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Student Life Organizations Partner with EPICS to Assist Lakota Nation

Students working on a sheet of plexiglass
Students working on a sheet of plexiglass

Student Life organizations partnered with Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) to assist in donating materials for the construction of greenhouses and storm windows for the Lakota Nation. Student volunteers from the EPICS program, the Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life (FSCL) community and other student organizations worked in hand with EPICS staff to disassemble plexiglass and ship materials, cultivating food sovereignty. Administrative Operations with Purdue was also instrumental in allowing workspace to disassemble as well as providing resources to aid the students in this work.  

EPICS knew that the university had excess plexiglass from COVID-19 and to generate the best impact, sent these materials to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This multifaceted project united Boilermakers in the pursuit of bettering the nation. Greenhouses constructed will provide fresh produce and supply opportunities to learn about gardening and the Lakota culture. 

Students carrying a sheet of plexiglass
Students carrying a sheet of plexiglass

Volunteers were coordinated through Roger C. Stewart Leadership and Professional Development Department (LEAD) for Martin Luther King Day of Service and through EPICS for four other Saturday workdays. LEAD focuses on developing the leadership abilities, civic identities and professional skills of students through on-campus and community-based experiences and the promotion of research-based leadership competencies and curricular integration. LEAD teaches students to connect their classroom and out-of-class experiences to build greater meaning out of their Purdue education to prepare them to facilitate positive change in local, national and global communities.   

EPICS challenges its members to actively work towards bettering the community by designing, building, and deploying real systems to solve engineering-based problems. The spirit of service and commitment to problem-solving made the task of collecting plexiglass to donate to the Lakota Nation possible. EPICS will continue to work on greenhouse designs with the partner once material is delivered in early March. 


Written by: Hannah Williamson, Writing and Communications Intern, Student Life Marketing