Groundbreaking Design - Purpose-built for innovation

Purdue Engineering Student Council
Go to college. Graduate. Make good. Give back. That’s the usual order of things, but the Purdue Engineering Student Council (PESC) skipped a couple of steps, and the result is something unique almost anywhere and a first for Purdue.

The result of its $250,000 gift will be the Student Projects Facility — a building designed to support multidisciplinary curricular and student-led design build projects; encourage team, organizational and management skills; support student Grand Challenge Design Teams; and support a vast array of student projects, from building solar and electric vehicles to constructing prototype energy-efficient homes, to bridges and robots and Rube Goldberg machines.

PESC had funds available from the Industrial Roundtable, the nation’s largest student-run job fair. 

Caitlin Schmitt, PESC president at the time the gift was made, emphasized that the executive committee set out to select a project that embodied PESC’s purpose: “Our mission statement is ‘Serving students, serving faculty and serving industry.’ When looking through our options, this building was phenomenal in that it fulfilled all three of those pillars.”

Keith Hansen was vice president while the project took shape and recalls one reason the building so appealed to the executive committee: “Among the Big Ten schools, Purdue has a very low amount of square-feet-per-student dedicated to learning and projects. We want to help change that.”

The executive committee envisions the space being used by student organizations for collaborative meeting space, much-needed storage, additional academic teaching rooms, and workshops for design-based clubs. Additionally, it will support PESC’s outreach activities by providing space for events designed to increase youth interest in engineering sciences among elementary and middle school students as well as space to plan the events.

 “While our gift is the first of its kind from a student organization and we are proud to be part of this project, there is still a lot more money to be raised,” said Michael Streicher, PESC’s current president. “The purpose of our donation was to get the project started.”

This facility is a collaboration on shared design space with the College of Technology and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts within the College of Liberal Arts.

“Our hope,” Schmitt said, “is that this initial donation will serve as an inspiration for other donors.”