This is the second in a three-part series profiling the finalists for the undergraduate young trustee position.
For senior Adam Grossman--a young trustee finalist and die-hard Cleveland Indians fan--finding an escape from the basketball fanaticism that dominates campus culture was a difficult task during his first couple of years at Duke.
But in his junior year, one of Grossman's public policy studies professors challenged him and his classmates to create a realistic service project that would benefit both Duke and Durham. Grossman was able to harness his passion for baseball and his leadership qualities to create fundraising and coaching programs that have given a jump-start to inner-city youth athletics in Durham.
Now, more than a year after forging a partnership between Duke and the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League, Grossman hopes to use his leadership, ambition and personality as the next undergraduate young trustee.
"Adam has the wonderful combination of being someone who is creative, idealistic and simply a very nice person," said Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies Anthony Brown, who issued the challenge to Grossman's class.
Though idealistic, Grossman's vision of Duke's future is one he says can be accomplished with the support of the University, the students and the community. It is also the focal point of his campaign for young trustee.
"I want to create an environment in which students' passions are connected to their studies," he said.
Such a system has undoubtedly worked for him. Along with classmate Jared Weinstein, Grossman was able to combine his love of baseball--he hopes one day to be the general manager of the Indians--with his studies at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy to create the Fundraising Initiatives Enterprising Leadership for Durham Sports.
"Adam has brought young ideas and a very aggressive style to getting things done to the board of the [Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League]," said Herb Sellers, director of parks and recreation for Durham. "He is really a Ofocus person.' Once he gets focused on what he wants to do, he just does it."
After receiving a grant for over $15,000 from Major League Baseball and organizing a fundraiser that brought in almost $10,000, Grossman and Weinstein now hope to renovate two Durham baseball fields.
Grossman's work with the athletic league is not the only endeavor he has pursued at Duke. A public policy major, he is also a member of Duke PALS, which provides "big brothers and sisters" to the children of University employees, and the College Bound community service program. He also served on East Campus Council his freshman year.
Grossman acknowledged that he does not have as much experience dealing with University issues as other student leaders.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
"But I've had to deal with the same bureaucracy as all of them," he said.
Grossman's peers also say they see him as a strong leader.
"Adam would make a good young trustee because he listens," said junior Donnel Baird, who works with Grossman on FIELDS. "This is far and away the primary responsibility of leadership, and he does it very well, whether he agrees with someone or not."
In addition to combining students' passions with their education, Grossman also lists diversity and social life as important issues facing the Board of Trustees.