posted on 04/06/17 by A. Terrell

Interview with Janet Nishihara by Alexis Terrell

The Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) program was created at Oregon State University in 1969 and provides support to students of color, students with disabilities, students who are single parents, low-income students, students who have been rurally isolated, undocumented students, veterans, older-than-average (25+), or 1st generation in college (neither parent graduated).

What is EOP's Tagline?

Helping Students Thrive: Supporting Student Development; Celebrating Student Success

How many years has EOP been at OSU? 

36

How many employees work for EOP?

10 total (6 full time plus 4 part-time) 

Why was EOP founded?

It was created as a result of a walk-out of Black students on campus.  It’s a cool beginning to have. We try to keep bringing that up because it reminds us that we were created because of student activism.  We try to keep reminding students that they have more power than they think they have. There’s so many offices here at OSU and so many support offices that were created because of student activism.  

What has changed since EOP was first founded?

EOP started out with 48 students in 1969, and now serves between 350-400 students.

What’s changed about academic counseling is that there are a lot more academic counselors -- so it’s more collaborative.  It’s not as much about “these are our students.”  They’re all of our students.  

Also, we used to be considered a remedial program and students didn’t want others to know they were in EOP. But now, I tell students that it says in MyDegrees that they’re in EOP and they’re like, “Oh, good, my advisor will know.”  So that change is for the positive.

What should people know about EOP?

We have time-tested ways that we know help students reach their goals: smaller sections of classes, intensive one-on-one academic counseling, support outside the curriculum. And we not only help students access opportunities on campus but we also create opportunities for students. For instance, we secured funding for students to take a trip to Washington, D.C. where they will talk with EOP alum about policy development, meet with Oregon legislative staff, and get a chance to see the monuments and museums.

What is one surprising fact about your program?

Last year, we awarded $34,000 in scholarships.

What are common misconceptions about your program?  

One common misconception is that students are in EOP because they just aren’t really ready for OSU or because they are a student of color. That’s absolutely not EOP.  We’re not about just increasing campus diversity numbers. We have tons of Honors College students. We just had a student who graduated with a 4.0.  We had another student who graduated with five degrees. Our students are completely amazing, and we’re proud of every single one of them.