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IPFW student within reach of Purdue board

Photo by: Jonathan Hawkins

Photo credit: Jonathan Hawkins

Photo by: Jonathan Hawkins
Written by: Zachary D. ElickApril 06, 2017

Written by: Zachary D. Elick

For the first time since the position was created in 1975, an IPFW student may serve as the student trustee on Purdue’s Board of Trustees.

Sophomore Lewis Ostermeyer, who is double-majoring in physics and political science, is one of the 10 finalists Gov. Eric Holcomb will select from to serve on the board for the next two years.

Holcomb has until July 1 to make his decision, but he can make it anytime before then, said James Hoppes, vice president of finance for the Indiana-Purdue Student Government Association.

“I really believe that IPFW needs representation on (Purdue’s Board of Trustees),” Ostermeyer said over the phone from Indiana’s State House.

Ostermeyer is currently working as an intern for the Indiana House of Representatives Republican Caucus in Indianapolis. He said he plans to return to IPFW this summer and resume his position as a student senator for IPSGA, where he has served since 2015.

The board, which co-manages the administration of IPFW with the Indiana University Board of Trustees, is made up of 10 members. One of these members is a student earning a Purdue degree, according to Purdue’s website.

Last December, Purdue’s Board of Trustees approved a new realignment agreement with IU that splits IPFW into two distinct institutions. A part of the plan, Purdue will take over all degree programs except for nursing, medical imaging and dental education. The changes are set to start going into effect on July 1, 2018, according to Purdue’s website.

“We’re going through these changes as IPFW (is splitting). I would really like to see IPFW have a voice in how these changes, are implemented … someone who is going to be on the campus everyday to help how kind of bring a voice to how this should move forward,” Ostermeyer said.

Hoppes, who was a member of the Purdue selection committee that chose the 10 finalists, encouraged IPSGA’s student senators last year to apply for a spot on the boards of either Purdue or Indiana University. Yet, he said getting on the Purdue board would be more meaningful than the IU board since most IPFW majors after the realignment will be Purdue majors.

Ostermeyer said he considered applying for the position after Hoppes mentioned it, but it wasn’t until he started his internship at the State House that he felt compelled to give it a shot.

“Down here, I have been fortunate enough to actually sit down and discuss with some of the legislators and people who are in charge of high education policy in Indiana … to just grasp how that system works in Indiana,” he said. “That new knowledge kind of helped me realize my potential that I think I actually have a good voice to bring to the table.”