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Robyn Neal

Robyn Neal

Associate operator | ESPN | Class of 2015

Take it from someone who never missed a single Soul Ingredient Night: “What happened at the FAR Dining Hall on Thursday nights was not just a usual dinner but a time for the African-American community to come together and have a place that they could call home," says Robyn Neal ('15), who turned her sideline reporting work for the Big Ten Network's Student U into a full-time gig at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters.

“From the soul food cuisine, to the hip-hop music, to the little dance floor where everyone gathered to do the Illini Slide, it was the one evening we all looked forward to because you knew that even if you hadn’t seen someone in the past few days, you’d see them at Soul.

"Even if a student no longer lived in the dorms, and no longer had a meal plan, they would find a way to get in and be about this moment.

“It’s a moment that’s for the culture. One that made me feel like my identity mattered. That I was a part of something that was bigger than me.”

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