University News

Student Spotlight: Grant Reed

May 24, 2018

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From the Spring 2018 issue of Western: The Magazine for Alumni of Western Illinois University


Grant Reed
Junior Agriculture Science & Political Science Major
SGA President
Homecoming Co-Director
Third-generation Leatherneck

Western Illinois University is a higher education institution like no other, because at Western you are part of a family. Leathernecks are tough; we fight for what is right, and help one another.

My name is Grant Reed, and I am a junior, double majoring in agriculture science and political science. I am very proud to have been born and raised right here in Macomb, IL, by two parents who are proud alumni and employees of Western. Choosing WIU was the best decision I have ever made. I was also so proud when my younger brother Collin, a senior in high school, recently committed to Western. Not only are both of my parents Leathernecks, but my aunts, uncles, older cousin and grandparents are too. Of all the things I am proud to be, a third-generation Leatherneck is one of my absolute favorite—purple and gold runs in our blood.

When I stepped onto campus my first day, freshman year, I had no clue what to expect. I knew a plethora of faculty and staff members, all of the building names and where to park. What didn't I know? What a college class was like, if my major was right for me, how to get involved or any of my fellow students. Being from Macomb made the transition easier, but I was feeling all of the same first-day jitters as my peers. I enjoyed being heavily involved in high school extracurriculars, and knew I wanted to continue to be active and involved.

Within the first three months of college, I had joined a few organizations and began to meet people across campus. One day, a new friend sent me an email with a link to an application. He said it was to be the co-director of WIU Homecoming, and thought I would be a good fit. For a new freshman, it was a long-shot opportunity, considering that I had not seen a WIU Homecoming past the parade and football game, let alone ever taken charge of a committee of 12-15 students in planning a week of detailed, spirit-filled competitive events. I remember sitting outside the interview room on a purple couch, so nervous to go in. What questions would they ask? Why am I qualified for this? George Theotokatos '17, the graduate student working with Homecoming, called me the next day and offered the position to me—the new freshman, who applied purely out of love for his school, community and the alumni of this great institution.

Now, here I am—in total disbelief that I'm a second semester junior. Time really does fly when you're having fun. I'm so happy that I'm beginning my third term with WIU Homecoming, serving as the co-director for two years, and now as the director for 2018. Through Homecoming, I became a member of the University Union Board (UUB), Western's main student programming body. I have enjoyed every second of event planning, management and fun with our family of members. I have met some of my very best friends and made incredible memories through being a part of UUB.

In addition to Homecoming and UUB, last year I served as chief of staff for Student Government, which was a rewarding and educational experience. This year, I have the great honor of serving my school and fellow students as the 2017-18 Student Government Association president. It has proven to be quite the undertaking, managing something that can on its own be a full-time job, while being a full-time student, part of the Centennial Honors College, a member of other organizations, and holding down a part-time campus job in University Housing and Dining. While strenuous at times, there is nothing I enjoy more than working with, and fighting for, the students of Western Illinois University. We are all here because of the students, whether we are one, have been one, are a relative of one, or work with them daily. My fellow students keep me grounded and serve as a daily reminder about why I decided to run for president—to show every student that each of them has a voice in what happens on this campus, that they are valued and that they have someone who will work for their best interests and stand beside them through thick and thin.

In addition to SGA, Homecoming, and UUB, I found a family within the WIU School of Agriculture. The School of Ag is truly like no other program at Western Illinois University, not only because of its family feel, focus on hands-on education and a dedicated faculty and staff, but because we have our own student recruiters—the Ag Vocators. It is an honor to be a part of this team, which is comprised of the most hard-working, dedicated, and compassionate students, and led by the fearless Jana Knupp ‘02 MBA ‘04. Each year, we embark on dozens of visits to high school classrooms, junior college fairs, regional and national conventions and coordinate two School of Agriculture open houses. The purpose: to show students all across the Midwest that every day is a great day to be a Leatherneck.

Looking back on the past few years at WIU, I feel I have been able to live our core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, social responsibility and personal growth. Choosing Western Illinois University was the best decision I have made. I know I would not have been afforded the opportunities Western has given to me at any other school. I am so excited to see what the future holds, not only for me, but for my peers and for Western Illinois University.

We've been here nearly 118 years, and we will continue to be driving forces in higher education for 118 more, and beyond.

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