Travis Greenlee, the first of the three potential candidates to replace former Assistant Director of Student Activities and Engagement Jil Gates, came to campus Thursday to express his enthusiasm and ideas for Knox.
Greenlee, the current graduate adviser for programming at Western Illinois University, had an open question and answer session with students in the Taylor Lounge where he talked about his impressions of Knox, his past experiences and ideas for this open position.
“I’m going to bring some energy. I’m going to bring a smile,” he promised, perhaps critical for a job replacing the self-described “Master of Fun.”
He said that connecting students to their campus and each other should be the primary focus of his new job and went on to describe what he thought he could bring to the many aspects of the position, including working with Union Board and other student organizations and organizing Flunk Day.
He also proposed a program that would consist of leadership building activities such as ropes courses. Though targeted at student leaders like RAs, it would likely to open to any interested student. He described it as “one of the things that I’m most excited about.”
In his role working with Knox’s many student organizations, he said that he would work to increase collaboration and outreach efforts. Prompted as to what advice he would give Archery Club, as an example, he proposed seasonal events where students could come out and fire arrows at pumpkins or fake turkeys.
For Union Board events, he spoke of the importance of focusing less on what bands or performers that can be brought to campus and more on creating an “experience” that focuses more on how audiences can be attracted to events.
“It’s about getting students to think beyond the ‘what’ of the performer,” he said.
Knox’s diversity presents a special draw for Greenlee, coming from what he described as a “corn-fed” Illinois background.
“I can learn a lot here from the students,” he said, citing the strong international presence in particular as an intriguing opportunity for him. As a graduate of Augustana College, he also appreciates the liberal arts environment.
Toward the end of the dialogue, the direction of the questioning shifted to focus on asking students about their campus, especially concerning what drew them to Knox.
He also asked students to explain Flunk Day to him before being asked what ideas he had for Knox’s unique tradition.
“I don’t know,” he said, citing his limited knowledge of what the day consists of. “A zip line might be cool.”
In addition to his current job, Greenlee is a month away from completing his master’s degree in college student personnel, and he is a student member of the National Association of Campus Activities.
Two more candidates will visit campus later this month.