This page hosts the content of the Billiken Bulletin, Saint Louis University's parent and family newsletter. We recognize the importance of transparency and accuracy to families as it relates to the University and your students. This monthly newsletter will hopefully provide additional insight into life on campus and more details about the resources we provide.
December Billiken Bulletin
Greetings, Billiken Families, and welcome to our second edition of the Billiken Bulletin. This newsletter is intended to provide information and highlights about Saint Louis University, as well as resources you can share with your student. This edition focuses on health, well-being and student support services.
Health and Well-being is Our Focus
Student well-being is a continued priority on our campus. During the 2021-22 academic year, the Student Well-being Task Force assessed SLU’s health and well-being ecosystem for students. This task force was made up of students, faculty and staff from across the University who contributed and collaborated to provide best practices for student well-being. Tori Harwood plays an important role in this area. Harwood is SLU’s Mental Health First Aid coordinator within the Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness. Here, she explains her role in educating students about the importance of health and well-being.
My name is Tori Harwood and one of my responsibilities is to assist in our mental health and suicide prevention efforts here on campus. One initiative I support is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to teach faculty, staff and students the necessary skills to assist someone with a mental health or substance use challenge. It is similar to CPR/first aid training, but focuses on mental health disorders and/or crises. During this eight-hour training, participants learn:
- Common signs and symptoms of mental illness
- How to interact with a person in crisis
- How to connect the person with help
- Expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care
Since we piloted the program in 2019, MHFA has quickly grown to become an important initiative for our campus community. We have trained 228 faculty/staff and 324 students. After this 2022-2023 academic year, we are projected to see those numbers climb to more than 400 faculty/staff and over 500 students trained. MHFA is also now a requirement for all employees within the Department of Housing and Residential Life (including student employees such as resident advisors and peer mentors), and is offered as an option for the new core curriculum.
To keep up with the growing demand for training, we knew we needed to train in-house facilitators, which is being underwritten by an anonymous donor and scholarships from the National Council of Mental Well-being. Ten SLU faculty or staff members currently serve as MHFA instructors, including me. Each went through three days of intensive training. They hold these positions on top of the other amazing work they are doing for our University community.
Ideally, everyone at the University will take the training at some point in their SLU journey. We want students, faculty or staff members who may need mental health support to feel comfortable going to anyone on campus. I ask that you share this opportunity with your student and encourage them to participate.
Feel free to direct any questions or concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see your SLU student in one of our upcoming training sessions!
The University Counseling Center is available to all students and aims to be a provider of affirming and compassionate care, a visible presence throughout the campus and a recognized partner in the larger well-being ecosystem. One of the ways the University Counseling Center meets this goal is through WellSPACE.
At the start of this academic year, the University Counseling Center opened WellSPACE, a designated space for self care that recognizes that the path to wellness may look different for each person. (The acronym stands for “Supporting and Promoting Artistic and Creative Expression.”)
WellSPACE offers a variety of sensory, movement and creative experiences to encourage self-care and exploration. With essential oil diffusers providing aromatherapy and sound machines humming in the background, students can find comfort in a place that actively promotes expression and validates needs often overlooked in academic settings. Some students prefer to relax on their own in the sensory swing or under a weighted blanket, while others sit with peers and paint or rake patterns into the tabletop sand garden.
Visitors can give feedback via anonymous, voluntary satisfaction surveys. According to responses, reasons for visits to WellSPACE range from homesickness and “feeling low,” to seeking “calm and peace of mind,” or simply, “fun.”
WellSPACE is located on the second floor of Wuller Hall, directly in front of the entrance to the University Counseling Center, and is available to all students from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The University Counseling Center also works with student groups and enthusiastically invites requests for reservations and collaboration. Please encourage your student to use the University Counseling Center and/or WellSPACE if it sounds like something they would benefit from.
For more information, please visit https://www.slu.edu/life-at-slu/university-counseling/index.php
Staff Spotlight: Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson (’04) has worked at SLU for more than two decades, and his last year has been busier than ever. In March, he was named SLU’s inaugural assistant vice president for student well-being.
Academic Advisor Corner
What can you do to help your student adjust to college in big and small ways, whether they are down the road or across the country? Keep in mind that their needs will change from that first year to the last.
- Your teens need to learn how to solve problems on their own.
- Do not text your child hourly. Or even daily.
- Please use the SLU Parent and Family website to get basic information.
Blueprint for Success
The Blueprint for Success Program is a spring workshop series designed to help first-year students with their transition to SLU, academic success and vocational exploration. The registration deadline for students is Jan. 20.
Evaluating Your College Student’s First Semester: Winter Break Conversation Starters
Winter break is here. Your college student is relishing some much-needed rest and relaxation, and you packed in a lot of quality family time over the holidays. You're also probably bursting with questions you'd like to ask them!
Alicia Turner-Roberson (’03) is a committed member of Saint Louis University’s Billiken Parent and Family Association (BPFA), serving as the sub-chair of the membership committee. The BPFA is made up of family member volunteers with students currently attending SLU. One of the group’s main goals is to support the University's mission and other Billiken families by acting as parent ambassadors. Members also develop fundraising opportunities to assist students and student initiatives.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a proud SLU alumna and parent of a fourth-year student majoring in health management. I am a long-time resident of St. Louis, although my birthplace is Chicago. Chicago will always be my home away from home. SLU has been a pivotal part of my life for a long time; I’m a former member of SLU’s alumni advisory student board, which was retired a few years ago. My husband and I have been members of the BPFA Executive Board since 2019; BPFA is the hottest ticket in town! I serve in the capacity of membership sub-chair and thoroughly enjoy being a member of BPFA helping to support the University’s mission, vision, and the best part — partnering and learning with an innovative and diverse group of fellow BPFA members/parents with a common goal. Our collective efforts are focused on a higher purpose and greater good for ALL.
We know your student probably had many options for college. Why did they choose SLU?
We made many college campus visits while my son was in high school. As parents, SLU was ALWAYS on our list. There was no one defining moment to tell us SLU was the place for my son…there were many defining moments. As the son of a SLU alum, my son possibly unknowingly viewed SLU as being the right place. There were many family outings to SLU men’s basketball games, the annual Billiken Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, trivia night and more. The transition from mom pulling her son along grew to be “I think SLU would be a great place for our second-generation college student!”
What were some worries you had when your student made the transition to SLU, and how have they changed?
As parents, the No. 1 concern was ensuring our son made college “his” experience and not try to emulate “mom’s” college experience or fit into the mold of doing exactly what his parents would want him to do. We have seen tremendous growth and maturity during these college years and his time on campus. My son has found his niche; living in the Village Apartments with three great roommates, meeting a diverse group of students and friend groups, joining student organizations, and partaking in events that best fit his interest, which all make us proud. An awesome highlight is learning how he’s met with various professors for office hours, requesting additional help when needed, and advocating on his own behalf!
How has the dynamic of your family changed with your student being in college and how have you worked through those changes?
The pandemic affected everyone in a pivotal way. Through it all, the school’s support and being involved as a BPFA member was crucial, necessary and assuring. Learning about necessary student resources and strategies to keep students and parents involved helped to ease the “what if’s” and anxieties we as parents and many others experienced.
Can you share a time when your student needed additional support (academic, emotional, etc.) and how they pushed through?
My son was uncertain about his area of focus/major and finding a career path that best suited his goals/passion. We had many conversations with him over the last four years and we are most thankful for the variety of SLU resources my son utilized to help him land what he describes as the career path he is most satisfied with. The resources were a collaborative make up of meetings, conversations and emails that included the career center, academic advising (I sat in on a few, with his permission), benchmark research provided by professors, and various other programs. We believe he was provided the tools necessary to make a decision that best fits him now and for the future.
What has been your favorite thing about SLU and/or BPFA so far?
SLU and the BPFA are interconnected; both offer new perspectives, broader connections, great learning and development resources, insight, and the opportunity to strengthen and cast a broader net for the students and parents of today and the future.
SLU captured its fourth A-10 tournament crown and its first back-to-back A-10 titles. The Billikens made their 50th appearance in the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, the most of all-time. Their season came to a close with a 12-5-3 overall record, losing to Indiana University.
Saint Louis concluded the season with school records for wins (20), longest winning streak (18), longest unbeaten streak (18) and shutouts (15). In addition, SLU tied the A-10 women's soccer record of 20 wins in a season. The team's winning streak ended in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament, losing to University of Memphis. We are so proud of their hard work and efforts this year.
Men’s Basketball Season Opener
The Billikens topped Murray State 91-68 in the season opener. Javonte Perkins scored a game-high 21 points in his return to the SLU lineup; Yuri Collins recorded a game-high 14 assists with no turnovers; and Javon Pickett and Francis Okoro grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds apiece.
Women’s Basketball Season Opener
The Billikens won over SIUE in their season opener. SLU registered its largest scoring output since the 2017-18 season, forced 31 turnovers, broke its single-game steals record and held SIUE to 38 points in the Billikens' 95-38 victory over the Cougars.
2023 FYE Student Leader Positions Now Open
The Office of First-Year Experience is looking for some dynamic student leaders for the next year. Encourage your student to apply. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to meet the incoming class and help them navigate their SLU journey. Available positions include: SLU 101 Leader, Oriflamme Fall Orientation Leader and Transfer Mentor.
If your student is interested in joining the FYE team, please encourage them to attend one of the FYE information sessions. They will be held on the following dates:
- Wednesday, Jan. 11 | 12 p.m. central time | Zoom
- Tuesday, Jan. 18 | 4 p.m. | Busch Student Center, Room 251A
Students interested in attending the virtual FYE info session must RSVP. A Zoom link to the session will be sent via email. No RSVP is needed to attend the in-person info session.
More information about the application process, application form/link, information sessions, important dates and position descriptions can be found on SLU’s website.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, January 19, 2023.
Students can also be nominated. So, tell your Billiken to reach out to their peers, instructors or academic advisors if they know someone who would be a great student leader, or click here to nominate a student.
Questions about the 2023 First-Year Experience leader selection process can be directed to Susan Fanale, director of orientation, at email@example.com.