Sierra Madden | Contributing Writer
On Tuesday, October 4th at 7 am, The President’s Breakfast was held at Hurley Hall. For those who are unaware of what the president’s breakfast is, it is a chance to sit with Elsa Nunez along with other members of the board at Eastern, SGA and representatives from Clubs and organizations around school. This breakfast is a great opportunity to hear some of the “behind the scenes” decisions and content that are made and to really connect students with the staff. I find that the breakfast, while some say, is boring and too early to be important solely on the fact that the school is trying to keep us informed.
While this event is normally an hour long, it went slightly over due to all the content being discussed about budgets at Eastern. In short, the president discussed how there is an expected 17-million-dollar defecate in the next year at Eastern Connecticut State University. This is due to issues such as low enrollment, and money that was given by the government because of covid being taken away. To help with this expected loss of money, they plan to take money from the reserves (which is like a savings account) and cut some programs.
As a student I did notice that there are not as many upper-level courses, at least in the biology department, being offered for the following semester. This could possibly be due to cuts already starting to be made. With these budget cuts many clubs are concerned that funding will be even harder to come by due to the tighter guidelines for requesting funds and the lack of funds there will be. A question to ask is will there be backlash to CAB? Many clubs and orgs, while all loving CAB for all the events they put on for us, show a type of frustration knowing they have such a big budget as clubs struggle to throw events they can afford.
After the Presidents account on budget, one student leader brought up concerns about how students mental health has been at an all-time low and that Eastern should be doing a better job with their CAPS program to be available to students. The board recognized this struggle and explained the difficulty of having CAPS staffed at all hours, again due to budget constraints. While they cannot offer staff at all hours, CAPS has connected the CRISIS hotline to their home phones, so students are directed to a hotline when a staff member is unable to get their call. Their name is then put on a list so CAPS counselors can reach out to them when available as well. This conversation showed that Eastern is aware of the problem and is trying to fix it. The issue I see is communication. Much of the mental information given many students did not know about. The problem is, when information such as the Core survey which was meant to get feedback and give information on what the campus can do to support students' mental health gets sent through emails, students tend to glaze over them. The amount of people I have talked to who don’t know what is going on around campus because they don’t read their emails is honestly concerning. There was the topic of how a student felt there were not enough resources for minorities on campus. In my opinion, the Unity wing, along with clubs such as OLAS, Asian Cultural Society, and African Club do a great job at throwing events that are fun but also super informational and helpful to all students on campus. Not many people recognize these events and opportunities however because they glaze over this information in their emails! So the question is, how do we get students to look at their emails or how do we reach out about opportunities and events on campus?
I find that the president’s breakfast was informational and there were many points that were brought up that really should be addressed. The lack of information given to students is worrying. It is not even that it is not given but that it cannot be found. So, what exactly can be done better to inform students? Is there anything that can be done? Or is it just up to the students to take the initiative and look for the information they seek?