From my very first article on this website, a lot of people learned about EOF and why I hold it so close to my heart. The Educational Opportunity Fund program here at Monmouth University allows students from lower income families to take steps towards a future that they want to build for themselves. They do this by providing us with not only financial support but also academic support and personal guidance. EOF is a small family united by the goals that drive us toward common ideas. With all of the support we get from this amazing staff, I’ve found myself questioning for a while now why it is that the EOF program doesn’t seem as important to my school.
Now before I move forward, I would like to set the record straight that I very much adore my school and I wouldn’t dream of attending anywhere else. Monmouth University has treated me well and how I feel about this one particular issue should in no way overshadow the gratitude that I hold for being able to call this school my home.
Last year, I was having a conversation with my roommate, who is also an EOF scholarship recipient, about the size of our EOF building. Why is it, we asked, that the EOF building seems to be shoved into such a far corner of our campus? People walk by it every day and most people wouldn’t know about the building unless someone pointed it out to them. Additionally, why is the size of the building itself so small?
This question is what really got us talking. There are roughly 160 students that go through EOF every year at Monmouth University. Within this small office space, there are a lot of expectations that we as EOF scholars have to uphold. Freshmen are expected to attend the office two times a week, an hour each time, to study in a group of about 8 students. Every student taking a math course is encouraged to meet with our EOF math tutor, Al Fury, for extra help. Everyone is expected to attend a scheduled biweekly meeting with our advisors. On top of all this, when spring semester comes around, we have high school seniors who are potential EOF freshmen for the following year coming into the office every other week in groups as they go through interviews. The ratio of space to number of people constantly coming in and out of this small cramped building just never seemed to add up for us.
Another purpose of EOF is to show students from low income families that where we come from is not who we are. However, shoving all of the students from low income families into such a small building is showing us just the opposite of what EOF is trying to instill in us. This building is putting us into this small confined box that we are trying to break out of. It’s quite honestly, in my personal opinion, a little disrespectful.
The diversity in EOF isn’t something that should be shoved into a corner; it should be shared. I feel like a lot of people my age take so much for granted and are so quick to judge people who are different than them. I’ve heard so many rude comments about how us low income kids are all just lazy dead beats mooching off of the government’s money. They couldn’t be any further from the truth. EOF is made up of a lot of motivated people who are extremely involved in their communities. More often than not, a lot of the clubs around campus are started by EOF students. Putting us in a corner in a small building just reflects those negative comments and enables people to think the worst of us.
EOF does so much for us students with so little. I think it’s time they get the respect they rightfully deserve.