The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Column: Be a solution to Eastern’s problems

Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote a column for The Daily Eastern News titled, “Be the solution to enrollment problems,” and hopefully I am not imploring these same ideas two years from now.

In the column, I addressed how Eastern’s fall enrollment had declined from 12,179 in 2007 to its Spring 2014 number: 8,833.

I wrote that while Eastern’s enrollment waned for a number of reasons. It was every student’s prerogative (and arguably, an obligation) to act as a recruiter for our university.

Today, I see an even more grievous threat to the institutions such as Eastern all around the state. With this spring’s enrollment of 7,876, Eastern has not rebounded to anywhere close to those 2007 numbers.

With no appropriations from the state, Eastern is owed around $40 million plus another $9 million promised for Monetary Award Program grant reimbursements.

With apathetic attitudes abounding, I don’t know what to do anymore.

It is time for every student to start caring.

Why are we all spending large amounts of money and considerable chunks of our young lives here on campus? Academic prowess gleaned through learning should be why we’re here.

Learning should be fun; learning should be entertaining; learning should be making you want to jump out of bed every morning (or early afternoon – I’m not judging) to tell someone you know more now than when you graduated high school.

If learning is not even one of those things above, maybe simply earning a diploma is why you are here. If so, that’s fabulous!

That diploma could take you anywhere in the world, opening up new pathways you never even knew existed.

Not to toot my own horn, but because of the excellent study abroad program here at Eastern, I spent last semester exploring multiple countries in East Asia. One day I saw Tiananmen Square and another I was crawling through the Viet Cong tunnels in southern Vietnam.

These experiences, whether they occur in Charleston or China, are the reason we are all here to learn from professors who truly care about what becomes of our lives.

However, if your academic career is somehow cut short or the quality is critically lowered because of budget cuts, shouldn’t all students have a vested interest in it?

I know I do, and I hope I have inspired others to care as much as I.

If you really are concerned about education in our state and want to learn more about what you can do to help Eastern remain a viable option for higher education in Illinois, attend the Fund EIU rally being held this Friday at 4 p.m. in the Library Quad.

Show up to express support for anyone who is EIU, from alumni and students to faculty and staff. No matter what one does at Eastern, remember that you are EIU.

Jack Cruikshank is a senior political science major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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