When Eric Johnson of Breese, Ill., enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University, he made a decision to be active on the University’s campus and jumped in with both feet.
Eric, who is a double major in engineering technology: electrical and control and telecommunications and computer networking, plans to graduate in May 2011, but until then, he intends to continue to invest his time into bettering Southeast.
Eric has held numerous leadership positions while at Southeast. He has been a member of and president of the Student Alumni Association, president of his fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, interim resident scholar for Sigma Phi Epsilon and president of the Southeast chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa. He works as a computer lab assistant and interns with the Southeast Information Technology Help desk as a customer service representative and technician. Eric was also a finalist for the 2009 Man of the Year award.
“I knew coming to Southeast there were numerous ways of getting involved on campus. Being a two-sport athlete and a member of a few other extracurricular activities in high school, I knew I would need to do something to fill my time,” Eric said. “My involvement with these various organizations has provided me with many skills students aren’t taught in their three-credit-hour courses.”
The organizations Eric heads are major, campus-wide organizations, meaning the work and time he devotes to these groups are that much more valuable to the University. Eric says his involvement has not only allowed him to mature as a student, become more independent and build lasting relationships, but also has made his time at Southeast that much more enjoyable and rewarding.
“Being involved on campus has helped me get the most out of my tuition and my time spent here. It has led me to meet some of my best friends, who have shaped me into the person I am today, and I’ve had a blast doing it all so far,” Eric said.
With his participation in the Student Alumni Association and as a finalist for Man of the Year, Eric has served vital roles in Southeast’s Homecoming preparation, which he says have been his favorite moments.
“As part of the Association, I was able to see the preparation that goes into making that event a success,” Eric said. “It’s a great day because it’s one of the few times the campus and community come together and get involved in the University spirit.”
Eric admits he originally did not even plan on joining a fraternity, but once he realized the benefits it could provide him on campus and beyond the hills of Cape Girardeau, he decided it was something in which he wanted to participate. He chose Sigma Phi Epsilon, and ultimately became its president, which he says was his most rewarding experience at Southeast thus far.
“I chose Sigma Phi Epsilon because of its members’ great involvement, grades and standards. It’s the largest fraternity on campus, so it was a great honor when I was elected president. I learned a lot, and it was stressful at times. Having the respect of my chapter was pivotal to my success,” Eric said.
During his time as his fraternity’s president, Sigma Phi Epsilon received the Golden Buchanan Cup for its chapter’s excellence in all areas of chapter operations, which Eric says is his proudest accomplishment in the fraternity.
Time management for Eric is obviously crucial, and it seems he does it with ease.
“Balance is key to juggling a busy schedule, but with the right mind set and determination, it’s not that hard. Laziness is the main reason students fail—they skip a few classes and would rather watch TV than join a club or do homework. I just multitask and set my priorities,” Eric said. “It helps to write down what I need to do in order. Having time management makes everything a little easier and stress-free.”
Eric says he feels fulfilled in his time at Southeast and gives a hint to help other students feel the same.
“Get involved, and get involved early. Now is the time you can invest yourself into personal growth and Southeast. I think those who just drift through college don’t learn nearly as much as those who pursue involvement,” Eric said.