Date: April 8, 2008
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Student Earns Community Involvement Award
John Morley, New Prairie
People Taking Action in Their Communities (PAC) Award Winner.
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Westville – Purdue University North Central student John Morley of New Prairie was presented the third annual People Taking Action in Their Communities (PAC) Award presented by the campus TRiO Service Club to recognize a PNC student who has contributed unselfishly to the campus and surrounding communities.
Morley will graduate in May with a degree in Engineering Technology and a concentration in Building Construction Management Technology. Since enrolling in PNC in 2004, Morley has been an active member of the campus Construction Club and has volunteered to help with projects that utilize his construction and management skills.
He was nominated for this award by Martha Garcia-Saenz, associate professor of Building Construction Management Technology, and Judy Back, PNC Business Representative. Both know Morley through his campus and community projects and each submitted his name for the award, unaware the other was doing so.
The TRiO Service Club presented Morley with a plaque and made a donation in his name to an organization of his choice.
Back led a group of PNC volunteers in renovating an apartment at the Spring Valley Homeless Shelter in Valparaiso. Garcia-Saenz, the Construction Club and Morley were part of the PNC contingent.
“I was impressed with John, not only as a person, but as an individual committed to making a difference in his community. He is mature, capable, focused and someone who commits to a job until it is done and done correctly,” said Back.
“Students sought his advice and assistance. He was fully committed to this work, often staying long after other students had ‘called it a day.’ He was dependable; always there when he promised and ready to work. His knowledge and skills provided great comfort to me in knowing the job was being done right.”
Garcia-Saenz recalls that she met Morley when he moved to Northwest Indiana from Illinois to attend PNC. “He was full of ambition,” she said. He bought an old home to live in and restore. On campus he attended classes and jumped at the opportunity to join the Construction Club. The old home became a “laboratory” for Morley and his classmates to apply the concepts learned in class. That house was ultimately finished and sold. He then purchased a home built in 1895 to update. According to Garcia-Saenz, that work is near completion.
In 2005, he volunteered for the first time with Rebuilding Together Duneland in Chesterton. He worked as a house captain and brought other students with him. The next year Morley was a project coordinator on the board of Rebuilding Together Duneland with his friend Brendan Fitzgerald. By spring 2007 they took charge of 15 projects and each worked about 400 hours each as coordinators. This year they are coordinating 13 projects.
“It is said that if you need something done, ask for help from a busy person,” said Garcia-Saenz. “When someone is very busy, it is because that person wants to get things done. John is an example of this.”
In addition, Morley was part of a class that took on a service-learning project to rework the brochures, website and publicity materials for Michiana Resources in Michigan City.
His grades have earned him a place on the semester honors lists, too.
As a member of the Construction Club, he suggested handing out yellow plastic construction hats to freshmen attending the annual new student orientation. Garcia-Saenz described that soon the campus looked like an “army of Bob the Builders had invaded.” Club membership increased dramatically.
The Construction Club joined the National Association of Home Builders annual competition for college students again this year. At Morley’s urging it competed in a more challenging level. While the team finished 16th out of 30 teams, it did finish ahead of the Purdue West Lafayette team, a point of pride for Morley.
“Our team knows for a fact it can compete nationally,” said Garcia-Saenz. “John is the inspirational force behind the club. He held it together during the hard times. The club is thriving and is well known on campus and in the community. If only there was a way to clone John.”
Added Back, “John is kind and caring in his approach to people and his surroundings. He will make any situation better than he found it.”