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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EIU student government addresses sustainability

According to student senator Thomas Hooper, EIU sends its food waste to the biology department. (file)

EIU student government addressed Plan 2028 with Anne Flaherty and sustainability at the Feb. 28 meeting. 

Plan 2028 is Eastern’s strategic plan to incorporate 14 new initiatives into Eastern’s mission with four overarching themes. 

One theme was the use of resources regarding overall institutional sustainability and business practices. There are plans to review human resource policies and compensation frameworks to enhance the university’s competitiveness and ensure equity among faculty and staff, she said. Additionally, there are plans to diversify revenue by fundraising and applying for grants. 

Student senator Thomas Hooper asserted that the sustainability initiatives in place make more of a change than recycling would as there are limited avenues for recycling in Charleston.  

Eastern is currently switching to high-efficiency washers in the dorms and working to change all lights to LED, Hooper said.  

Food waste from the dining halls is sent to the biology department for composting, he said, and used cooking oil goes to a third-party company to be turned into biofuel. 

Another theme discussed was achievement and investment in policies and resources so that all Eastern students can succeed with greater ease. One initiative to support students is the creation of new active learning spaces whether that be creation or remodeling of a current space. The remodeling of the Center for Student Innovation in Booth library aligns with this initiative, Flaherty said. 

The next theme is engagement, fostering the university’s internal and external relationships. Under this category are four pillars: cultivation of community partnerships to support academic programs, engagement of the county and state, engagement of alumni and engaging the world at large. These pillars seek to increase participation in study abroad programs and invest in community-facing academic programs such as the academy of lifelong learning. 

Another issue tackled by the plan is the creation of a contemporary campus culture, from creating a welcoming and diverse campus to investment in research amongst both students and faculty. 

Flaherty said that currently steps are being taken to expand funding toward student health initiatives but due to a small and largely homogeneous concerning demographics, pool of applicants there has been a struggle in diversifying the Eastern counseling and mental health services center. 

Flaherty shared that student athletes have access to virtual mental health services from all over the country as of December. If data proves the program valuable and the university can finance the program on a larger scale through grants, Flaherty hopes the program can be implemented campus wide. 

Discussion about the value of Eastern’s housing and dining plans went on for a considerable duration of Flaherty’s presentation. She said that housing and dining plan costs going down are improbable due to inflation and Eastern’s plans to enhance housing and dining facilities. 

The university hired a consultant to assess which buildings need maintenance and renovations that can serve students best, Flaherty said. More information will be made available in the coming months when the university gets the assessment back. 

  

Veronica Gipson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Veronica Gipson, Student Government Reporter
Veronica Gipson is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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