EKU Board of Regents preview start of fall semester

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents conducted a special called meeting to share fall reopening plans, which includes on-campus events and fully in-person instruction. The board also swore in new board member Ashley Ward and re-appointed regent Laura Babbage during the virtual meeting on Monday.

EKU President David McFaddin addressed the return to school and the new normal for the campus community.

“This is our next normal, and our next normal is one that our team has worked very hard to shape and for it to be a very positive experience for all of our students, our community, our faculty and staff,” McFaddin said.

EKU will bring back the BigE Welcome programming to introduce the new freshman class to campus. McFaddin said that freshman move-in will begin Aug. 11.

McFaddin announced the return of the welcome walk after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted last year’s BigE Welcome plans. The incoming freshman class will walk through Turner Gate, located on Lancaster Avenue, symbolizing the beginning of their journey at EKU. The walk will take place Aug. 13 between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

“This event is an opportunity to really welcome and congratulate the newest members of the Colonel family,” McFaddin said. “I will tell you they have had a very atypical experience as they finished their high school career and really prepared for college.”

McFaddin also detailed the Exceptional Eastern Experience (E3) plan, which includes free concerts, DJs, comedians, bonfires, festivals, athletic events, pep rallies, post game rallies and other celebrations. McFaddin said that a comprehensive calendar will be released by Aug. 1 to showcase the events.

McFaddin said enrollment continues to grow, with more than 400 students enrolling last week. The university is set to meet its goals for enrollment this year.

“All of this is possible only because of the hard work and determination of our ‘student first’ focus EKU team,” McFaddin said.

Whitney Crowe, deputy counsel, presented two Kentucky Utilities easements for the Kentucky Wired Project. Crowe explained that the goal of the project is to increase high-speed internet access and cellular networks across the Commonwealth. The university currently has existing easements with the Kentucky Communications Network Authority and the KY Wired Project for equipment on the Corbin and Manchester campuses.

Crowe informed the board that equipment on those campuses require upgrades that would allow Kentucky Utilities to run the “three-phase power,” a new power source, to the equipment on the two campuses. The upgrades will improve internet access across Kentucky. Crowe told the board that no major interruptions are expected on the two campuses.

The board voted to re-elect vice chair Alan Long and secretary Jason Marion.

The next Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for Sept. 23.

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