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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Jordan Hurst’s role of a lifetime: LGBTQ+ Advisor

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While cocooned during Winter term with those -20 degree wind chills, some students may not have realized that a new face entered Intercultural Life in Dec. 2023. Jordan Hurst, a 2017 Knox alumni, assumed the previously vacant position of Assistant Director of Intercultural Life and LGBTQ+ Advisor.

Hurst was raised in the Chicago suburbs, but attended high school in the city. It was at that high school that they were recruited by a Knox admissions counselor who visited their lunch hour. After visiting Knox and another larger school, Marquette, she knew her decision.

“Maybe about 40 percent of it was the promise of Flunk Day. It seemed very appealing to my 17-year-old self at the time,” Hurst said. “But when it came down to it, I was deciding between Marquette and Knox and I felt like the difference between the two was nobody – none of the students smiled at me when I was touring the campus at Marquette, whereas I feel like everybody did that when I was touring Knox.”

During her time at Knox, Hurst was an incredibly active student, participating in a wide variety of activities and campus jobs.

“I was a very busy student. I was over involved, some might say. I was in a sorority, Pi Phi, I was on the theatre exec board, I was the theatre department secretary, I was an RA, I was Senate Diversity Chair, and then I made time for social engagements and also just to do plays almost every term,” Hurst said.

As you may be able to tell from their theatre commitments, Hurst earned a Theatre degree from Knox, with a minor in social justice. Besides the playbills on her office wall, Hurst brings the performing skills she learned during her time in Knox’s Theatre program into her current life and work.

When Hurst told their mom that they were majoring in Theatre, she was worried that it would be difficult to translate those skills into future work, but Hurst disagreed.

“The thing I told her I was like, ‘I’m gonna be able to know how to talk to people and present and like most people don’t know how to do that and that’s an important life skill,’ and she was like, ‘Okay, I guess yeah’. But I do think it is an important life skill and a lot of people don’t have that. It’s like 80% of life, performance.” Hurst said

As a student Hurst was pulled in many different directions when thinking about their future career. During her first year as an RA, she wanted to go into higher education and even possibly work at Knox in Campus Life. She then changed her mind to acting, and finally settled on becoming a professor. Hurst planned to get a masters degree before then moving on to a doctorate. They earned their Master’s in Theatre.

“I went to go get my masters and I was like ‘hmm… PhD Sounds like a lot, I’m not sure I want to do that,’ and so instead I was like I’m just going to go work and chill for a bit, and I did,” Hurst said. “And then I was like, maybe I should go back to the acting thing and then I like got my headshots taken and was bartending for Broadway in Chicago. And then the pandemic hit and so, like a lot of people, I think, I took a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do next.”

Right before the pandemic started, Hurst was invited, along with current Knox students and other alumni, to help with a program similar to Day of Dialogue at Lake Forest College.

“That kind of was also what was shifting my thought. Before the pandemic started I was like, oh, I would really like to do a lot more like dialogue work and that feels very tied with higher education, or if I want to do like racial equity work. So I spent a lot of the pandemic thinking about that,” Hurst said.

During this time, Hurst worked at a remote corporate job. At the end of summer/early fall 2023, Hurst was invited to work with the Knox social justice program again, this time at Reed College with Tianna Cervantez, Gabe Raley, Yasmine Davila and another alumni.

“This position had just opened up and we were talking about it and I was sort of in the higher education space. We were working with RA’s sort of in their pre-orientation time when doing training and stuff – RA’s and Orientation Leaders, and I was really enjoying myself and I was really enjoying talking with students and working with them. And after that, it took some time to think about it, and I applied,” Hurst said.

Hurst then received a job offer, and started in her new position in the beginning of Dec. 2023. Winter break meant that few students were on campus, which meant fewer students for Hurst to connect with. However, it did allow her to ease herself into the position and set up her office, which made her feel more ready.

Hurst has experienced life in Galesburg and on the Knox campus before, so she knew what she had to look forward to in her move back. Her main excitement was walkability.

“I did like the idea that I would be able to walk to work. I could walk to the downtown area to like some of my like favorite places like Baked. I think that was the thing I was most excited about about moving back, I think I was nervous about working in person because I hadn’t done that in a while,” Hurst said. “It has been more of a joy than I thought it would be.”

Although she’s a relatively recent alumni, Hurst knows that both the world and Knox have changed since she graduated. This led them to enter the job with few concrete plans, and instead placing an emphasis on learning students’ current needs.

“The things that students want felt really different than what I would have wanted as a student or what I would want now as a person who is not quite a decade out of college, but close. So I feel like I spent a lot of time last term getting to know students and trying to figure out what they want. Now, this term I feel like I have a better understanding and I’m able to move forward,” Hurst said.

While getting to know students, Hurst has seen some differences between her time at Knox, and Knox now. She also knows that she has changed too.

“I think people tend to be in their own sort of circles a little bit more. I think there was a lot more overlap when I was a student between organizations and I think there was also a lot more in person engagement. I think the pandemic really shifted the way people want to engage and the way people value their alone time and personal time. And like I see that in myself as well I think that was like a world shift,” Hurst said.

Although they occupy an important professional position, Hurst still has overlapping generational experiences with current students. This is something that surprises some students, which then in turn surprises Hurst.

“I know this sounds silly but like I think because I was a student here having students consider me like an ‘adult’. Like someone said to me the other day, ‘I’ve never heard an ‘adult’ adult quote a TikTok’,” Hurst said. “So sometimes feeling a bit old can be surprising.”

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About the Contributors
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett, Managing Editor
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett '24 (they/them) is a Gender & Womens Studies major. They are the managing editor for The Knox Student. In their free time, they also work on WVKC, Knox's radio station. They have a tiny little dog (Frankie) who loves to join in on staff meetings. Awards Theodore Hazen Kimbale Memorial Award in Journalism - Feature article, 2023
Addison Steinbach
Addison Steinbach, Staff Photographer
Addison Steinbach '25 (any) is a History major and is the Staff Photographer. They love going around campus and taking moody pictures of the architecture.

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