17 April 2012

Boilermaker Values by L. Blackburn & N. Goldsmith

There is no greater tradition at Purdue than its history.  There are no Boilermaker values larger than those of inclusion, academic excellence, and blazing the new frontier. Purdue put a person on the moon, flew a woman around the world, created Nobel Prize winners, and now it is time for LGBTQ students to enjoy the rich tradition of Purdue University. Purdue was founded in 1869 as a land-grant institution. Purdue was founded for the common person, a place for people to learn and discover regardless of where they came from.

We are both from Frankfort, Indiana. Purdue meant something to us as we grew up, and we are direct products of that experience. We came for the Bug Bowl, Space Days, theatrical performances, and summer research. We were inspired by what Purdue was doing –in the community and on the court. Our intellectual development was most influenced by a Purdue graduate who took an interactive approach to teaching. These are the experiences that gave us the drive to become Boilermakers.

As former presidents of Purdue’s Queer Student Union, we have seen gradual progress. We feel safer on campus now than when we first came. We have come to see people that care, and systems in place to protect students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

From the Chicago Botanic Garden to Capitol Hill, faculty members have demanded academic excellence from us and taken interest in who we are as people and students. As student leaders on campus, we have been involved in updating the nondiscrimination policy, making bias reporting procedures more accessible, supporting the creation of an LGBTQIA film festival, advocated for a minor examining LGBTQ issues, and the hiring of a Director of LGBTQ Affairs.

We have embraced the Purdue tradition of expanding opportunities for others. Every day we take a step closer to inclusion for everyone – whether it is by coming out, attending an event, or by advocating for our fellow students. The Purdue community is striving towards the acceptance of all people. We have grown here. Purdue is our home and our alma mater. We are Boilermakers.

Laura Blackburn, Senior in the College of Liberal Arts, Former President of Purdue's Queer Student Union
Nicholas Goldsmith, Senior in the College of Agriculture, Former President of Purdue's Queer Student Union

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