SIU welcoming regional high school students to experience campus at first ever SIU Day event

By Rana Schenke, Staff Reporter

The university will be hosting the first SIU Day on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The events start at 9 a.m.

SIU Day is a new program this year that brings high school students from area high schools to SIU to visit the campus and experience the programs and activities SIU has to offer, according to the SIU Day webpage.

“[SIU Day is] about [prospective students] understanding what’s happening in the academic programs on campus and really getting to experience the university in a different way than they may already have,” Jennifer DeHaemers, associate chancellor for enrollment management, said.

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DeHaemers said all of the invited schools are within an hour’s drive of SIU and are schools frequently visited by university representatives.

Over 400 students from over 16 different high schools are expected to attend, according to Pamela Smoot, clinical assistant professor in the history department and event organizer.

Some of the high schools participating include Herrin High School, Murphysboro High School, Carbondale Community High School and DuQuoin High School.

Students will first attend a welcome ceremony, followed by student panels, an application drive and an RSO fair.

“We are encouraging students to bring completed applications or bring their transcripts and test scores so that we can have them complete an application online,” DeHaemers said.

The $40 application processing fee normally charged by the university will be waived for attending students, according to DeHaemers.

Students will also be attending sessions of their choice put on by various academic programs at the university. They can choose two sessions from 36 different options, according to Smoot.

Activities include a tour of the fermentation lab, observing a lab demonstration on animal behavioral tracking and watching historical reenactments, according to the SIU Day webpage.

SIU Day was originally planned as a College of Liberal Arts day, according to Smoot.

“Then the interim provost, Meera Komarraju, decided that it should be SIU Day,” Smoot said. “So instead of it just being a recruitment event or effort for the College of Liberal Arts, it became a recruitment effort for the entire campus.”

Komarraju, formerly the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said planning for the event as a College of Liberal Arts day began while she was still the dean.

“When I got this assignment to be the interim provost, I thought let’s do it [as] a university-wide event,” Komarraju said. “Faculty and programs have just stepped forward and been very [interested in] participating.”

Komarraju said the energy and excitement from everyone on campus has been very encouraging.

“And this is just the first time that we’re doing it,” Komarraju said. “We plan to do it every semester, and we just hope that it grows bigger and bigger.”

Smoot said they are already planning for next semester’s SIU Day, which is planned for March.

“It’s the first time that this kind of program has been done, so I know that we’ll debrief and say what worked, what needs to be tweaked, and what was the response from the people who came,” DeHaemers said.

DeHaemers said they are already thinking about things such as advertising, offering different sessions, and making one day for juniors and seniors and one for freshmen and sophomores, but one thing that probably won’t change is the schools invited.

“One of the things I’m learning is that the southern Illinois communities around here somewhat feel like the university is not interested in their students,” DeHaemers said. “[We want] to show people in southern Illinois that the university is very interested in the students that are here and the communities that are here.”

Smoot said the Carbondale community is participating in the event as well, specifically the Chamber of Commerce, which is providing items to give away at the event.

“I just think this is a great opportunity for SIU, and I’m hoping that — we’re all hoping — that this will help us increase our enrollment,” Smoot said. “We’re all participating in what needs to happen to make SIU great.”

Staff reporter Rana Schenke can be reached at [email protected].

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