By Christina Cathcart/Staff writer

Freshmen were given an extra welcome to Richmond this fall, and returning students may have noticed some changes on and off campus this semester. Tying in with student arrival for the fall semester is the designation of Aug. 12-19 as “EKU Pride Week.”

Pride Week, while a pilot project this year, has the potential to get much bigger as the surrounding communities realize the impact of the university on the town, and the impact of the town on the university. It’s a reminder.

That’s the main thing, according to Skip Daugherty, associate vice president and executive director of Eastern’s National Alumni Association.

Daugherty is heading up the project with Sarah Hajjar, director of institutional marketing, who came to Eastern this April. They have worked with the Chamber of Commerce and the city to get “EKU Pride” signs posted around Richmond.

Don Rist, publications editor and associate director in the division of public information, designed the logo seen on the signs and banners.

Currently, there are signs posted along Main Street in Richmond, as well as on Lancaster Avenue.

Faculty and staff received “EKU Pride” window signs (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) and were asked to show their pride by hanging these signs in their offices.

These signs were also distributed throughout the Chamber to help promote merchant support. The signs cost a couple thousand dollars to put up, according to Daugherty. The Chamber and the city helped pay for signs.

Daugherty hopes that Pride Week will eventually turn into a success, such as Eastern Tennessee State University turning ETSU pride into a “really major thing” for their university.

“The success of Pride Week is now something the community, as well as the student population, is expecting to not only become a tradition, but a lasting attitude,” according to ETSU President Paul E. Stanton Jr., as posted on the ETSU Web site.

Pride week at Eastern is something Daugherty hopes will last, and he also is hopeful that everyone in the community will have lasting pride for Eastern.

“If you don’t stop and think about how important EKU is to you, or to anyone, then it won’t pass on,” Daugherty said. “I’m making it simplistic, but hopefully this will be a logo we’ll start seeing, and associating Eastern with.”