Student dies Friday of natural causes
By Samantha McDaniel and Tim Deters/Student Governance Editor and Managing Editor
Allen, who was a sophomore pre-business management major, was found at the foot of his bed and pronounced dead at 11:53 a.m. Friday, Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers said.
The cause of death has not been determined but was not suspicious, Schniers said.
Schniers said Allen had a history of epilepsy.
While it is unknown whether epilepsy was a contributing factor to Allen’s death, Schniers said it is the most likely cause of death at this time.
A toxicology report has been ordered and will take six to eight weeks to return results.
Allen was vice president of membership development for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, vice president for public relations of the Interfraternity Council, a student senator and chairman of the University Enhancement Committee, and recently organized the annual Safety Walk to identify and address areas of safety concern on and off campus. Allen also served as Billy the Panther for the 2012-13 season.
Derek Collinsworth, the president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, was a close friend of Allen and said he had a strong, respectable character.
“He was a very hard-working individual and always put others before himself,” Collinsworth said.
The death of Allen has hit many Sig Eps hard, Collinsworth said, but the outpouring of support from the Greek and Eastern communities as a whole has been reassuring and comforting.
Student Senate Speaker Mitch Gurick said Allen was a strong voice across multiple organizations in the campus community.
Gurick, a sophomore business major, said during his two semesters on Student Senate, Allen was never afraid to speak his mind and voice his concerns about anything they were discussing.
“He was never afraid to share his opinions, voice his concerns on things that he saw and was never afraid to hold people accountable,” Gurick said. “He was a really strong leader in that respect.”
Every organization needs someone like Allen, Gurick said.
“He inspired other people to emulate his example and his hard work ethic,” Gurick said.
Gurick said Allen was an upstanding Student Senate member.
“EIU student government is built on the principles of leadership, service, and integrity,” Gurick said, “(Allen) both embodied and embraced those principles until the day he passed.”
Gurick said he appointed Allen last semester, and when he was looking at his application, Allen had four pages of accomplishments and involvements.
Gurick said he was very impressed by Allen’s involvement and achievements.
Allen was passionate and compassionate, but was a very direct person, Gurick said.
“I’ve had the honor of just seeing (Allen) as he was, and to me that was really special,” Gurick said.
Gurick said Allen was involved in many different organizations and had leadership positions in several as well.
“Nick Allen was truly in everything he did for the right reason, and he truly, truly wanted to make a difference and leave a mark at Eastern,” Gurick said.
In a letter to Sigma Phi Epsilon, Gurick said Allen was a great achiever.
“To me, Nick was a friend and someone I had the utmost respect for,” Gurick said in the letter. “His passion for what he strived to accomplish spoke volumes.”
Gurick said Student Senate will not be the same with out him.
“To lose a member of a team, I think, is really hard for the team,” Gurick said. “I think a lot of the team players across all the organizations he was in take it hard.”
Gurick said he believe Allen could have been famous, just because of the person he was.
“His life was too short, and I think he had a lot more to give,” Gurick said. “He was a strong character and had a great moral compass.”