Western Illinois University

Enoch Pink (2018)

My First Generation Story

Finding your voice is a process that everyone goes through in the hope that one day they may sing. I’ve heard many impactful voices at Western Illinois University (WIU) that have sung songs of diversity, feminism and inclusion. A reoccurring theme is empowering the voices of the unheard, forgotten and ignored. All those pieces have been essential to my growth and education. Now, I sing to you a new song, from voices of first generation students.

As my mom, grandmother and cousin all drove away from WIU, fear or nervousness was not what I felt, but excitement. With my excitement of the unknown, I could only hope that my desire to conquer every challenge put in front of me would be met with people equally as passionate, my voice would be loud and fearless. I ran for president of my resident hall, and became a representative of Inter-hall Council, where I received awards, garnered mentorship from accomplished individuals, and still managed to binge watch an average of three Netflix series a month. Despite my loud and thunderous singing, freshman year did bring obstacles. The newfound independence challenged my discipline and responsibility. Learning to be self-governed in order to succeed wasn’t easy and is still a skill I nurture to this day. My voice was loud but scratchy.

Now my song at WIU focuses on impact. I became a resident assistant; co-president of Western’s First Generation Students; and a member of the leadership cabinet of Black Male Achievement Network, an organization that focuses on improving the black male retention rate at WIU, and I surround myself with individuals who inspire me. In order to become a more effective student I wanted to become a more effective teacher, teaching anyone who might be able to benefit from my knowledge about my own challenges, experiences and triumphs. My reach to those who are younger and more inexperienced is the song that I sing now. My voice is full and resonates.

The journey shapes my melody and continues to change. As a first generation voice, I am proud of that. My hope is that the new song can be heard and understood, not as the most beautiful voice or the perfect pitch, but as one worth listening to. I wish for many more songs from these voices and that they will sing even when their voices shake.

About the Student

Enoch Pink Resized

Enoch Pink is from Chicago, Ill. He grew up in a family of eight: his mom and dad, four brothers and a younger sister. Growing up in his home was never boring. His parents did not attend and graduate from a four-year university, but always believed and instilled in his family that they would. His heart and determination could only be the spirit of a Western Illinois University Leatherneck.

Student Stats

Name: Enoch Pink (2018)
Age: 21
Year in School: Junior
Major: Management/Business
Favorite Course: Business Ethics
Dream Job: Entrepreneur

About the School

img-Enoch Pink Western Illinois University_Logo.jpg

Western Illinois University empowers students, faculty and staff to lead dynamic and diverse communities. We provide student-centered undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by innovative teaching, research and service, grounded in interdisciplinary, regional and global perspectives. We engage our students in educational opportunities guided by a professional and diverse faculty and staff in collaboration with alumni and community partners.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662