Student Organizations…Not Just For the Free Food

Seth Harden, BSFORS 2010As a recent alumnus from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and the Forestry and Natural Resources Department, the connection and integration of the college experience and the “real world” is very fresh. Perspective, knowledge, leadership skills, and relationships I gained from my in and out-of-classroom experiences have allowed me to be successful in both my employment and personal life. Throughout this post I will stand on my belief that out-of-classroom experiences are just as important as those in the classroom.

I want to challenge all students, whether they are freshmen or upperclassmen, to achieve three things regarding extracurricular involvement. If you focus on and accomplish these three objectives, I guarantee that your college experiences and future will be enriched in some positive way. I have witnessed the power of involvement in my own life as well those of many others.

First, seek an organization or opportunity within your academic discipline. For you FNR students, these may include FNR Student Council, The Wildlife Society, The Society of American Foresters, and several others. These organizations will allow you to build a network with not only your peers, but also professionals and alumni who have valuable insight on job prospects, industry news, and personal experiences. These organizations can also provide important opportunities in the form of national conferences, written resources, and a broad network. Getting involved with the classmates you see every day is easy and a good first step to building your potential.

Second, take time to find an organization that is not directly related to your area of study. Doing this is important in broadening your perspective, meeting new people, and defining your goals. Organizations outside of FNR that I was involved in, that you may be of interest to you also, include Purdue Agriculture Council, Ag Ambassadors, Purdue Collegiate Farm Bureau, or the Leadership Development Certificate Program. These types of organizations are open to all students in the College of Agriculture, no matter what they are studying. Working with your peers who are learning and experiencing Purdue from a slightly different angle, may provide you with a valuable perspective or even a life changing experience.

Third, do not stop at simply joining one of these organizations. Engage in the activities and purpose of the organization. Step out and be a leader. Run for a position on the officer team, share your ideas, ask questions, participate, and get out of your comfort zone. Especially as a college student, your potential is endless and your ability to make a visible impact is boundless. The resources provided to you by these organizations will enable you to accomplish things you never thought possible. The bond you will develop with your fellow Boilermakers through your involvement can very well lead to lifelong friendships and a network you can only get at Purdue.

Be fearless and always go above and beyond. Focus on the big picture and not only your homework. Purdue University and the Forestry and Natural Resources Department are world-class because of the elite students like you that walk in the doors everyday. Uphold the reputation and get involved.

Hail Purdue!

Seth Harden
B.S. Forestry ‘10



FNR Ginkgo Gathering is a great way to sign up for FNR Student Organizations

The Ginkgo Gathering is held every fall semester. Watch the FNR Calendar for dates and times. In addition to food, games and door prizes, all FNR student organizations will have information about their callouts that evening. This is a great way to learn more about the student organizations in the department, meet our faculty, staff, and students, AND get a free meal…that isn’t pizza!


For more information contact the FNR Office of Student Services at 765.494.3591.

To view student opportunities, FNR Student Organizations.​

Purdue Arboretum Explorer - Ginkgo biloba tree, located by Pfendler Hall.​

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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