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Illinois Experience: Stuti Mehta

With more than 43,000 students, the University of Illinois is huge. Stuti Mehta (above, right) has found the University's size is a big advantage for students who want to customize their Illinois Experience to fit their interests, both inside and outside the classroom.

A senior from Glendale Heights, Stuti is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Advertising with a minor in Hindi Studies. 

What attracted you to the U of I?

I’ve had a chance to make what I want to make out of my academic and extracurricular experience here.  That’s what Illinois is all about: adapting the University and its opportunities to the students’ needs. I love that this is a big campus, and that you can make it as big or as small as you want it to be. It’s up to each student to get involved in a community, whether it's 20 people or 500 people.  I love that aspect of U of I; even with so many students, you will find somewhere that you do belong.  

This year, you’re serving as president of the Illini Union Board, the largest student programming group on campus.  How did you get involved in IUB?

I saw a sign hanging in my residence hall freshman year and went to an info session. I ended up on the marketing committee that first year. There was just a lot of potential to explore what I wanted to see on campus, what was already happening on campus, and get a little bit of everything in one place.

I was the director of “traditional” programs last year, those that celebrate Illini traditions. So we do Founder’s Day, the Union’s birthday, Homecoming, Moms’ Weekend, Dads’ Weekend – a lot of large-scale events that celebrate what being an Illini is all about.  It kind of connects students who are here right now with a little bit of history and students of the past.

Now that you’re a senior, do you find yourself mentoring other IUB members in the same way others helped you?

Yeah!  That is a different experience altogether. Sometimes people don’t see their own best qualities; they have to be expressed by somebody else for them to realize, “I can actually do this!” I asked one of our returning board members if she would consider a leadership position for next year because I’ve seen her grow in her position and I think she’d be good at it.  And she said “Oh, I didn’t know this is how people perceive me.”

I was on the receiving end of that the past two years, so being able to do that for others now is really satisfying.  Tolu Taiwo was the president of the IUB last year, and she was fabulous. She’s the one who kind of guided me along in the process, a very positive influence!

As you look toward graduation and entering the job market, how has your Illinois Experience shaped you?

My Illinois Experience has fostered confidence in myself. So I know that whatever field I do end up in, I am equipped with the internal skills that are necessary to adapt myself to flourish in whatever position it may be.