Students read her emails, hear her talks and walk by her office, but most students do not have the pleasure of interacting face-to-face with Vice President of Student Life Julie Elliot. Eleven years into the position, Elliot is a familiar face on the chapel stage but has interests, passions and expertise that go unnoticed to the average student.
Though each day holds its own surprises, every morning starts out with the same breakfast: a whole wheat english muffin from Trader Joes – one half with raspberry jelly, the other with honey – accompanied by a handful of almonds. Only after she has had her signature breakfast is she ready for a day at work at Northwestern.
Elliot’s position has several components that make up her daily
schedule. Her time is split between leadership, such as her position on the president’s cabinet, supporting students and supporting staff. Overseeing the Bridge Center, Compass Center, Residence Life, Maintenance and Security, Elliot has individual meetings on a biweekly basis with the heads of each department in order to check in, give advice and talk through obstacles. She says that she is “..here for whenever they need me and I’ll advocate for them all day long, but I don’t want to micromanage.” A large part of her job is hiring quality staff and trusting them in their own division. Outside of scheduled meeting times, she also has a chance to connect with her staff through weekly Friday morning coffee. After chapel, the Ramaker staff meets in the kitchen for a time of fellowship and community, which is one of Elliot’s favorite parts of the week.
Another part of Elliot’s routine that she looks forward to is Tuesday morning prayer with the president’s cabinet. She and seven other members meet to share requests from personal life, community events and campus needs. These times with colleagues and friends
create, in Elliot’s words, “Rhythms where we can share life together,” which contribute to her love of her job. Even with her numerous responsibilities and roles, Elliot
says that she never dreads going to work in the morning and that she loves working with her staff.
In between work and home life, Elliot also finds time to show
to NW, she has grown into being a football fan and now regularly attends the games. Furthermore, due to her high status, she is often an esteemed guest at SAC events, including campus’ beloved Bingo, and the upcoming Masked Singer where she will participate as a judge. In addition to singular events, Elliot also says that her favorite season at NW is when new students start to arrive in August. Up until that Friday, campus is quiet, so the returning and new students bring much-anticipated excitement.
Despite being the Leader of the Student Life division, Elliot says that the one part of her job that she would change is that she wishes she could have more interaction with students. She says that,“students size me up before they meet me as just a rule enforcer. I wish there was a way to change that.”
Both in and out of her office, Elliot loves hearing stories of where people came from, what they are learning and how that shapes them into who they are today. While Elliot has busy routines and serious responsibilities, something she would love to include in her schedule is more time with students, so make sure to stop by her office on the second floor of Ramaker to become a part of Elliot’s day, and in doing so, make her day.