Members of 'Save Lincoln College' Facebook group hope for 'miracle'
Klaudia Błaszczyk doesn't believe in the impossible.
For her, the concept of "impossible" started with coming to the United States from Poland. That dream came true for her at 16 — so, it wasn't impossible. Next, Błaszczyk dreamed of staying in the U.S. and swimming at the collegiate level.
Lincoln College made that dream a reality for her financially — proving that, too, was not impossible.
Now, despite an official announcement from president David Gerlach last week that Lincoln College is set to close its doors for good on May 13, Błaszczyk — like so many other students, employees and community members — can hardly believe that's possible.
"It's been open for 157 years — a long, long time. For us to think about closing up in one month? It's just impossible," she said.
That's why Błaszczyk and several other students, staff members and alumni have started a Facebook group aimed at doing what Lincoln College, it seems, could not: Raising enough money to keep the doors open. The "Save Lincoln College" Facebook group is only a few days old, but it's gathered more than 2,000 members since it was created on April 1.
"We are just trying to get as many people to like, comment or post so that we can, basically, go viral," Błaszczyk said. "We've been tagging different people like Oprah, Bill Clinton, MacKenzie Scott — everybody from the 'higher powers,' we're calling it. Maybe one of them will see us and maybe be the one to bring us the miracle."
The news has been a devastating blow to many, including students already interviewed by WGLT. But for international students like Błaszczyk, the news is especially difficult: she has just over a month to figure out where she'll go once her visa expires — and she's a sophomore, which means she has two years left before her degree is complete.
"I might not be able to go back to the United States. Also, because of the war in Ukraine, they (Poland) might not let me out of the country anymore," she said. "It's a big hit for me, definitely."
Like others, she's been disillusioned by the news of the closure, which says came to students suddenly in an all-student meeting that followed a staff meeting an hour earlier. When students saw faculty members crying, she said, they "knew something really bad is happening."
Błaszczyk said the official word was that Lincoln College needed $20-50 million to keep its doors open.
The 11th-hour Facebook group was created a short while later.
"I know a lot of students have already given up because they don't see the point — getting that kind of money seems impossible," she said. "However, for me it was impossible to get to the United States — and yet at 16 years old, I went. So, there's nothing impossible for me to to do. That's kind of why I went on it. I was like, 'We can at least try. We have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.'"