Event Brings Together EIU and Charleston Communities

Students and faculty from the Department of Communication Studies brought together the collective stories of the Charleston and EIU communities in front of a crowded Grand Ball Room in the MLK Union on December 2.

At the event students from three communication courses shared the findings from the interviews that the conducted with EIU students, faculty, and administrators, as well as Charleston leadership and community members. The stories focused on community and relationships, tensions and the declining sense of place, and the hope for evolution and transformation.

Dr. Elizabeth Gill, Dr. Angela Jacobs and Dr. Linda Scholz collaborated to orchestrate the unique event. They worked with students in Introduction to Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Interpersonal Communication and Communication Race and Ethnicity to gather interviews on campus and community relationships.

The event focused not only on the challenges facing the EIU and Charleston communities, but also strategies to build community and to address these challenges.

Considered a success by students and faculty alike, University President Dr. David Glassman commented on the importance of the event for EIU, “I was pleased to see… such a large and enthusiastic audience in attendance. Through both presentation and discussion, individuals addressed such issues as racism and misconceptions. Many valuable ideas were shared… Cameron Douglas, a senior communication studies major, was quoted in the Daily Eastern News as saying ‘the event was just a step toward something bigger… What we do now does not stop at that door; it starts at that door.’ I agree with that profound statement and pledge the university will continue to work diligently and purposefully toward fostering a more positive campus climate.”

The event overall demonstrates the possibilities of communication theory and research for promoting positive community change.

This_is_EIU_panorama

Panoramic photo of the attendees of “This is EIU: Layered Stories of Community, Its Challenges and Its Potential” at The Grand Ballroom at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on December 2, 2015.

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