Brittany Greathouse’s taste in music ranges from Frank Sinatra to genres such as R&B and country.
“Anything but heavy metal,” she said.
Like she gives equal attention to different types of music, the new Undergraduate Student Government president
hopes to meet with and bring together different groups on campus.
Greathouse, a sophomore from Bolingbrook studying accounting, will take office as USG president this fall after she won the election Thursday. Of the many goals she has in mind for next year, student unification is at the top of the list.
“I feel like when you know people on campus, it’s easier to make different connections,” she said.
This won’t be the first time Greathouse has served on USG. This year, she was as the finance committee chair and also represented the College of Business as a senator. In that position, she said she has noticed about 50 of the university’s more than 400 Registered Student Organizations ask USG for funding.
“Although I love the organizations now that come to USG, I like to reach out to people who don’t know about it,” she said.
Greathouse said she wants to get USG involved with more RSOs by introducing different groups to each other. In some cases, she said, some groups can save money and increase turnout by collaborating on events.
She said she also wants to help international students get more involved on campus by making sure they’re welcomed at SIUC.
“If everybody has a collaborative environment, it’s better,” she said.
Greathouse said she will also focus on increasing student involvement across campus and lessening the “get in and get out” focus some have in pursuit of their college degree.
“I want to change their mentalities … to get them out and get them to make more friends, get them to love the campus,” she said.
Brian Nelson, this year’s USG President, said the job isn’t easy. It’s time consuming, he said, and it requires the president to speak up. For him, he said, it has opened his eyes to what an administrator’s job entails.
“It’s an honor to be the representative of the student body,” he said. “I love it, and I’m going to be sad to give up this position, but I definitely feel like I’m handing it over to someone who is well-prepared for it.”
Greathouse said her overall focus is to have a positive impact and better the university.
“I just want SIU to have a better name than what it does now, because it really saddens me to see that people don’t want to come to SIU just because of the talk,” she said.
She said her vice president and chief-of-staff are a good fit for their new roles because they are both involved and personable.
Corbin Doss, a junior from Springfield studying civil engineering, will be vice president to Greathouse. He said he thinks Greathouse is perfect for the job, especially with her experience on the financial committee and her work to allocate limited funding.
“She wasn’t biased at all,” he said. “She got along with the RSOs and was a great mediator.”
Doss said he thinks she is also good for the leadership role because of her experience as the vice president for the SIU National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
As not just president of the USG but as a leader on campus, Greathouse said she wants to leave a mark on the university.
“Usually when people remember people, it’s always for something negative. When I leave this campus, I want to be remembered for something positive,” she said.
Greathouse said she is a fourth-generation student and is the 15th member of her family to attend SIUC.
Her mother Toni Greathouse, whom she cited as one of her biggest influences, worked around the world as an entrepreneur.
“Anything I do, she supports me,” she said.
Through traveling with her mother and being around her nanny when she was young, Greathouse said her first language was Urdu, the language of Pakistan. She speaks English fluently and said she is almost fluent in Spanish and is learning French.
In high school, Greathouse said, her mother initiated her interest in business. With intentions to encourage her daughter to save money, Greathouse said her mother said if she saved $1,000 in a year, she would match it and give her $1,000 at the end of the year.
Greathouse said she would buy gum in bulk and sell individual packs, making a few dollars a day. In the end, she was successful, but the school decided her practice wasn’t acceptable.
She didn’t let the end of her first business pursuit hold her back. Still in high school, she launched an online shoe store, where she said she would buy shoes from abroad, pay a little more than the asking price, and then increase what she paid to sell to others.
Also with the help of her mom, Greathouse said she volunteered at a local television station in Bolingbrook in high school, where she wrote, edited and shot a 30-minute program once a month that highlighted the accomplishments of youth under age 19.
At SIUC, Greathouse said she has been a part of more than a dozen groups in her two years on campus. She said she’s also interested in poetry, spoken word, playwriting and electronics.