August 31, 2010

Saluki Cares provides helping hand to students

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- University life is exciting, but it presents challenges too. At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Saluki Cares begins its second year offering support, care and valuable resources and referrals for students as they encounter life’s challenges.

During the program’s first year of operation, hundreds of students got a helping hand in one way or another. The program assisted students dealing with homesickness, loneliness or other adjustment issues as well as those with medical or health issues, financial problems, home fires, car accidents, the deaths of family members or friends, victim/survivor situations and all sorts of challenges causing them concern or distress. The Saluki Cares program, a campus-wide initiative, connects students to the many resources in place to help them deal with all types of issues.

Volunteers from Academic Support, Academic Affairs/Faculty, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, Student Development, New Student Programs and various other units and departments on campus make up the Saluki Cares team. Faculty, staff, parents, other students, or even a student himself or herself can make a referral to Saluki Cares. The whole process is completely confidential. Referrals come through the website -- there’s a referral form online at -- or via e-mail at or by calling 618/453-5714.

It is important that every student know he or she is a valuable part of the SIUC community and that their well-being, their University experience and their success as an SIUC student is important, said Katherine L. Sermersheim, director of Student Development and chair of Saluki Cares. During the 2009-2010 academic year, more than 200 students got the message that “SIUC Cares about You” and the program continues for 2010-2011.

“The program is off to a great start. Saluki Cares team members have volunteered countless hours working with our students and their families and have helped refer them to the appropriate resources and services they need. The response has been extremely positive among both users and those who have made referrals. People appreciate having a place to connect when they are unsure where to go for help, a place to direct their questions and concerns. We look forward to another year of serving our students,” Sermersheim said.