November 05, 2012

Changes abound at Evergreen Terrace housing

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- There are many positive new ideas and events happening for residents of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Evergreen Terrace.

The University Housing-operated apartment complex offers family housing and graduate students housing. The complex is on West Pleasant Hill Road on the southwest side of campus.

The changes are part of an ongoing and intensified effort by University Housing and SIU Carbondale to be proactive in meeting the needs of students and their families and providing valuable services.

"The ongoing updates to facilities, collaboration with the revitalized Evergreen Terrace Community Council, and reinvestment in the afterschool program for kids demonstrates our commitment to our residents," said Jon L. Shaffer, director of University Housing.

Evergreen Terrace's 304 units are within 38 buildings and home to about 500 people.

The revitalized Community Council is a diverse group of six students who represent the various interests of residents who live there. The council will meet at least once a month and serve as "the voice of the students," said Sylvia Gray, complex director.

In helping residents build a sense of community, council members will also serve as volunteer liaisons -- connecting Evergreen Terrace residents with staff, the campus, and the local community.

University Housing officials will also host a town hall meeting each semester to give residents a forum to share their experiences, gather input and listen to suggestions. These meetings will give residents an opportunity to become better acquainted with staff.

In addition to updating and improving apartments, the community room at Evergreen Terrace recently underwent renovation. The revitalized space is quickly becoming a popular venue with programs and activities of all kinds for residents by University and community organizations. There currently is no cost to use the space, but Gray said groups should contact her to make reservations.

New this fall is the Java Jam Program. From 7 to 10 a.m. each Wednesday, residents can enjoy free coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider, tea and healthy snacks. Gray said this is a great way for children, parents and other residents to connect with each other and start the school or work day off right.

The Evergreen Edge after-school program is also back. The supervised program, available to children in kindergarten through fifth grade, provides structured activities and also offers homework time.

University Housing is also collaborating with partners both on- and off-campus to sponsor two or three special programs each month. For instance, in September the "Start Your Engines" program brought together about 15 University and community offices and agencies for an event that included fun safety presentations, prizes, giveaways and much more.

Gray said residents are also excited that Evergreen Terrace is offering English language classes once again beginning this month.

For more information, contact Gray at 618/453-5767 or by email at