August 09, 2018

SIU welcoming students in a big way

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — As a new school year begins, Southern Illinois University Carbondale will roll out the welcome mat in grand Saluki style for new and returning students. A wide variety of special activities are planned during Saluki Startup and Weeks of Welcome.

Fall semester classes officially begin on August 20 but the fun traditions, old and new, start even sooner and go on for several weeks. The events are all about helping students get acquainted, engaged, connected and prepared for success.

New for 2018 is Light up the Lake

Campus Lake is a long-time favorite spot for the SIU community and the new Light up the Lake event, slated for 7-10 p.m., Aug. 16, will showcase the new Becker Pavilion along with the boat docks and rejuvenated lake. It’s a campus-wide celebration featuring hole-in-one Frisbee golf, a slack line, climbing wall, glow volleyball, a disc golf tournament, a competition inflatable game, a DJ, henna tattoos, lots of glow-in-the-dark freebies and free boat rentals.

Students can grab some of the cool props on hand and pose for a picture in the unique photo booth. They’ll also enjoy lemonade, popcorn, snow cones, ice cream, s’mores, and other refreshments at no cost. And, they can get a free reusable water bottle and keep it full at a new portable water bottle refill station created by campus personnel with repurposed items. The station will be at several outdoor events this fall.

Saluki Start-up features numerous activities

The weekend kicks into high gear starting Aug. 17 with several events around campus.

  • 1-3 p.m., Saluki Spirit Zone, agriculture building lawn. Features games, music, tie dying, banner making, and signups for the famous Dawg Pound.
  • 6 p.m., New Student Convocation, SIU Arena. The official Saluki Startup Kick-off event, celebrating all things SIU. A photo of all new students follows the convocation.
  • 7:30 p.m., Pep rally, SIU Arena. All students are welcome to join Saluki athletes, mascots, cheerleaders and Saluki Shakers.
  • 8:15 p.m., Welcome Fest, features local businesses offering free samples, swag and food.
  • 9:15 p.m., Fireworks show and a movie, Saluki Stadium. The movie is free and also open to the general public.

The activities continue on Aug. 18 with “Meet Me on Main,” from 1 to 5 p.m. on the south lawn of the Student Recreation Center and downtown. The event introduces students to the local community via games, prizes and free food.

Later, starting at 7:30 p.m., “Dawgs Night Out,” a late-night Student Center tradition featuring laser tag, bumper cars, along with other games and activities gets underway. The evening is capped off with breakfast. The event is free for students and each can bring a guest, age 18 or older, for $5.

On Aug. 19, the traditional Watermelon Festival on the Morris Library front lawn is from 2 to 4 p.m. Students will be able to enjoy a tasty watermelon and other fun activities as they get acquainted with faculty, staff, administrators and other students.

‘Weeks of Welcome’ excitement goes through Sept. 29

The fun won’t end there as the university offers numerous events and activities to introduce students to the campus, community and the many services and opportunities available to them.

A sampling of those happenings includes:

  • Carbondale Business Fair – Aug. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center Art Gallery. Meet representatives of local businesses and get free samples.
  • Saluki Student Job Fair – Aug. 22, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Student Center Ballrooms. Students can learn about student job opportunities on- and off-campus.
  • Involvement Fair – Aug. 23, 5-7 p.m., Student Services Building pavilion and Faner Plaza; find out more about the hundreds of registered student organizations at SIU and how to get involved.
  • Family Carnival – Aug. 25, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Recreation Center west gymnasium. Students with children are invited to enjoy a time of games and activities where they can learn about available resources on campus, in the community and also meet other student families.
  • Solar Fest – Aug. 25, 3-6 p.m., Shryock Auditorium lawn. Similar to a Summer Sunset concert, it will feature Lazcaux and Milk N Cooks. The concert is open to the community.
  • Dawg Fest – Sept. 14, 6-9 p.m., Shryock Auditorium steps. The public is also welcome to attend this free live outdoor concert.
  • New Student Tailgate and Saluki Sprint – Sept. 15, 3-6 p.m., Saluki Stadium; New students can enjoy free food, drinks and activities at a special tailgate and then participate in the Saluki Sprint, where they run across the field together in a show of Saluki spirit prior to the home-opener football game against Southeast Missouri State.

Get the App

The complete event schedule and all of the details about Saluki Startup and Weeks of Welcome is available in the new MySIU app. It’s free, interactive and available at the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app also enables you to search for events by keywords, create a personalized schedule, get notifications of upcoming events, view interactive maps to help you find where everything is happening, student networking and social media interaction options. You can even create personalized daily schedules featuring the events you want to attend and post pictures from the events for other Salukis to enjoy.

Additional information is also available online at or For more details or if you have questions, contact New Student Programs at or 618/453-1000.