Distinguished Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff Award
Assistant Director, Student Activities
At Plymouth State University, student activities provide leadership experience, opportunities to explore and purse academic interests outside of the classroom, and avenues to serve the University as well as the surrounding community.
As assistant director for Student Activities at PSU, Rodney Ekstrom strives to make the student experience as enriching and fulfilling as possible by highlighting the many opportunities available to students, regardless of their interests. His “the sky’s the limit” attitude serves him well; in 2006 he was named the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Outstanding New Professional for New Hampshire and New England. “If we don’t have a group formed around a student’s particular passion I say, ‘Hey, you can take the lead and get it going. Here’s an opportunity for you’”, he says.
Ekstrom advises a wide variety of student organizations, including PACE (Programming Activities in a Campus Environment), the student programming board; the Spring Fling Committee, the Conning Tower Yearbook Committee; and the Outing Club.
“He has definitely helped shape me into the leader I will become after I graduate, ” one student says. “He listens, acts as a mediator, and sometimes plays an essential role in making an organization more cohesive.”
In addition to working with students and student organizations, Ekstrom has participated on the President’s Commission on Diversity; the University Environmental Committee; the Brennan Hart Scholarship Selection Committee, and the Plymouth Holiday Parade Committee. He was recently chosen to serve as the speaker-elect of the Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff Senate and was appointed to serve on the newly-formed President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability at PSU, a group charged with leading the campus to carbon neutrality.
Ekstrom combines his love of the outdoors and his talent for leadership into much of what he does, both professionally and personally. He has taught technical and skill courses in canoeing, rock climbing, winter backcountry travel and challenge course fundamentals and holds certification in many related fields. Off campus, Ekstrom has served the town of Rumney, NH as an officer of the Community Profile Steering Committee and a fire department volunteer. He has also worked with the Plymouth District Drug Court, serving at-risk and court-referred youth.
With his wide variety of interests and commitment to serving PSU and his community, Ekstrom is a strong role model for students looking for a well-rounded college experience. “We want the students to be independent thinkers with a skill set to make their own mark on the world,” Ekstrom notes, adding, “If I have done my job, they need me less and less.”