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Students began pouring into Greenville in mid-August in preparation for the 2010 fall semester. Pictured above, Jeff Hawser of ECU fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma helps move students into Scott residence hall Aug. 20, as a service project for the fraternity. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU Pirates welcomed back to campus

By Karen Shugart

East Carolina University faculty and students returned to an institution that’s reaping accolades even as it copes with budget cuts.

Final enrollment figures won’t be available until the 10th class day (Sept. 7), but preliminary projections suggest that enrollment will trend higher but remain similar to 2009’s total of 27,700 students. Also, the first-year class is projected to be slightly larger than the 2009 class; more female than male students are enrolling; the percentage of in-state students is increasing; and enrollment among minorities is increasing.

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Chancellor Steve Ballard speaks at the Aug. 23 convocation.
Chancellor Steve Ballard on Aug. 23 welcomed faculty at the annual convocation and addressed the university’s budget outlook, recent accomplishments and agenda for the year ahead:
  • No more academic cuts are expected this year, unless conditions “worsen considerably.”

  • Despite the state budget difficulties, both the Honors College and the School of Dental Medicine are moving ahead.

  • ECU in September will receive the Freedom Award, which recognizes employers for their support of employees who serve in the Guard or Reserve. ECU is one of only two universities in the award’s 14-year history to receive such recognition.

  • Funding for the biosciences building will be pursued aggressively.

  • University officials will work toward a UNC System-wide salary plan that helps retain excellent faculty and staff.

  • Improving student retention and strengthening graduate programs will remain strong priorities.

  • ECU will reenergize its commitment to service with a project titled, “Our Shared Direction: Building Partnerships for the East,” that examines what workforce preparation, commitment to economic and community development, and university expertise can mean in eastern N.C.

“We will strengthen and increase our service to the East and to North Carolina, in spite of the times,” Ballard said.

About 5,500 students moved into residence halls Aug. 18-21. Among them was Shalom Foster, a sophomore from Jacksonville whose father helped her move into Cotten Residence Hall.

“We really enjoyed having her home this summer, but we know it’s time for her to move on to the next level of life,” said Victor Foster Sr. “We want to give her the tools to be successful.”

During move-in weekend, the university tested its emergency notification measures on the east and west campuses. Emergency Notification Team tested indoor and outdoor speakers as well as other notification components of the ECU Alert system, including e-mails, text messages and computer-based warnings.

“Everything seemed to go pretty well,” said Tom Pohlman, environmental manager with ECU Environmental Health and Safety. “This is how we find weaknesses in the system so we can go back and ensure that those weaknesses are strengthened. It also gives practice to those who may need to activate the system.”

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This story appeared originally in the Aug. 27, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/poe/2010/810/August-2010-Archives.cfm.