By: Tyler J Noel
The free chili and drinks flowed freely on Saturday as staff members, students, and alum got together for the annual Chili Bash at the 7th Street Underground. The chili bash started at 5 p.m. and ran until 9 p.m. and gave people attending a chance to catch up with alumni, chat with their professors, or just mingle with other journalism students. There were three different types of chili on hand with a choice of regular chili, vegetarian, and a chili without beans.
The Chili Bash started in 1972 in the basement of Ike’s. The event was always a way for the journalism students, alumni, and journalism staff members had a way to enjoy some warm chili during the autumn weather and to just chat and enjoy each other’s company. The Chili Bash was eventually moved from Ike’s, according to John Ryan. “We left Ike’s because it had only one fire escape and it became a fire hazard.” After moving from Ike’s it was hosted at different Charleston locations before eventually settling in at the 7th Street Underground.
One of the many alumni that attended the Chili Bowl was Eric Hiltner. Eric came into EIU at the age of 22 after leaving the army and attended Eastern for four years. He worked in the photo department for four years and said that he ran a “tight ship.” Eric currently has a job in Chicago. “I’m a VP at an organization in Chicago. Yeah, I drive a truck,” he said.
There was a good amount of both students, professors and alumni at the event. All around laughs were being shared, people were catching up, and the chili was flowing. When The Chili Bash happens the next year, be sure to attend and get a chance to know the people that help make the Journalism department as great as it is.
Photo of Eric Hiltner, taken by Gina Volk