What started as a couple-hours-a-week volunteer gig wound up being the experience Victoria Johnson treasures most about her undergrad years at Illinois, going on 30 years later.
“From my first year, I was lucky to become involved in Illini Union Board activities — first as a volunteer for the Film Committee and later as vice president of the board,” says the Cal-Irvine professor of film and media studies (BA ’90, cinema studies/political science).
“Most of my closest friends at Illinois were on the board or involved in board volunteer activities and I remain close with them and with my staff advisors from IUB to this day.
“I remember spending many hours working — probably entirely too hard — in the offices overlooking the Quad while eating countless bags of freshly-popped popcorn and drinking far too much black coffee from the Union basement.
“My other home away from home was the library, which remains unmatched in all of my various academic travels. I had study spots in the undergrad library, the main library reading room and the business library. Even though my majors were cinema studies and political science, that was my favorite space — so, so quiet and everyone was very focused.
“I am especially indebted to my professors who set me on my career path and made Illinois feel like a much smaller campus than it might otherwise seem.
“David Desser and James Hay, in particular, encouraged my scholarly work and our small, tightly connected cohort of cinema majors was a joy to travel with through the program.”