Survey says:SIUC resembles Animal House’

By Gus Bode

Survey Says:We Like to Party

SIU voted one of the top ‘Animal House’ party schools in U.S.

It used to be that the only thing tying SIUC to that riotous film “Animal House,” was a navy blue sweatshirt with “College” written on the front.


SIUC came in sixth place as one of the top party schools resembling the movie “Animal House” in the United States, according to a survey done by Kaplan Publishing.

When John Belushi walked into Gusto’s Graphics, 124 S. Illinois Ave., in 1972, he had something in mind. In 1978, when the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House” debuted in theaters, his “College” sweatshirt was possibly the coolest thing since sliced bread, and it now hangs on walls in dorm rooms across the nation.

“I asked him about three times,” said Van Anderson, who printed the original and now owns Gusto’s. “I said, ‘are you sure you don’t want ‘SIU’ or ‘Salukis? He said, ‘No, no, no, just COLLEGE.'”

And it was done. Belushi was adamant that it would be written in fuzzy iron-on white letters on a navy blue sweatshirt.

“I thought it was funny,” Anderson said.

Anderson was going to SIU and majoring in education and recreation while working at the t-shirt shop as a college job. He now sells the famous shirts online.

“It’s great for conversation,” Anderson said. “It breaks the ice.”


Belushi walked into the store when it was behind PK’s in an alley. There was no air conditioning, but there was a t-shirt press. Anderson says there are all sorts of different rumors going around as to whether or not Belushi went to school here. Either way, he said he was a nice guy.

“I had a beer or two with him at Booby’s,” Anderson said.

In light of all this “Animal House” propaganda, it may not help that SIU has a close tie with the film, as John Belushi’s “College” shirt made waves in partying as the ’70s grew up and got wasted.

Chancellor Walter Wendler doesn’t think it’s an accurate perception.

“I don’t sense that to be the case,” Wendler said. “It’s a school of hardworking students.”

Some students have a slightly different take on the issue.

“I always heard about the Halloween riots,” said Anna Vani, an elementary education major from Farmington, Mo. “I’ll say I come here and everybody’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a party school.'”

Just because there is a certain stigma attached to the SIUC name doesn’t mean it’s a bad school, according to students.

“After I got here, I think it’s probably just like any other school,” Vani said.

Christine Sturgeon, a freshman in creative writing from Chicago, said that her mom feels SIUC is toxic for her, but she says it’s a good school.

“I find that the majority of people get their shit done,” Sturgeon said. “I reward myself on the weekends by getting drunk.”

Nick Voss, a senior in zoology, actually heard some good things about SIUC before he came here.

“I heard that it was a beautiful campus,” Voss said. “But if you didn’t concentrate on your school work, you’d be taken away by the party scene.”

Voss thinks the party image may have something to do with the Strip being the most developed part of Carbondale.

“It’s definitely not what it used to be,” said student Kristina Britton, a junior in Art from Athens.

Now lacking the late-night “take the Strip” ritual and the Halloween riots, SIU’s image has undergone some minor detox.

“We need to do our homework and put out the right story as to what this University is about,” Wendler said. “They’re certainly not following me around, because I don’t go to any places where there are parties.”

Reporter Arin Thompson can be reached at [email protected]

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