Student Affairs Spotlight: Ryan Friel
As a student employee for the Emergency Management department and an intern for University Police, junior public relations major Ryan Friel sees a different side of Illinois State University than most students.
Friel has worked for Emergency Management since his freshman year. His work with Emergency Management involves attending planning meetings for large events on campus, building incident action plans, reviewing emergency plans, and working on various other initiatives in the department.
“As part of my job, I work with various units across campus on a variety of projects,” he said. “One of those departments is University Police. During my time at ISU, I built a good professional relationship with the officers and staff of the police department.” As a result, Friel was offered a social media internship with University Police.
As part of his internship, Friel reviews various social media feeds for information that would be beneficial for the department, and researches other department’s social media strategies. He also creates content and ensures the consistent use of the department hashtag, #OurCopsCare. Through social media, Friel hopes to decrease common misconceptions about these departments and increase awareness of the good work the employees do every day for the students of Illinois State.
Additionally, Friel encourages students to learn more about the work of Emergency Management and University Police departments by speaking with staff members. One of the reasons Friel enjoys working for University Police is getting “to see up close and personal just how much the officers [who] walk our campus 24/7/365 care about the students, faculty, and staff.” Friel encourages students to get to know the officers that protect Illinois State’s campus every day. He believes doing this would strengthen relationships between students and officers, and promote a welcoming environment for everyone. Further, he said, “Our director of Emergency Management absolutely loves to talk about the cool and innovative ways that we prepare for emergencies on this campus and would love to sit down and chat about it.”
Friel says that working within the Division of Student Affairs has connected him with professionals who have real-world experience to share and are invested in his success. One such individual is Eric Hodges, Friel’s supervisor and director of Emergency Management.
Hodges said, “Ryan has embraced this role and made it his own. The depth to which he genuinely cares about helping to prepare the University community is evident in his day-to-day interactions. By also interning with the University Police Department, Ryan has gained a very unique hands-on student perspective on the University’s prevention, preparedness, and response efforts. This experience greatly benefits the University and will certainly benefit Ryan as he soon enters his career.”
“Being a part of the Student Affairs family is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. I’m blessed to get to work with some really cool people and become involved in some projects that few other students have been able to experience,” Friel said. “I sincerely hope that the work I do each day shows the value in these two vital departments on campus.”