Desire to make difference motivates student

By Jen Bland

“Free time” is a phrase that does not appear in the vocabulary of one NIU student.

That student is senior economics major Collin Halliman. Halliman’s time is consumed by his involvement in the Student Association, Alpha Phi Alpha, the Organization of Black Business Students (OBBS) and the Lupus Foundation.

If Halliman was forced to choose only one of these groups to be involved in, he said it would be Alpha Phi Alpha, because of its family-like environment.

“There is a bond between the guys no other organization can replace,” he said. “It’s the closest thing to a family I have here; I feel responsible for the members.”

Halliman is better known to his fraternity brothers as “Uncle Bad Habit” because a member of Delta Sigma Theta said he reminded her of her uncle. She said it was because he was always trying to get others to do things they shouldn’t.

After graduation Halliman plans to attend graduate school to get his MBA. He also has plans to marry someday and have five kids—three boys and two girls.

“I come from a big family and I want a big family,” Halliman added.

Halliman is impressed with the political power students have at NIU. He pointed out that NIU is one of the few universities with such a large student budget.

“It’s important for students to control their own destiny,” Halliman said.

The bureaucracy is Halliman’s least favorite thing about NIU. “It’s very impersonal,” he said. “It’s an injustice to the students.”

As an example, Halliman pointed out how difficult it is for students to get information about serious topics in a timely fashion.

Becoming a member of Alpha Phi Alpha is Halliman’s favorite experience at NIU. “It was the first time I felt part of such an important organization and family,” he said.

Halliman said his worst experience was the day his sister found out she had lupus. This is one thing that led him to becoming a co-founder of the Lupus Foundation.

Lupus is a genetic disease that attacks every organ in the body. It affects mainly women and attacks the white blood cells in the body. Halliman said it is very difficult because it takes the form of so many other diseases.

One thing that drives Halliman to be a student leader is his desire to make a difference. “I want to have a positive impact on students’ lives,” he said.

Halliman said he offers one major piece of advice to other minority men who want to succeed. “Never let anyone tell you you cannot succeed,” he said.

Halliman said NIU is a good experience in helping students prepare for the real world. “Students will realize it after they leave,” he said.

One experience Halliman will take with him after he graduates is the King Memorial Commons dedication.

“That was one of the few times I have seen the entire campus come together for such a program,” he said. “It was gloomy all week and that day the sun just shined; it was like it was destined to happen.”

“It’s (the fraternity) the closest thing to a family I have here; I feel responsible for the members.