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Students Leadership Activities Lead to Impactful Purdue Role

Noah Scott (pictured left) succeeded Daniel Romary (pictured right) as Purdue’s 23rd student trustee on July 1, 2019.

Opportunities offered through Purdue Student Life spurred two students to become student trustees. Since 1976, an undergraduate or graduate student from any of Purdue’s campuses has served as one of the ten members of the Purdue University Board of Trustees. The student is appointed by Indiana’s governor and has an equal vote on all actions taken by the board. The Purdue Student Government oversees the application and interview process with support from Student Life.

Daniel Romary, from New Haven, Indiana, ended his two-year term as a student trustee in June 2019. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biomedical engineering in May 2018 and May 2019, respectively. Now he is a medical student at IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Noah Scott, from Warsaw, Indiana, succeeded Romary as Purdue’s 23rd student trustee on July 1, 2019. Scott is a senior studying industrial engineering technology, organizational leadership and pre-law. Both Romary and Scott point to their leadership in student organizations as building the foundation for their student trustee positions.

“I was involved with student government from the time I was a freshman,” Romary said. “I like representing students and I saw the student trustee role as an opportunity to move from a suggestion maker to a decision maker.”

Romary was a senator for the College of Engineering and a student body secretary. “One of my big projects was working to get more mental health resources for students on campus,” Romary said. Romary was also involved in the Purdue Foundation Student Board (PFSB), working closely with the University Development Office. “I got to interact with a lot of alumni and donors and understand the importance of philanthropy in the University,” Romary said.

Scott likes that the student trustee position can make an impact behind the scenes. “It’s a role where you can leave a lasting legacy and leave the University better than when you got here in a way that not many other positions can,” Scott said.

Scott served as a host for the Old Masters Program where students serve as a liaison for ten individuals who are invited to campus as an “Old Master” to share philosophies and experiences with students. He also served on the Community Standards Board of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which holds student conduct hearings. “I really enjoyed it,” Scott said. “Not necessarily the topics or what had to happen, but being able to give back in that way.”

Scott then obtained a position working in the Student Conduct Office working closely with his peers in their times of need and challenge. Dovetailed with that job was Scott’s involvement with Interfraternity Council (IFC) student conduct issues. Scott is a member of Sigma Tau Gamma.

When an investigation occurred concerning student conduct in a fraternity, Scott received a report, took it to the IFC judicial board and recommended a sanction. Scott said, “That role was a big influence on who I am today and why I wanted to be a student trustee. The gravity of my decisions was something that I had not experienced before.”

Advisors Jennifer White in organizational leadership and Cassie Pendleton in industrial engineering technology helped Scott through the student trustee application process.

“They are incredible people,” Scott said. “They are giving, understanding and caring. "They always listen, whether you are talking about something that is academic related or a problem. I didn’t realize an advisor could be more than someone who helps you schedule classes until I knew Jennifer and Cassie.”

After he was selected to be a student trustee, Scott contacted Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students for fraternity, sorority and cooperative life. “I thanked him and told him that unfortunately I had to step back from my position with IFC because of my new role as a student trustee,” Scott said.

“I would not be who I am today and I would not have gotten the trustee position without the IFC experience and without people like Brandon Cutler giving me advice. Stepping back from that position was one of the most difficult things I have had to do at Purdue. The A. A. Milne quote embodies how I felt. It reads: ‘How fortunate I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Romary looks back fondly on his time as a student trustee and his collaboration on the 50-year campus master plan. “To have a hand in something that’s going to affect the way campus looks for the next 50 years was really neat, and I’m proud of the way the plan turned out.”

Scott felt an aura of comradery during his first Board of Trustees meeting. “I walked into the executive session, and it was like a meeting of old friends. They were ecstatic to see each other, giving hugs, and they welcomed me. It was a neat dynamic. Of course they spar on intellectual disagreements or different ideas, but at the end of the day, they all want betterment for Purdue, its students, community and alumni.”

This story was originally published in our Perspectives publication in the Fall of 2019. To view the full issue, please visit our Perpectives page.