Community to ‘Surround the Castle’ with love

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

Anyone who wants to show Eastern some love can participate in the “Surround the Castle” gathering at 2 p.m. Sunday outside of Old Main.

Jana Johnson, development officer for WEIU-TV, planned “Surround the Castle” and said everyone is invited to show support for the university.

“No matter who you are, young or old, come,” she said. “This is not at all political; it’s just about loving each other. Let’s throw that out for this event, and let’s just have a good time.”

Attendees are asked to bring a paper cutout heart with what Eastern means to them written on it. These notes will go to President David Glassman.

She said people can feel free to use any colors and decorate the hearts however they like.

“This is just an opportunity to let the president know that the community is behind Eastern and that the people that work here appreciate him, the students, faculty,” Johnson said. “It’s just a good time to show love.”

Johnson said she had the idea for “Surround the Castle” after sharing her feelings about Eastern on social media.

She posted that she felt sad for Eastern, because the layoffs and budget impasse had people scared, and she urged everyone to stay strong.

After that, Charleston Mayor Brandon Combs reached out to her saying he believed in her message and wished there was more that could be done.

Johnson then went to bed and woke up at about midnight with a clear vision of what she could do.

“I woke up and I pictured from up above, if you were up in the sky above Old Main, that there were people totally surrounding it just to show how much they love the school,” she said. “And so I thought in my mind, ‘How can we do it?’ What came to mind was love.”

She said after Combs speaks briefly, she would then address the crowd with words of encouragement and instructions to stand along the perimeter of Old Main on the nearby sidewalks.

People who would like to volunteer to help direct people around Old Main can contact Johnson via the WE LOVE EIU Facebook page or by email at [email protected].

She said she envisions people meeting and talking with one another, and she hopes students will come so they realize that people from the community are there for them.

“I’m a community person who grew up in Charleston who loves Eastern, and I want to spread positive attitudes all around the school,” Johnson said. “It’s time that we all come together.”


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]