Nathan Rowland Miller, Purdue University
2021 Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award Winner, Nathan Rowland Miller
The Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award was created in 1996 to honor Dr. Richard Wood who served as the founding chairperson of Indiana Campus Compact’s Board of Presidents from 1992 to 1996. This award continues Dr. Wood’s legacy as an advocate of students as stewards to the community and recognizes students at Indiana Campus Compact partner institutions who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to community engagement.
This award honors undergraduate students who take action in pursuit of long-term positive social change; inspire and engage other students in community engagement/social change, and show the motivation and potential for an effective long-term commitment to community and civic engagement.
Our winner this year does all that and more!
In her nomination letter, Vanessa S. Pacheco, Coordinator of Civic Engagement for the Civic Engagement & Leadership Development Team at Purdue University said, “During our first meeting, Nathan shared his passion for addressing food insecurity and how he connected this with his interest in collaborating with clients directly affected by the issue—particularly by removing barriers to culturally appropriate food. In Nathan’s view, these barriers go beyond questions of affordability and extend to issues like physical accessibility, environmental degradation, and SNAP qualification. After working closely with Nathan, I have learned that this capacity for systems-thinking has made him into the uniquely reflective and highly-skilled leader he is today—one who has changed our campus community for the better during his time here.
Pacheco continues, “Nathan has demonstrated exceptional talent in using what he learns in the classroom and at conferences to enhance our relationship with our clients and partners. We are currently developing plans for a long-term partnership with the Purdue Student Farm, something we could not do without his knowledge and energy. His ability to quickly process and apply his knowledge is also reflected in our planning meetings—where he uses his critical understanding of the issue to find ways large and small to meet our clients’ needs, such as cooking demos for international students and encouraging professors to add basic needs resources to their syllabi. Nathan also uses this knowledge of the issues to ensure that other pantry student leaders are bought into his visions for the pantry so that they can work together toward a common goal.”
In her nomination letter, fellow student Christelle Mutombo says, “[Nathan] has always been a unique leader. He is always in a positive spirit and more than willing to go the extra mile for others. Whether it be picking up donations for the pantry, being an extra set of eyes to proofread emails before sending to community partners, or thinking of alternative plans of action when things go amuck. I, along with many others, can always count on him to follow through. Another aspect I admire is his ability to genuinely and actively listen. This is a skill many young adults, including myself, struggle with; however, this is not the case with Nathan. Every opportunity someone gets to speak with him, he uses it as a chance to learn more about them. It is safe to say that Nathan leaves people in a better mood than how he found them.