“Fall Frolic” to give students connections with Charleston businesses

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief

Instead of driving around the city, students will be able to meet local businesses from all over Charleston by visiting the Library Quad during the Fall Frolic: Business Expo.

A variety of twenty-three local businesses will provide students information about the services they provide from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Business Expo will offer a range of businesses from service, retail and fast food including My Charleston Dentist, Burger King and Mack Moore Shoes.

Each business will have a table where it will promote their services by using different interactive methods including giveaways, food and coupons.

The purpose of the Business Expo is to help educate the students about the Charleston businesses and services as well as help local business build relationships with the students, Crystal Brown, assistant director of the civic engagement and volunteerism office, said.

“It’s beneficial to the new students, staff and faculty to learn what is around the community and also for the new businesses that we have coming this year,” Brown said. “It’s beneficial for them to promote their business and show the students and faculty what they have to offer.”

Beth Gillespie, interim director of civic engagement and volunteerism office, said most students do not interact with the Charleston community because the students are unaware of what the businesses have to offer.

“If you don’t leave campus it can feel like campus is your home, but we just want them to know there are different places to eat, businesses from an entertainment perspective or just a community resource,” Gillespie said.

Each business will have a table where students can learn the business location, the services they provide and how the students can possibly participate with the business in the future.

Sophomore engineer major Francisco Castellanos said he feels more connected with campus only because he does not know much about the different Charleston businesses.

“I don’t know much about the local businesses besides the food places, but I believe it would be cool to attend,” he said.

Miles Williams, political science graduate student, said the campus and surrounding city tend to forget about each other and create two separate worlds that do not interact or communicate with one another.

“It’s something all colleges deal with that tension between students and community,” Williams said. “I believe it is important that faculty and staff help prevent students from feeling separate.”

The budget impasse affected both the community and the campus and this common struggle helped establish a better relationship, Gillespie said.

“One positive piece of the budget impasse is the community has put their arms around EIU,” Gillespie said. “We are standing together in a much better way then we were 24 months ago.”

Brown said The Civic Engagement and Volunteerism Office wants to promote ‘communiveristy,’ which is a space where the community and the campus work as one.

“We really want them to feel like Coles County is their home for the next four to five years,” Brown said.

Castellanos said the expo would help build a better relationship between the businesses and the students as long as both parties participate.

“As long as we put in the effort I don’t see why it won’t work,” Castellanos said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]