Campus leaders optimistic about future

Samuel Nusbaum, Administration Reporter

After a stressful spring semester as a result of the budget impasse, campus leaders are looking ahead to a new year.

Though Eastern President David Glassman expected a drop in the enrollment of new students because they are leaving the state as a result of the budget impasse, he still thinks there will be a quick rebound when the state passes a full and comprehensive budget.

Once this happens, Glassman said Illinois high school students will look at Illinois public colleges and universities.

Derek Pierce, student vice president of student affairs, said he wishes there were more incoming students this semester.

“We still got a great group of students coming in,” Pierce said.

Pierce works in the Admissions Office and said he is working hard to get more people to come to Eastern.

Pierce said he thinks the bad publicity of the budget impasse scared some students away. He added rumors that were being passed around campus such as the one that Eastern is shutting down did not help things at all.

Student body president Catie Witt said she thinks that the biggest reason students are skeptical about Eastern is the budget situation.

“Everyone in the state was in the same boat as us, but I think everyone thought EIU was doing worse because we had the loudest voice. So I think that really hurt us,” Witt said.

To remedy this, Witt said when she goes home, she visits schools and tells people about Eastern.

She wants to let students in her area know there are universities they can go to besides the Southern Illinois University campuses.

Witt said Eastern has received a stopgap budget, but the amount of money is not enough for a year. Witt said she is surprised that education has become such a political issue.

“It’s just too political for me, and I feel like education should not be political… I believe it should be bipartisan,” Witt said.

Along with hopes for the new year, the leaders also had advice for incoming students.

“Make sure you avail yourself to all the helpful resources we provide and never be afraid to seek help and assistance when needed,” Glassman said.

Pierce’s advice to incoming students is short and sweet.

“Get involved, plain and simple,” Pierce said.

Pierce said students are happier when they are involved, and loyalty to the university goes up as well. He said students feel more connected to the school, and students will make friends that last a lifetime.

Pierce said there is a group for everyone on campus, and students have the possibility of creating a group if a certain interest is not being represented.

Witt said that students can find their place at Eastern if they look. It can be anything from Greek life, to joining clubs, to even spending time with friends from work, she said.

Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 582-2812 or [email protected]