Category Archives: Campus

TRiO opens door for more students

By: Jazmin Smiley

Staff Reporter

As a way to broaden the academic program at Eastern Illinois University, TRiO held their first awareness week February 17 through the 21, offering a variety of information on the program itself.

The week of events was led by twelve TRiO Ambassadors, consisting  of active members within the program.

“TRiO week” was held to spread the word on campus and inform students on their services and how to get involved,” said  Terricka Christian, TRiO Ambassador.

Director of TRIO Student Support Services, Maggie Burkhead, said that “TRiO is a grant funded program by the Federal Department of Education.” 

The essential goal of TRiO aims at  increasing retention and graduation rates of students that fit the criteria of low-income households, first generation students, and disabilities/disadvantaged.

Not only does TRiO  offer a platform for students to excel academically but they help students financially through scholarships that go towards tuition and housing fees.

Many TRiO advisors assist with scholarship applications and approve applicants that meets the set criteria such as a standard G.P.A. and/or essay written .

TRiO also requires their students to meet with their advisor once a semester and attend at least two TRiO workshops, but they can attend as many as they want. These form of workshops cover a wide variety of subjects such as dealing with stress, how to manage time, and signs of toxic relationships.

“The advisors also assist their students in formatting a resumes, helping them utilize the academic/social resources available on campus and encouraging them to participate in graduate school fairs,” said Burkhead.


President of the TRiO Ambassadors, Denzel Jones said, “TRIO provides a friendly environment where he has learned leadership, scholarship information, counseling/ advising and networking opportunities.”


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Are We Free Yet?

 By: Jazmin Smiley

Staff Reporter

Eastern experienced more of homecoming as, Dr. Janice Collins returned  back to campus to give an insight on “Active Centralized Empowerment”, on Tuesday  in Lumpkin Hall.

Collins filled right into the theme of EIU Black History Month as redefining blackness, breaking chains and building leaders.

Her presentation embodied this theme as she spoke to a large crowd of  young African-Americans men and women, on how to free their minds from society: media and stereotypes.

After leaving EIU, Dr. Janice Collins became an Assistant Professor of Journalism at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Collins is a multi-award winning journalist with 20 years of experience in the journalism field and an award-winning professor with 11 years of teaching experience.

Her research focuses on leadership development and issues of self-empowerment, gender and race in media, journalism and college classrooms and newsrooms.

She said recent trip to the Sierra Leone, West Africa inspired the need to speak to Eastern for Black History Month.

Upon embarking on her journey to Africa, she found out that she is 100% Mende, a tribe of the Sierra Leone.

“When I went to Africa I found the African side of myself,” Collins said.

Collins said to understand how to be free, “we must first understand where we came from”.

She explains how to be free from slavery through self awareness of our culture, history and ancestry.

“There is so much more to us than slavery,” Collins said.

She said the reason why Black people struggle to find an identity in America is because they lack strong fundamental footing other than slavery.

“The media teaches us we are connected to slavery, not Africa”.

Nursing major, Monique Elam said, “As African-Americans we are more of the American and less of the African.”

Some may wonder, in 2014, how are African-Americans not free from slavery?

She explains that African-Americans are not free because they are marginalized. They see themselves as other people view them, through portrayals in film, and television such as “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta”.

Collins said colonization is another reason African-Americans are still unable to be free, “putting each other down because of hair texture and skin color is what hinders us from being a strong cohesive unit”.

“We have continued to engage in self-hate because we are fatigued by the struggles of racism,” Collins said.

The goal of Active Centralized Empowerment is to challenge institutions rather that the individuals outside of our circle.

For example be empowered if you are from a one parent household, because of that you have a multitude of skills not many people would have learned otherwise, she said.

“We must not fall victim to our societal issues but empower and overcome them,” said Dr. Collins.

Communications studies major, Stephanie Jenkins said, “This presentation made me look at how I look at myself. I want to strive harder to be a success in my own light and not what people expect of me.”

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Black History Month: Don Lemon

By: Roberto Hodge

Staff Reporter

In 2009, Ebony named him one of the most influential blacks in America in their Ebony Power 150.He has also won the Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. Snipers and many other accolades for his reporting.

Lemon graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in broadcasting and also attended Louisiana State University; his journalistic beginnings were at WNYW in New York as a news assistant while he was still in college.

Lemon even worked at numerous other news stations such as NBC, KTVI-TV in St. Louis, and NBC5 News in Chicago before joining CNN in 2006.

During his stay at CNN, Lemon has covered many landmark news stories such as 2013’s Zimmerman trial, the Boston bombings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.

His reporting is often an inspiration and admirable to many journalists, and known for not pulling any punches in his No Talking Points segment on CNN.

CNN's Anchor, Don Lemon

CNN’s Anchor, Don Lemon

Most recently, Lemon has been criticized for his lack of objectivity by Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Gregg Jarrett for his response to Michael Dunn not being convicted of first-degree murder. Lemon joined the millions of African-Americans by publically stating on CNN he was in fact, “Pissed off,” in the verdict of the trial. However, in doing so, Jarrett referred to Lemon as the “Al Sharpton of CNN.”

Lemon, who came out in 2011, joins the small list of known homosexual African-American journalists on TV such as Robin Roberts who revealed she was gay this past December. Lemon remains an important voice within journalism and the African-American community today.

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Interracial relationships on-campus

By: Jazmin Smiley

Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this piece does not reflect the views of FRESH! staff and/or the Journalism department

In the last 30 years, the number of interracial marriages in the U.S. has more than doubled, according to reporter Cynthia Ramnarace, of the AARP Bulletin.

Being a part of an interracial relationship myself, I believe this statistic to be true. As we look throughout our campus and communities, interracial couples are becoming less of an anomaly in our societies. This is due to one major factor, Asst. Professor of Anthropology, Angela Glaros, said that the acceptance of interracial relationships is a direct effect of the civil rights movement and activism. Author B.A. Robinson of Religious said that in the 1950s most states in the U.S. enforced miscegenation laws that restricted marriages on the basis of race.

Robinson said that the miscegenation laws were ended in 1967 due to the Loving v. Virginia case. Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested and exiled from their home of Virginia for being an interracial couple.

“The Supreme court however, ruled it was unconstitutional to practice laws that banned interracial marriage because it violated the Equal Protection Clause (14th amendment),” Robinson said, “in addition to violating principles of racial equality and wrongfully abridging the fundamental right to marry.”

It is hard to think just about 60 years ago it would have been illegal for my significant other and I to be together; based on the mere fact that I am African American and he is of Polish descent.

We have surely come a long way and have reached many milestones. I have seen numerous interracial couples on campus and it is very empowering. To see others display their love and affection without restraints or feelings of shame is beautiful to see.

We are all in the end human and all want to find that special someone to spend our lives with.Jennifer Canavan, Junior, Health Studies major, has been a part of an interracial relationship before.

“ I don’t find a problem with interracial relationships, I think everyone should be able to love who they want to love,” she said.

After talking to several students, I’ve come to find out that many students have this same outlook on interracial relationships and that it is an individual choice, that shouldn’t be frowned upon.Today’s society has definitely have become more accepting but there are still struggles for interracial couples.

Professor Glaros said that the only way to battle false stigmas and prejudices is to break the social construct with activism, education and exposure.

Glaros also emphasis an anthropologists view, “Race is a social construct, it is not real in a biological sense. Its more of a cultural view, race doesn’t exist but it exists in today’s society,” Glaros said.

This essentially means, that in our society we use race to understand differences and make classifications between each other.

However in the end, biologically, we are all human and loving another human and disregarding “race” is perfectly natural.


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What’s love got to do with it?

Shamerea Richards, junior Communication major speaks passionately on her views of men and women.

Shamerea Richards, Junior, Communication major speaks passionately on her views of men and women.

By: Roberto Hodge

News Editor 

What is considered love?

As students pondered on this question during the Melanin Monogamy event, the answers were examined on a different spectrum.

The event was hosted by Eastern’s S.T.R.O.N.G.MENtoring and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Thursday night, in recognition of Black History Month.

The question itself seemed to create a rift in responses between the audience coming from diverse backgrounds.

“Love nowadays is so focused on image,” said Kendall Jackson, Sophomore Theatre major .

Another student, from the back of the dimly lit auditorium said that love is often mistaken for lust, which ensued a consensus of clapping from the rest of the audience.

“Lust is physical, love spiritual,” said  Kamaria Patterson, Junior,  Health Administration major.

The two comments forced the topic of “love” to take a different road. As members of  the audience began discussing the issue of love and lust, and it was impossible to separate the two seemingly related actions.

“A person can make good love, but it wouldn’t be love,” said Shamerea Richards, Junior, Communication major. She called it a “Falsified fabrication of love.”

Richards, whom was passionate with the words said there was also a difference between a girl and a woman.

“A woman has standards,” she said.

Kevin Hall, Public Relations and Marketing Chair for STRONG, explained that the event was made to give insight on successful relationships.

Many students, unanimously agree that the idea of men not courting women is nonexistent.

“If you can’t embrace yourself, how can you do for yourself?” said Hall.

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‘Soul Food’ Satisfies Students

By: Clarissa J.Wilson


In honor of Black History Month, members of the Delta Beta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, cooked a soul food inspired meal for students and faculty on campus.

Many of the students filled the Cultural Center, despite the cold weather, looking for a plate of infamous greens made by one of the sorority members.

“Sherry’s greens, I just keep hearing so much about them”, said Cambreona Hendricks. “I gotta taste them for myself”. 

Some students chat while waiting for the food to arrive.

Some students chat about how hungry they were, while waiting for the food to arrive.

As the food simmered on the stove, faces filled with anticipation for plates to be given out. Some spectators that attended, came to support the sorority, as the money donated for the meals, went to the organization.

Keithara Baker, Parliamentarian of Sigma Gamma Rho, spoke with reservation, of her significance with Black History Month and why her sorority chose to celebrated it at Eastern.

“Back in slavery days, when African Americans had no food, they made food out of animals and would share those moments with their families”, said Baker.

She said it was those lessons that she learned throughout history, that made it important for Sigma Gamma Rho to bring the campus and community together. 

The out pour of students created a dilemma where the sorority actually ran out of food.

President of Sigma Gamma Rho, Regime Billingsly said, “We got a lot of support even after the food was sold out”.

Students at Eastern Illinois University's Cultural Center, lining up for their soulfood plates to go.

Students at Eastern Illinois University’s Cultural Center, lining up for their soulfood plates to go.

Ultimately, the “greens” everyone wanted did not stop people from grabbing one of the $5 plates. All of which included:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Dinner roll
  • Greens
  • Chocolate cake
  • Spaghetti
  • Beverage included

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Filed under Campus, Community, Cooking, NPHC

The State of Black America

By: Roberto Hodge

News Content Editor

What is the current state of being black in America?

Is it that blacks have to alter what they say or do just to blend or appease the masses? Or is it blacks have to be vigilant in how they represent themselves to the world? Black students at Eastern chewed over those thoughts at the State of the Black Union Saturday.

The open discussion  was held by the Africana Studies Student Association (SANKOFA) in efforts to bring to the forefront, issues that affect African American students, at Eastern Illinois University.

ASSA President Brandy D. Woods kicked off the meeting with a discussion about the  Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederate South in 1863.

“They attempted to shackle not only our bodies, but our minds,” said Woods.

Woods said slavery is behind blacks and no longer exists blatantly, but she argued that the issues associated with slavery still exists in modern society. However, in covert forms of  institutionalized racism, racial profiling, and mass incarcerations, identifies with slavery like an elephant in the room.

“In many ways, we are still enslaved,” said Woods.

She said lynching has taken on a modern form for African-Americans along with a new Jim Crow, by showing the examples of lynching by recent widely-known black deaths in the media. Black slayings that hit media such as Sean Bell, Oscar Grant III, whose life and death was made into a film, Fruitvale Station, last February’s Trayvon Martin, and most recent, Renisha McBride.

Woods expressed blacks also need to be held accountable for slaying some of their own people, Joseph Coleman, Derrion Albert, and Hadiya Pendleton were some of the deaths she cited.

“We are contributing to our own demise,” said Woods.

She ended her introduction stating the premise of the meeting is to reflect on where blacks have been and were they’re going as a people.

“If we forget about the extraordinary shoulders in which we stand, then we have given too much power to the people who oppress us,” said Woods.

Graduate student Victor Jones gave his personal take on the state of the black union by saying everything starts with black men.

He said men are supposed to be leaders and that plays an important role in the establishment of black families. Jones explained  by having education a open dialogue where blacks can speak on issues affecting them are ways to help combat the situation.

Jones  said ” if a black child has both parents, their more likely to succeed in schools.” He said in order for that to happen, that blacks need to respect on another.

“It’s hard to respect one another when we don’t respect ourselves, when we’ve never seen anyone respect our mothers or if we’ve never seen our fathers,” said Jones.

Woods said she felt that blacks need to be responsible with how they act, she said when blacks understand who they are, they develop a better sense of self-respect; however, blacks need to be vigilant.

Graduate student Sarah Porter-Liddell said blacks should take a page from the Native Americans.

Part way though the meeting, a man, who sat patiently next to Porter-Liddell by the name of Jeff McCoy rose his hand to speak on the matter of blacks.

He started his speech with saying that blacks tend to look at the glamorous things in life. McCoy said blacks tend to push their children to be models or football players instead of doctors and lawyers, which isn’t bad he admitted, but he felt as if blacks have lost sight of what’s important.

He raised the question of, “What entices us to be better people?”

Woods’ view was that blacks tend to do what they know and what they see, she gave the explanation of a man rapping while living in a poor neighborhood, he makes it out of the “hood” and starts a better life for himself.

“That is my ticket out, that’s what I know,” said Woods.

Senior Chemistry major Marquita Batiest complimented Woods’ claim by speaking about the current state of black women.

She said the world is being exposed to a new type of woman, (video vixens), the younger generation of girls are following her because their not seeing that powerful business woman model. 

“In reality, baby girl doesn’t have any money, she’s just an extra,” said Batiest.

Porter-Liddell stated one of the current issues facing blacks now, is that parents are coddling their children to the point of being fearful of allowing them to be independent.

Woods said that blacks need to not worry about what the mainstream thinks black should be, she said blacks need to create an identity for themselves.

“We need to develop the fearlessness that our ancestors had,” said Woods.

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GLAM to help with self-esteem for students

By: Brittany Bryant

Staff Reporter

GLAM takes pride in being an organization that serves EIU campus by being a leader and bring exciting productions for the enjoyment of faculty, students, administrators, family, and friends.

GLAM model agency said fashion is a synonym of art and theatrical, it is an area to explore creativity and push the envelope.

“Fashion is art; I think you can make anything into fashion,” said Kendall Jackson, President of GLAM.

GLAM model agency also demonstrate how comfortable clothing can be stylish. Jackson said normally “frown upon clothing” can be stylish, by reinventing pajamas, sweatpants, yoga pants or leggings and making it edgy and sheik, 

Bri’an Fields, CEO of GLAM said the agency teaches professional skills that can be alternated into various career fields.

Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

“Members learn how to be punctual, creative, and gain good communication skills.”

Jackson said GLAM instill confidence and freedom of creativity within their models while focusing on the perceptions of beauty with models of all sizes, height, gender and ethnicity.

“We welcome all individuals who are interested in fashion,” said Fields.

The organization offers the opportunity for individuals to be comfortable with themselves by boosting confidence and replenishing self-esteem.

In the fashion industry majority of women are taller than 5 feet and wear a size 0-6. This as well coincides with male body types. Males in the fashion industry are primarily expected to be 5 foot 10 tall and have a tone body.

Hillary Fuller, Secretary of Glam, said “We inspire people and build individual’s self-esteem within the organization and the public.”

“I have personally grown by being a part of GLAM because I was originally a shy person and GLAM has brought me out of my shell by teaching me to be fearless and that it is okay to be sexy sometimes,”  said Fuller.

Fuller said that she was unaware of the impact GLAM has on Eastern Illinois University until she was approached by someone who said she was an  inspiration.

“As a short model it is neither accepted nor common in the fashion industry; however, the person perception of her abilities changed; she felt as if she could model as well,” Fuller said.











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Sigma Gamma Rho kicks off ‘Founders Week’

By: Brittany Bryant

Staff Reporter

91 years ago Sigma Gamma Rho painted the town gold and blue on a predominantly white campus: Indiana Butler University. The women of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated committed to the tenets of excellence in Scholarship, Sisterhood and Service.

An annual celebration of the sorority founded begins November 10-16th. As ways of celebrating their sisterhood, service and scholarship, the ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho construct events that reach for impact and entertainment on campuses across the nation. 

Sherry Gunn, Advisor of Sigma Gamma Rho, said “We are celebrating the women that brought us together.”

To demonstrate their “Greater Services and Greater Progress” motto,  the Delta Beta chapter began their week with “Battle of the Poodles” cook-off competition in Greek Court.

Delta Beta SGRhos pose before their "Double Standards" discussion forum started, in Phipps Lecture Hall, at Eastern Illinois University

Delta Beta SGRhos pose before their “Double Standards” discussion forum started, in Phipps Lecture Hall, at Eastern Illinois University. Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

The cook-off consisted of the sorority making homemade dishes for the public to purchase as a plate or taste portion.

Some of the dishes made were Haitian rice, stuff cornbread, rotel, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and plantain.

Once supporters purchased a plate or taste portion, they were expected to choose the best dish.

Following day, Delta Beta hosted a discussion forum that addressed double standards existing between genders, sex, and ethnicity.

People were most intrigue by the discussion that posed the question about why men address women as “thots” and if the term could be used in the same nature toward men.

In urban culture “thot” is a slanderous term that describes promiscuous women.

Taking a break from politics, the ladies of SGRho showed their compassion for victims, family, and friends affected by cancer.

“Cards for Cancer” held in Union Bridge Lounge allowed students to make cards for children at Sarah Bush hospital that are diagnosed with cancer.

SGRhos 'Cards for Cancer' event posted inside the MLK Union, Bridge Lounge, at Eastern Illinois University. Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

SGRhos ‘Cards for Cancer’ event posted inside the MLK Union, Bridge Lounge, at Eastern Illinois University. Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

The chapter also focused on events, which brought unity among Greeks and students on campus by creating a game of bowling called “Poodles and Pins”.

Tierra Brown, vice president, junior kinesiology major said “We wanted to come up with something new, fun, and rooted within the meaning of our sorority.”

Furthermore the chapter was expecting to host Blue Elegance union party in the university ballroom.

Brown said the Blue Elegance union party was canceled due to new regulations implemented by the University.

However, this small glitch did not stop the chapter’s celebration.

The 'Delta Beta' chapter at Eastern Illinois University

The ‘Delta Beta’ chapter at Eastern Illinois University. Photo Credit: Jazmine Thompson

To end their annual founders week,  the chapter had a “Cater to You” which involves the women passing out nine yellow roses to show appreciation to men.

Regime Billingsly, Sigma Gamma Rho President, said “Weekly meetings and pre-planning contribute to the orderly coordination.”

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EIU faculty remembers JFK 50 years later

On November 22, a president was shot and killed.

It was 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas during a parade to rally support for the upcoming election.  Although signs still mark key locations on that spot to remind us of that day, there is more to be remembered about President Kennedy.

It is difficult for us as students to create the connection between past and present, but the question is, what can we lean from President Kennedy today?

Dr. Andrew McNitt, Professor of Political Science, shared his experience.  He was a student in high school during that time.

“It was announced to students during the day and then you went home and you tried to figure out what was happening…they didn’t cancel school but they had a break in the day…”  said McNitt.

“Most vividly (I remember) they had the funeral cortege with the horse, and then the family and kids.”  It was the first televised assassination in U.S. history and during a time when “the news was not quite as intrusive as it is today,” said McNitt

The nation mourned the loss of its leader, and it was the beginning of a very turbulent time for America.

It was not that day in particular that impacted McNitt, but the beginning of the time period in which it occurred.  “It was the first of the assassinations.

Kennedy was assassinated, and then King was assassinated, some years later Robert Kennedy was assassinated.  They don’t happen immediately afterwards…but still, it was a very unpleasant time whenever you had somebody who looked like they were going to do something to improve the country, they got killed.”

On campus the effects were felt.  In two December 1963 issues of the Eastern State News, Kennedy’s death is recalled.  University President Quincy Doudna asked the same question everyone else was asking: ‘How could this happen in America?’  In another, an editorial from a student emphasized that people should put aside racial and cultural differences to come together in solidarity during a difficult time.

Perhaps there are many factors that make Kennedy’s death so memorable.  What differentiates Kennedy from other Presidents like Reagan was his character.  “He spoke better than Reagan did… (Kennedy) was not uniformly beloved by everyone in the society…Reagan’s likeability was based on a sort of comfortable familiarity with people. Kennedy’s was based on being personally impressive…speaking very well and presenting himself very well.”  McNitt also mentions that Kennedy’s role in the Cold War played a factor in his support.  A President’s charisma and his reactions to world events show us what public opinion can teach us about politics.

Politics aside, however, there is a personal factor in identifying with the President.

“There is more to him than the conspiracy surrounding his death,” said  Dr. Edmund Wehrle, Professor of History.  As a historical figure, he was an effective and important president,said Wehrle .  We should remember Kennedy for his historical legacy, and not the conspiracy surrounding his death.  “It was devastating at the time, but the continuing focus has been unhealthy for our democracy.”  Admittedly, the conspiracy has created “the long-standing capacity for Americans to think in terms of conspiracy theories,” said Wehrle .  The assassination meant that we now think of conspiracies as part of history.

So while we may not share a connection with Kennedy like people 50 years ago, it is important to remember what the President means for us as American citizens.

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