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Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson

Communications director | American Heart Association | Class of 2007

As part-time jobs go, it didn't get much better than manning the front desk at the Writer’s Workshop.

Not to future American Heart Association communications director Ryan Johnson, anyway.

"It was in the back of the undergraduate library on the lower level, which me and my friends affectionally called 'Club UGL' because no matter the time or the day, you would always run into your friends and it felt like a party," says Johnson (Class of 2007).

"It would take me about 15 minutes to make my way to work, which meant I had to leave early because I was sure to stop and chat with my friends at whatever tables they were hanging out at to study. The library always felt safe, fun and energetic. We were so excited to be a part of this university and we made sure to make every moment of it fun, even while we were studying.

"My all-time favorite campus spot was the back of the Union. I was an Illini Union Board member, so I spent many days and nights at the Union. I knew every inch of that great building. My friends and I called the patio of the Union 'the porch.' We would spend so much time out there, especially when the weather was nice.

"I know I missed my fair share of lectures because I didn’t want to stop hanging out with my friends. It was great when classes would let out because it felt like Times Square, seeing everyone trying to get to their next class and for those of us on 'the porch,' it meant we could expect a new batch of friends to join us.

"We eventually stepped up our experience by bringing a radio out there, so there was always music, dancing and just fun times."