‘To help guide the university forward’: Meet Undergraduate Young Trustee finalist Drew Greene

Undergraduate Young Trustee finalist Drew Greene hopes to bring his love and knowledge of higher education to hold Duke accountable for its commitment to its institutional values, leveraging his passion for uplifting higher education.

A senior from Richmond, Virginia, Greene is majoring in public policy and minoring in education and inequality studies. He hails from a family of educators — his mother was a school social worker, one of his aunts works at Communities In Schools, a nonprofit focused on education and education equity, and his other aunt is a former principal who currently works in curriculum instruction.

“I really enjoy higher education, higher education governance, higher education policy, higher education development and fundraising,” Greene said. Being named a Young Trustee would “be an opportunity to utilize all the experiences I have in that to help guide the university forward,” he said.

Greene has catered his experience at Duke to reflect his passion for higher education. His proudest accomplishment at Duke resulted from the work he and his peers did in the Durham University-Assisted Community Schools Research Collective Bass Connections team. The team is working with a broad coalition to establish university-assisted community school partnerships across 55 schools in North Carolina. 

“[This] was by absolutely no means just me. I'm really proud of collaborative experiences [that work towards] helping to benefit everyone,” Greene said.

Greene has been an undergraduate researcher and data analyst on the Bass Connections team since his sophomore year.

Alec Greenwald, associate director of strategy and operation, has worked with Greene on the Bass Connections team. Greenwald said Greene, despite a lack of prior coding experience, has played an integral role in developing the team’s data dashboard that illustrates public school communities in Durham through an “asset-based framework.” The team is preparing to roll out the dashboard to other communities and public schools across the country.

Through his Bass Connections team, Greene has visited other universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, the State University of New York at Binghamton and Fordham University to observe how other institutions are doing community engagement work, building community partnerships and designing their academic affairs model. These experiences helped him develop a “unique angle” in understanding Duke and higher education overall.

Greene said his work in Duke’s Office of Government and State Relations has allowed him to access pockets of the University community and institutions within it, such as the University Hospital, which has deepened his understanding of Duke’s operations.

Greene hopes to synthesize all the information he has learned throughout his time at Duke as a Young Trustee, though he realizes that there is still a lot that he still has a lot to learn.

According to Greenwald, what sets Greene apart is his commitment to also show up at the grassroots level, specifically through his volunteer work as a head youth basketball coach with Coach2Inspire.

“[Greene] doesn't expect anyone owes him entry anywhere. He believes in developing really authentic relationships,” Greenwald said. “He does that really out of what I understand is sheer joy.”

Junior Sam Fuller met Greene through the international student orientation, where Greene was an orientation leader.

In their orientation group, Fuller said that although Greene did not have the same experiences as international students, it felt like he did. Greene cared about bringing in Fuller and the rest of the students into Duke and the Duke experience, he added.

“Drew truly wants to be involved ... because he actually wants to make a difference, and he has real, tangible viewpoints,” Fuller said. “... His passion and his motivation are very much intertwined.”

Ultimately for Greene, serving on the Board of Trustees means being able to be a part of a group of people similarly passionate about Duke and higher education at large in order to “think critically about the way that the university is going to be and look like moving forward.”

“A lot of it is pushing the way that Duke has historically and systemically operated, and I think that Drew has the capacity to do that … with the goal of [moving] the institution to be a more equitable space,” Greenwald said. 

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Abby Spiller | Editor-in-Chief

Abby Spiller is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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