Stop focusing on the negatives of EIU

Lynnsey Veach, Staff Reporter

Throughout the tough times and challenges Eastern has faced this year, so many people have focused on the negatives.

Everyone has heard statements that do nothing but put down this university, as if it has gone to ruins.

As I scroll down posts on Facebook, I see way too many remarks like these from students and community members: “I came to Eastern because of its safe campus, I should transfer,” “What kind of school is Eastern turning into?” “These kids from Chicago need to go, they are turning our town into the ghetto,” or “What is happening to Charleston?”

Everyone needs to stop dwelling on the recent crimes involving Eastern students and our campus and realize that crime is not what defines us.

I hope to see more conversations about how this is still a great university and that we are lucky to be here.

Eastern truly is a great campus and special part of Charleston.

Where are the comments about the 120,000 hours of volunteer work performed by Eastern students each year and the benefits to our community?

From the food pantry to the animal shelter, from elementary schools to nursing homes, Eastern students are lending a helping hand. We raise money for cancer research and abused children, make cards for veterans, hospitalized children, and hospice patients, help the environment at Douglas Hart Nature Center and the Whiteside Gardens, and extend a hand to the needy.

The positive impact of Eastern students is a story worth telling.

Where are the conversations about students performing research to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, new sources alternative energy, and improved classroom practices for educators?

Eastern students are making a positive difference every day, but those aren’t the topics we are talking about.

Maybe we all need to work together to tell the whole story about Eastern.

That doesn’t mean we should deny or cover up negative stories, but that we must make sure everyone can see the full picture about who we are and what we do.

Without Eastern Illinois University, this town I have grown up in would be absolutely nothing.

Nearly everyone in Charleston has a connection to Eastern, whether it is a parent or relative who works here, currently studies here, or even graduated from Eastern, or business owners and their employees who are impacted by the students and employees of our university.

When Eastern hurts, the Charleston community hurts as well.

Eastern not only impacts Charleston economically, it also brings this community together.

Football and basketball games, the annual Homecoming parade, concerts, art exhibits, plays, guest lectures, poetry readings, choral, and symphony performances – these events add cultural richness and community traditions, but they would not happen in Charleston without Eastern.

Let’s remind people of the great experiences we have had and will continue to enjoy at Eastern, the memories and stories that make Eastern so special.

Eastern shouldn’t be reduced to a list of crimes on a blotter.

Eastern is about people – the diverse friends we’ve made, the professors who show their passion to educate us on a daily basis, the helpful staff who make us feel welcome and at home at EIU.

We need to resolve the critical problems Eastern is facing in a positive way, instead of further shattering the University with negative remarks.

Let’s pull together to build a stronger Eastern instead of tearing it down.

Lynnsey Veach is a sophomore journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]