Communication studies department to fundraise for dry-erase boards

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

In an effort to modernize the communication studies department, students in the Communications Organizations course are raising funds for dry-erase boards from March 30 to April 22.

Eric Echols, a senior communication studies major, said this project allows the department to explore the amount of influence students and student groups have in decisions of funding.

The students will be collecting pennies and saving for supplies for the department.

Echols said the class is having a penny wars competition in the Coleman hallways to collect pennies and have water and milk jugs with each major listed in the department written on them.

“We will use the change raised to hopefully start a new outlook on the way different departments are funded,” Echols said.

Echols said the course is designed to critically analyze the structure of organizations and the bureaucracies within them. The course will help students to learn how to work within these organizations and to provide positive environments within those spaces.

“The goal is to help the communication (studies) department simply because it receives drastically less funding then other departments (in comparison). The project is to illicit change in our own backyards, and to better the learning experiences for students,” Echols said.

Sara Baker, a communication studies professor, said the course is trying to get funding for seven classrooms; others within the communication department already have dry-erase boards, so they are working to be consistent.

The students in the course chose to use dry-erase boards because it was the most practical thing to change; the students hope the donations will well exceed the budget for the boards and provide further assistance to the department, Echols said.

The course is divided between case study discussions and Ted Talks as well as a consulting project. Students in the course will have a student-led executive committee, have outreach and advocacy as well as finance, which accounts for a third of the class, Baker said.

“This is a way to deepen our understanding of key organizational communication concepts and theories, and to get whiteboards into Coleman Hall’s communication studies classrooms,” Baker said.

Baker said the communication studies department is part of the Eastern community, and it will benefit any student who has classes in or uses Coleman Hall.

“This is important to our class because we have been allowed to operate outside the four walls of our classroom and create tangible change for the students of Eastern,” Echols said.

The project is a way for the students in the class to see first-hand how communication in a bureaucracy works, learn the “ins and outs” and how to better prepare for the reality of contemporary organization, Baker said.

Baker said in the past she has taught courses where students had to complete projects, but never in a manner that the whole class needs to have the same outcome.


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].