March 21, 2008

SIUnity-Diversity Day is set for March 29

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — It's not just an open house at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on March 29 – it's also SIUnity and Diversity Day.

That makes for what is traditionally one of the best-attended open houses of the year, admissions staff says. Besides drawing in potential students from central and Southern Illinois, prospective students and their families come by bus from Chicagoland and the St. Louis area. In all, admissions staff expects approximately 500 students and their families to visit campus.

Part of what makes this open house special is the increased participation of student organizations on campus. Registered Student Organizations, including campus chapters of fraternities and sororities, may have booths or tables at the information fair along with the academic and campus departments. This gives the RSO's a chance to recruit and an opportunity for potential students to see how they could fit into life at SIUC.

It also gives the University a chance to show students – all students – they can feel comfortable calling SIUC home during their college years. Inclusiveness is a cherished part of the SIUC tradition, and a diverse campus population is something University personnel are proud to promote.

Visitors to campus, particularly from the Chicago area, may have the chance to pair up for the day with a "Saluki Buddy" to get a personalized view of SIUC. Saluki Buddies are typically SIUC students from the Chicago area who have first-hand understanding of the different needs of the upstate student attending college relatively far from home and in a different environment than the big city atmosphere of Chicago and its environs.

Here are some of the activities potential students and their families can enjoy on March 29:

Campus tours: SIUC is a great campus for walking, and walking is a good way to see it. Small group walking tours are one option for students and their families. But it's a spacious campus, so a tram tour or small bus tour is another option that provides a great overview of the whole campus. An early bird option, beginning at 8 a.m., gives students a chance to check out the scenery before the open house activities begin.

Who Wants to be a Saluki? If you've already been admitted to the University and need to know what to do next, this is the session for you. Representatives from the offices of Financial Aid, New Student Programs and University Housing present an overview that will help you learn how to get ready to be a Saluki.

What's the SI Without U? This is for students who haven't quite decided on which college to attend. This session offers general pointers for the college admissions and application process, and highlights the strengths that make SIUC a great first choice for the savvy college student.

Information Fair: It's all here – information about the myriad of different things you can study at SIUC, where you can live, what you can join, what activities you can enjoy, what causes you can help promote, where you can kick it in your downtime, how the University can address your special needs. Browse the tables, pick up materials for perusal later and talk to real, live Salukis and campus personnel about anything that might be even remotely relevant to life and learning at SIUC.

One-on-one: Admissions and financial aid counselors and University Housing representatives are available for one-on-one meetings. Prospective students can apply for admission or check their admission status, learn about financial aid programs and get help with forms and review housing options.

Short-sessions: Short, 30-minute sessions that hit some of the big issues for a variety of students. Are you not sure what you want to study in college? The folks at the pre-major advisement office can turn you on to resources that can help you find how your strengths and personal interests can help you pick a major – and they have a session at the open house just for you. Curious about the on-campus living experience? Learn how special features of on-campus life can help you succeed. Are you a transfer student? Attend the sessions that teach you how to make the most of the credit hours you already earned and to glide seamlessly into SIUC. Is that Free Application for Federal Student Aid getting you down? We've got a mini-workshop for the FAFSA blues.

Sample Class Lecture: Take a college lecture for a test drive with your choice of several different 30-minute sample lectures. You can check out "Documenting the Black Experience" with assistant professor of radio and television Novotny Lawrence. Joseph A. Brown, professor of Black American Studies and the director of that program offers "Liberation and Frederick Douglass." Or you can dip into "Multiculturalism and the United States" with Bomani Spell, a doctoral student in Black American Studies.

Student Panel: Your chance to fire questions at a panel of current SIUC students. The students will also share their stories about why they chose SIUC and why the University is helping them make their dreams.

Diversity Celebration: See student groups in action. Some of our groups dance, sing, step, model – just come check it out.

Pre-registration for open houses is not required, but it does help admissions staff plan. Students and their families can register at

The SIUC Student Center is home base for this open house, which is the last one during the current academic year. The next open house is July 18 and takes place at the SIUC Student Recreation Center.