PNW’s Hidden Treasure- Luke Brunner

PNWs Hidden Treasure- Luke Brunner

Luke Brunner thinks the people of PNW are its hidden treasure.

As a non-traditional 43-year-old student returning to college after 20 years away from campus, Brunner’ feared that he would not be accepted by fellow students.

He was wrong.

“I did not expect to make friends, only to be looked at politely as the old guy by some of these youngsters,” Brunner said, recalling the first time he sat in the cafeteria. 

“I’m like, ok well here I go, the old man will just sit here and eat alone, I look up to a student waving, asking if I was eating alone or waiting for someone, I said nope just me, he then sat down and joined me for lunch,” he said. “We had a great conversation, it was a welcome surprise.” 

Brunner graduated with a Construction Management degree from Purdue in West Lafayette in 2002. In 2021, he returned to Purdue Northwest as a communications major, with a focus on broadcasting.

What has surprised him most about his return is that students treat him as an equal. 

 “Being treated just like another student on campus, not being made to feel like an outcast for being part of a different generation means a lot to me, and says a lot about the culture PNW cultivates,” he said. 

“An incident that reinforced this feeling of human treasure happened in my broadcasting class,” he said. “We needed to do a video. Technology has advanced a great deal from 20 years ago and I was out of my depth trying to navigate programs I had no familiarity with. I needed to ask questions, but I was too proud or embarrassed to do so,” he said. “Without hesitation, one of my young classmates could see me struggling. In the most reassuring way, he leaned in to help me understand how the program works and how I could do it. 

“He never made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not knowing, the respect was palpable,” he said. “When I walk on campus, I know I am just another student. All that angst was just in my head.”