Lundeen aims to be an interactive leader, drive sustainability on campus

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Lane Lundeen (left) has had a passion for sustainability since the second grade. (Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

On a campus of over 17,000 students, Lane Lundeen, junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation, stood out enough to be elected student body vice president. This is a large adjustment to where Lundeen was just four short years ago: attending high school in Fowler, Kan. with a class of 5.

Lundeen said it was a weird transition to campus life, but he has since adapted well.

“I went through Wildcat Warm-Up, so that made [the transition] a little easier,” Lundeen said. “Two of my brothers went to K-State, so it was nice to see Manhattan … almost from a ‘townie’ point-of-view.”

Classes, however, were initially a challenge for him due to the large size.

“Classes were difficult,” said Lundeen. “Seeing just that many people in one day — because there is only 500 in my town — there was now 500 people in three of my classes.”

Living in Jardine Apartments his freshman year was not any easier — he felt distant from everything including campus and other students.

“I didn’t get to meet a lot of people in my residence,” Lundeen said. “I knew the RA better than I knew my neighbor.”

But before sophomore year began, he became a leader of what he knew best: Wildcat Warm-Up. Being a leader and counselor of Wildcat Warm-Up for two years in a row helped Lundeen further acclimate himself to the campus and make new friends.

Lily Hoover, sophomore in biology and gerontology, had Lundeen as her leader when she was an incoming freshman.

“Lane definitely made me feel welcomed and happy to be at K-State,” Hoover said. “After knowing him as a leader and friend, I know that he loves his school and will do anything to make it better.”

A few semesters later, after receiving over 55 percent of the votes in the Student Governing Association general election, Tel Wittmer, student body president-elect and junior in education, and Lundeen won the student body presidency and vice presidency, respectively.

Lundeen said his goal is to be an interactive leader that focuses on success, sustainabilty and service — the three platforms of his and Wittmer’s campaign.

Lundeen’s favorite of the three platforms is “sustainability.” Apart from majoring in fisheries, wildlife and conservation, Lundeen has also been the sustainability director for SGA and been a part of the recycling committee — among other entities — on campus.

His passion for conservation and sustainability traces back to second grade.

“My teacher asked us to make some invention that would change the world,” he said. “And mine was a carburetor-muffler type thing that would go on your car, and instead of carbon dioxide or whatever gas that comes out, it would be water instead.”

As a child, Lundeen noticed the land around his hometown had started to degrade.

“I watched all the trees in the creek in front of our house just die,” he said. “My dream going back, having kids there — I just want them to experience what I did, if not better. I want them to be able to go outside and be like ‘Wow, this is amazing.'”

Wittmer and Lundeen rallied their campaign behind the motto “Better Together.” They plan on focusing on bettering service, sustainability and success at K-State.

Just weeks after the election, however, with K-State’s transition to online classes for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 virus, Lundeen said morale for students and staff are low.

“I know that teachers and students are really sad because they just love campus,” he said. “I think it is hitting teachers a lot harder than students think. They aren’t here for the money, they’re here because they want to teach students and they really miss seeing them.”

Annie Wehling, freshman in human development and family sciences, said her vote was cast based on who she thought would be more involved.

“I did vote for them,” said Wehling. “I just saw them around campus more.”

Hoover said she followed Wittmer’s and Lundeen’s campaign because she knew they could really make a difference.

“When [Lundeen] talks about K-State, he talks about it with pride, so that is why I know whatever changes he and Tel make will be for the good of the student body,” she said.

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