMake, Purdue’s regional hackathon attended by thousands of students from other universities. “A hackathon is a weekend event where you get together with a team of people and create a really cool project,” Drew said. “You get the chance to learn so many new technologies, interact with companies and be with other computer science (CS) majors.”

Drew has won both BoilerMake and Hello World, Purdue’s 24-hour introductory hackathon for freshmen that immerses the participant in hacker culture in a beginner-friendly environment. Now, Drew wants to give back to the new generation of CS students. “Classes for CS are getting bigger with even more people to impact. I want to make it known that Purdue is this really good school, and we have all of these amazing opportunities. I want to make sure they feel like they have a home here, because when I got onto campus I did not feel that until I participated in BoilerMake.”

As a member of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, Drew was a new member educator teaching about the history of Pi Lambda Phi and about Greek life on campus. Then he moved to the communications committee.

Drew is also a judicial board officer for Pi Lambda Phi. Drew said, “If a brother makes an infraction, he is recommended to the judicial board. I think there's a misconception that we simply give a slap on the wrist or a fine. But we run our judicial board as a corrective. If someone comes to us with an issue, we try to figure out what the problem is, and then work with the brother to ensure that it doesn’t continue. We have an impact on these brothers who come to us with problems in their personal lives.”

After graduation, Drew hopes to work in software engineering at a large tech firm. He will intern with the online coupon firm Honey located in Los Angeles in summer 2020.

Click here to learn more about the ACE Campus Food Pantry and here to learn more about BoilerMake.