Alumni, students to converse over coffee

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

Students will have the chance to network and talk to alumni who will come down for the Black Student Reunion at the “Alumni Coffee and Conversation: EIU update.”


The conversation will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Charleston-Mattoon room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.


The Office of Minority Affairs and Mona Davenport, the director of minority affairs, sponsor all of the events.


Davenport said this event has been at Eastern every year during Black Student Reunion.


Davenport said the coffee and conversation gives the alumni a chance to get an update on Eastern; she said at the event they will talk about the number of African-American students on campus, how enrollment is going and student GPA.


The biggest recruiters are the alumni, so she tries to tell them as much as possible about the university and how they might be able to help, Davenport said.


Davenport said in past years this event has been called something different, but it has the same goal of getting students and alumni together to chat.


This year, following the coffee and conversation, will be a gathering where they connect students with an alumnus who is familiar with their major. She said in the conversation they will emphasis the importance of networking.


“We’re really trying to work to get mentors for our students because one of the things nationwide is that a lot of our students are graduating without jobs,” Davenport said.


While the goal is to update alumni on what is going on at Eastern, the coffee and conversational has not set an agenda or topic. Davenport said often when the alumni come down they chat and they find out all the ways they can help students.


“Our alum are truly concerned about are students graduating or are our students doing well academically or what they can do assist they come down here literally wanting to help our students,” Davenport said.

Davenport said the Illinois MAP grant would be damaging to students if it were taken away; she said many people are depending on the grant and students might not have another way of making up the money it covers.


Many scholarships come from the Black Student Reunion and Davenport said with the budget still at an impasse, students need all the money they can get.


“How are we going to subsidize students who need to get that so our main concern is that we do what we need to do to help our students flourish while they’re here on campus,” Davenport said.


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]