Student Spotlight: Getting to know Brooke Barnes

Tea Wheat , Courier Staff

Brooke Barnes is a lot like a bumblebee: positive, pollinating the lives of those around her and somehow always wearing something yellow.

Barnes is an exceptional leader, scholar and individual, and her accomplishments throughout the month of October are indicative of that. On top of being a Pre-Nursing major with a full load of classes, Brooke is a Resident Assistant (RA), a Peer Mentor for first-year students, a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary and on the executive board for the Resident Assistant Council (RAC). In addition to this, Barnes attends Inter- Hall Council (IHC), is on the Host Conference Team for the Illinois Residence Hall Association (IRHA) 2020 conference and this month, she was the Co-Chair for Haunted Housing.

In the month of October alone, Barnes volunteered 26 hours of her time to Haunted Housing. Haunted Housing is a Haunted House that RAC puts on each year, that raises money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Macomb. In addition, this event helps to collect canned goods for the Western Illinois University Stuff the Bus Initiative which gives back to various non-profits in Macomb such as the Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) in Macomb, the WIU Food Pantry on campus and the Salvation Army. Her efforts and work with Haunted Housing clearly made an impact, as the event raised about $1,000 and collected over 200 cans.

As a resident assistant, her efforts exceed what words could possibly explain. When entering Barnes’ floor, immediately one is immersed in beautiful decorations, positive quotes, life tips and a general feeling of “home.” This extends far from the appearance of her floor, as she works tirelessly to make her floor home for every one of her residents. In October, she hosted a Halloween Door Decorating contest, a Scary Movie event, a Cookie Baking event, a Pumpkin Painting event, a Jar-O-Lantern event and even a Halloween Floor Decorating event. Brooke took her residents’ interests into account with this, and even collaborated with other RAs to make these programs even more successful.

In addition to her work with RAC and as an RA, Barnes decided to apply to attend the GLACURH 2019 conference. She was accepted on to the delegation and has been such an amazing addition to the delegation. Barnes has helped tremendously with things such as creating a delegation shirt, writing bids and creating the roll call video for Western’s delegation. Despite the fact that she had never done any of these things before, that did not stop her. She spent a lot of time and late nights working on all of these things for the GLACURH 2019 conference.

Her conference involvement doesn’t stop with GLACURH, as she is also on the conference host team board for the Illinois Residence Hall Association 2020 conference that Western will be hosting in March. Barnes is the Director of Programming for the conference, but she never hesitates to help with other things. This month, Barnes has worked diligently to solidify her previous ideas for what programs will look like for the IRHA 2020 conference. Brooke has helped a lot with making sure this conference will be as successful as possible!

Barnes is truly a buzzing bee, flying around and getting the job done. No matter who she interacts with, they can feel her positive energy and her passion. Barnes truly pollinates everything that she touches, improving it and adding new perspectives. From the organizations she is a part of, to the lives of those she interacts with, to the entire community at Western Illinois University. Brooke Barnes proves that one person can make a huge difference.