Best of both worlds

Jenna Croymans Reporter

Elliot Johnson manages full class schedule, full-time job

Some might say maintaining a full-time job and being a full-time student would lead to a black hole of extreme stress and anxiety where happiness would be nowhere in sight; but not Elliot Johnson.

Johnson, a Brookings native, manages a full load of class work as a sociology major all while serving as the director of Downtown Brookings Inc. and still finds time for fun.

 Johnson is responsible for development, conduct and execution of the nonprofit organization. He works collaboratively with others involved in DBI to develop programs for Brookings and executes the plans accordingly. Being the director of an organization for a growing city involves higher levels of leadership than an on-campus job according to Johnson.

“As director of a nonprofit, I find that my job changes daily. I go from event planning to budget financing to partner relations all in one day,” Johnson said. He said DBI plays a unique role in Brookings, whether it is working on seasonal events, programming for Main Street or working with downtown businesses.

DBI focuses on marketing and the programming of events taking place downtown. One of the event series Johnson helped establish was Downtown at Sundown, a program featuring local food, drinks and artists each Thursday night at 5 p.m. July 23 through Aug. 27.

The newest addition Johnson brought to downtown is the “The Urban Campus,” a project started by Johnson and a couple of his friends from SDSU. Since the addition of murals to the alleys of Main Street, Johnson is determined to expand the project to a “Before I Die” wall right on Main Street. 

“The ‘Before I Die’ walls are interactive chalkboards where community members can grab a piece of chalk and write what they’d like to do or accomplish before they die. We’re hoping to have that launched by the end of September,” Johnson said.

As director, Elliot is able to serve the community that raised him.

“I grew up going downtown for so many different events and shopping opportunities,” Johnson said. “It’s surreal to think I’m working for the nonprofit that provided some of those opportunities for me, and I want to make those same memories for the people of Brookings.”