MOLINE-- In the midst of financial issues and declining enrollment, Western Illinois University is making a recruitment push in the Quad Cities. On Tuesday April 2, 2019, current faculty and students made their pitch to local high schoolers to join them as Leathernecks even during hard times.
New faces test the waters at Western Illinois University's Quad Cities campus at a recruitment session. They come with open eyes, and ears. Western English professor Dan Malachuk knows prospective students need open minds too.
"What's happened in the last few months is there's been an overemphasis on the bad news, and there's actually always good news coming out of this building," says Malachuk.
Over the past few years, Western has struggled financially and enrollment has dropped. The situation is so serious there's now a petition asking lawmakers for $6M to bail them out.
Local lawmakers say they want to help, but they want to see the school help itself too.
"We can't just give them money and say this is going to fix your problems. They have to also show they have a vision for marketing, for drawing students in," says Illinois State Senator Neil Anderson.
Faculty and current students in Moline are doing just that by inviting dozens of high school students to come to campus.
On Tuesday, students got a campus tour, they sat in on an English class, and they participated in a poetry contest with open eyes and open ears. Faculty opened doors some never knew were already there.
"Just how amazing it is. We've got many people interested in similar things to what I'm interested in and how creative the Quad Cities can be," says Moline junior Kaitee Hart.
"I'll definitely look into this college when I'm in an older grade," says Moline freshman Bella Smith.