I was catching up with Phil Miller earlier this year when I asked how things were going at the University of Oxford. He told me that parties are called “bops” at Oxford; I laughed out loud, and insisted that he bring them back to Tufts. He also mentioned that he had been elected to represent Pembroke College, the college where he was studying at Oxford, in the greater Oxford Student Senate. Part of me was amazed at how easily he integrated into his new community, but another part of me wasn’t surprised at all — from high school, to Tufts and now to Oxford, Phil always finds a way to connect with whatever community he is a part of, and works as hard as he can to make it a better place.
I met Phil my first day on campus — I was lucky to live down the hall from him in Hill Hall — and I remember his infectious warmth from my first interactions with him. Throughout the start of our first semester he always seemed to be making our floor laugh — helping us all to forget the nervousness and homesickness that comes with being in a completely new place. Even as the inevitable drift began in our first-year friend group, which once took up two long Carm tables pushed together, Phil never lost touch with us. He makes an effort to keep up with people no matter what, whether that’s hollering at them across the Mayer Campus Center or cooking dinner together with them, and he prioritizes the people and activities he cares about above all else (especially sleep!).
Phil’s tenacity and perseverance toward the things he feels passionate about has amazed me since day one. I’ve seen it in a million different situations, ranging from the Textbook Exchange, an idea that he ran with for his first-year Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate election, to his efforts teaching classmates about complex computer science concepts. The Textbook Exchange has grown far beyond what I ever thought it could be; three years later, the organization is flourishing and has expanded to four universities and counting. It has tangibly saved students hundreds of thousands of dollars, relieving some of the stress around the affordability of learning materials that impacts many of us at Tufts. It’s been pretty remarkable to see his vision from his first week at Tufts thrive the way it has.
Within the computer science community, Phil has also shown his dedication in multiple ways. As a teaching assistant and lab leader for COMP 11, his leadership, compassion for his students and passion for the subject shine through. He enjoys sharing his love of computer science with new students, patiently helping them through the most frustrating bugs. He brings positive energy to Halligan Hall, a notoriously high-stress environment. He’s often the person I turn to for help in dealing with the stress of some of the more grueling classes as well as tackling tougher problems. I’ve also seen him go up to random students struggling with a concept and offer to work through it with them. He’s always there for the people around him, whether they happen to be close friends or complete strangers.
I’ve been lucky to know Phil and see him fight for the things he believes in. I’ve seen how passionate he is about Tufts and how avidly he advocates for his fellow students. I know that he can have a great impact as TCU president, so vote Phil for the Future!