February 26, 2004

Media Advisory

If you're looking for a weekend feature, you'll find a feel-good story at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Saturday, Feb. 28.

That's where you'll find 300 high-octane high school and community college students - from all over downstate Illinois - congregating at a half-day conference geared to helping them get ahead in life.

The students all belong to federally sponsored TRIO programs established to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and become full participants in the nation's economic and social life.

All sessions are open to reporters and photographers. Perhaps the best time to interview TRIO conference goers and organizers will be during their luncheon, which will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the SIUC Student Center Ballrooms C and D. By then all the students will have attended two workshops and will be available one-on-one interviews.

Look for K. Donnell Wilson, a conference organizer and director of SIUC's Upward Bound program if you want more information and wish to interview one of the administrators responsible for coordinating this event.

Or call him during weekday business hours at 618/453-3354.

It's all part of National Trio Day and the conference's theme is "TRIO Brings Leadership to Life."

Presentations will cover a wide array of topics, including how to succeed in college, how to survive your first time living away from home, managing money, preparing for college entrance exams, starting a small business and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

Workshops will be meet 10:30-11:25 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m. in Faner Hall's Rooms 1004, 1005, 1006, 1226, 1228, 1230 and in Parkinson Hall's Browne Auditorium.

Experts in business, education, health education, banking and local government will come in from surrounding communities to lead most sessions.

SIUC is hosting the event for the first time in about a decade, says K. Donnell Wilson, one of the conference's organizers and director of the SIUC Upward Bound program, one of several TRIO programs on campus.

TRIO programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. They strive to help financially disadvantaged young people overcome hurdles to higher education and to overcome class, social and cultural barriers.

A look at the ethnic composition of the nation's TRIO programs shows 37 percent of participants are white, 35 percent are African-American, 19 percent are Hispanic, 4 percent each are Native American and Asian, and 16,000 are students with disabilities.