Every fall, students enrolled in Jasmine Linabary’s communication course choose a semester-long project that will impact the community. This year, four students enrolled in Linabarys small group communication course chose to help other students process their feelings about the recent cuts to faculty members and departments at Emporia State.
“The way I described it to my professors and my advisor was, it felt very dystopian,” said Lizzy Comfort, senior relational communication major. “It felt like we were in a movie. A poorly written one.”
Comfort and her group members, Lucas Convey, senior interdisciplinary studies major, Saylor Middleton, junior communication major and Mckenya Sorrells, junior communication major, have been working on their project for Linabary’s class since ￼September.
In this class, students learn how to work in small groups by completing a semester-long project with their group members. Students must “work collaboratively with others to research and implement action in response to a social problem,” according to Linabary’s course syllabus.
“It was right when our group was forming,” Middleton said. “And we found out and we were all kind of moved by it. We all said our own opinions, we were all frustrated just by how it was handled.”
To allow students to air their frustrations, the group held an open forum on Monday Nov. 7, in the Blue Key Room of the Memorial Union.
During this event, students anonymously wrote words on post-it notes such as “hurt”, “sad” and “stressed” to describe how they are feeling about the recent changes on campus. While students passed through to write these down, those hosting the event reflected on some of their own reactions to the news.
After hearing that departments would be cut, Middleton, a transfer student from Butler Community College, began preparing for the possibility of her own being gone.
“Great, so, now I just transferred here,” Middleton said. “Like I could have gone to K-state, could have gone to WSU, now I'm here at Emporia and I’m probably going to have to leave in a semester because I didn't know how it was all going to play out.”
Group members ended the event with a conversation about what the transfer percentage will be for students next year after the cuts.
“I think if I wasn’t a senior I would transfer,” Comfort said.
The group does not plan on having a second forum and will present their project to Linabary for their semester final project.