Get ReConnected - August 2016

Ben Shilson

Student Spotlight

Eagle Scout Uses Skills to Beautify UR Landscape

Ben Shilson has worked for Will Heidbreder, coordinator of landscape management and design for University Residences, as a maintenance and installation student employee since May. Shilson’s previous employer probably gave him a good reference – Shilson learned to love gardening and working with his hands outside alongside his mother growing up.

“I’ve been helping my mom with our yard since she first let me touch a pair of trimmers,” Shilson said.

Shilson worked 40 hours a week all over campus this summer, beautifying the residential side of campus with a team of 13 other students. He’s continuing his work part time during his senior year as an electrical engineering major.

“We do a lot of debris collection. We do site analysis to see what we need to do at specific locations. We plant and raise soil levels where they need it. We mulch everything. We remove sod and put garden beds in where it would help,” said Shilson.

Shilson’s time working around his yard growing up helped him as he completed his Eagle Scout project four years ago. Garfield Park's Children's Garden, located in Indianapolis, was the focus of the project. Though only a 100-hour service project was required of Shilson to become an Eagle Scout, he dedicated 250 hours towards cleaning, picking up brush, and gardening along the park. Even with copious amounts of service hours to prepare him for his current employment in UR, there is always more to learn, and room to improve.

“I’ve learned how to take care of plants the correct way. Well, not just the correct way – the Will (Heidbreder) way. You know how all the green bushes by Windsor look crazy all of the time? We actually trim those back a lot, so that they look less crazy. "Sideshow Bob", that’s what Will wants them to look like – not crazy, but not not crazy,” said Shilson, referencing the bushy-haired cartoon character from The Simpsons.

Not only has Shilson contributed to Purdue with his maintenance and installation job, he also participated in the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band for three years, including marching in the Indy 500 parade at the 100th anniversary event. Shilson is continuing in the concert band as a percussionist and is working toward his electrical engineering degree with hopes to one day design and build remote control helicopters.

Writer: Sheila Swibes

NACURH Bid Proposal Cover and Patch ImagePurdue to Host National Housing Conference in 2017

As a freshman Residence Hall Association representative for Cary Club, Ben Klinker helped put together a bid to host a regional housing conference on campus. Purdue lost the bid, but it gained a class of more involved student leaders who are, two years later, preparing to host the 2017 annual conference of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, considered to be the largest student-run organization in the world.

Klinker, now a senior aeronautical and astronautical engineering major, is chairing a conference staff of 20 students who are involved on campus as resident assistants, RHA, or Purdue’s National Residence Hall Honorary chapter. The task of preparing the bid and hosting is a generational one on campus, with graduating seniors helping last year and first-year students jumping on board along the way. 

“Out of that regional process, there were a number of people who got really engaged and then got others engaged in Res Life,” Klinker said. “Personally I’ve seen a huge change from my freshman year to now in terms of student leadership on campus in the residence halls.”

The bid team submitted a 75-page proposal to NACURH’s national board of directors before the 2016 annual conference in June, and presented the bid along with a video presentation at the conference. The eight-member board voted on the host, and the winning bid was revealed at the close of the conference to much cheering.

Watch NACURH 2017 Mission Directive: Project Leadership Video

Jen Bannon, associate director for Residential Life and NACURH conference advisor, considers winning the conference bid a testament to the growth of leadership on campus.

“When I started, executive director of University Residences Barb Frazee said ‘Student leadership needs to be better on this campus, and I want that to be the focus of your job. Make student leadership happen,’” Bannon said.

The conference theme, “Project Leadership: Your New Frontier,” highlights Purdue’s contributions to space exploration. Project Leadership will feature programs in eight different tracks, including leadership, community service and diversity, and will showcase unique Purdue initiatives like the Executive-in-Residence program.

The NACURH 2017 annual conference will be held May 26-28. Close to 3,000 students and advisors from across the country attended the 2016 annual conference at the University of Delaware.

Writer: Matt Watson 

7 Extra Ways To Use Your Meal Swipes

Residents Enjoying More Restaurants, Takeout Options from Dining's Meal Swipes Initiative

To help alleviate traffic from a record number of residents living in University Residences this fall, Purdue Dining & Catering has implemented 7 Extra Ways to Use Your Meal Swipes for the 2016-17 year, giving students seven new places to use their meal swipes as well as extended hours and more to-go options.

With a focus on Monday-Thursday dinners, the busiest hours for dining courts on campus, Dining & Catering now invites students to use their meal swipes at four restaurants in Purdue Memorial Union, including Pappy’s Sweet Shop; The Gathering Place in Meredith, a buffet-style restaurant with a rotating weekly menu that accepts reservations; Pete’s Za at Meredith, a ready-to-go pizza counter; and the Daily Bite food truck.

A new takeout program was implemented at Hillenbrand Dining Court, allowing students to purchase a reusable container and choose food from the various stations, while Purdue’s three On-the-GO! stores at Earhart, Ford and Windsor Dining Courts are open until 7 p.m. instead of closing at 5 p.m. Additionally, the dining courts added more than 40 hours of operation between them, including Windsor Dining Court staying open until 10 p.m. and Wiley and Earhart Dining Courts until 9 p.m.

“Purdue Dining & Catering is committed to providing the best possible service and experience for students,” said Greg Minner, director of Purdue Dining & Catering. “We’re excited about this new initiative and encourage students to enjoy all the new ways to use their meal swipes as we continue our mission to nourish and inspire the Purdue community.”

Writer: Matt Watson

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact:

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