Points of Pride - Student Academics, Life and Service

  • Each year, students from all disciplines compete for 20 Research-enriched Academic Challenge (REACH) grants. Students work on an independent research or creative activity project with a faculty mentor. REACH also sponsors the university's annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Forum, where students present posters describing their research projects.
  • At SIU, undergraduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate in a creative activity or research. The widespread opportunities produce grant-funded undergraduate creative activities and research ranging from comparing microscopic parasites to exploring the art of stage combat.
  • The Saluki Research Rookies Program targets freshmen and sophomores, offering students the chance to learn more about expectations for success in their chosen interests, and to develop relationships within their areas that will fuel their interest in learning.
  • Students can start conducting original research and creative activities as early as their freshman year. The university’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities shapes and prepares all undergraduate students, including underrepresented populations, for their futures.
  • The Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities coordinates undergraduate assistantships, which give students the chance to engage in ongoing research with faculty members and/or graduate students, and to earn a wage while doing it. Research assistantships are valuable relationship builders, and often launch students into their own projects.
  • The McNair Scholars program supports undergraduates from underrepresented populations and first-generation students interested in pursuing graduate work. The program helps students realize their full potential by providing enriching educational experiences and strong mentoring and networking.
  • SIU has a longstanding tradition of international education, welcoming international students since 1947.  In fall 2016, the university enrolled 1,263 students from more than 100 countries. 
  • Last year, numerous international students participated in cultural presentations for area schools, churches and civic groups, reaching hundreds of Southern Illinoisans. SIU also has partnerships and linkages with many universities internationally.
  • Each year students volunteer to spend their spring break doing service projects around the country and beyond. During spring of 2016, our students helped at a variety of places including Project Lighthouse and Coastal Discovery Museum, both in South Carolina, and with cleaning and building trails at the Chehaw Park Authority in Georgia.
  • Students donated about 30,200 service hours during the 2014-15 academic year through the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism.
  • SIU is among a select group of universities with an AmeriCorps program.  The university’s Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps program is the oldest and longest-running program in Illinois and has provided more than 20 years of service to the region.
  • SIU has approximately 300 registered student organizations offering students the opportunity to learn, grow, help people, benefit the community, get involved, make connections and enhance their futures. During the 2014-15 academic year, these groups raised nearly $70,000 to benefit local, state and national non-profit organizations.
  •  University Housing composts waste from the dining halls at University Farms. The compost in turn is used on campus and at the farms. Produce grown on the farms may be served in the dining halls – meaning the chain has gone full circle.
  • About 30 percent of the food products we use in University Housing dining halls come from within Illinois or a 250-mile radius of campus, and we continue to look for more opportunities to use local foods.
  • The 2015-2016 Saluki softball team had the fourth-best grade point average in Division I softball for a second straight year, and has finished with a top-10 GPA nationally in 12 of the last 16 seasons.
  • Saluki softball has the second highest number of Academic All-Americans (25) in the country in NCAA softball history, trailing only the University of Nebraska. 
  • The Student Multicultural Resource Center, a division of the Dean of Students, promotes an environment of SIU collaboration to educate, affirm, evaluate and advocate for excellence and inclusion. The center supports student success in learning and development while nurturing an institutional climate of social justice and equity and includes the Black Resource Center, Hispanic Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center and LGBTQ Resource Center. 
  • The university’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is a National Environmental Education Landmark, as designated by the National Park Service in 1972.
  • Touch of Nature is home to Camp Little Giant, a therapeutic recreation camp that provides a true summer camp experience to children and adults with differing abilities. Established in 1952 it is one of the first such programs in the country for special populations and the first to earn American Camp Association accreditation.
  • Each February, University Housing and the Black Togetherness Organization sponsor the Tunnel of Oppression, an awareness event that draws visitors from hundreds of miles around.  Organizers cap attendance at about 600 each night for the intensive experience that gives participants an understanding of oppression, racism and other issues.
  • University Housing served more than 1.4 million meals last year and introduced the Saluki Anytime dining plan, which allows students unlimited access to the dining halls whenever they are open. Free nutritional counseling, a gluten-free kitchen and access to a registered dietician are also offered.
  • University Housing provides more than 2,000 programs within the residence halls each year, focusing on everything from resume building to cake baking to fall festivals.
  • University Housing employs nearly 600 students each year in a variety of positions: office/clerical, resident assistants, dining and other employment.