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Billiken Bulletin Newsletter

Welcome back and Happy New Year, Billiken Families. We hope you had a wonderful and blessed holiday season and enjoyed spending time with your Saint Louis University Billiken. This month’s newsletter introduces new SLU departments, programs and services, and highlights a new faculty member.

The Future of the First-Year Experience at SLU

Submitted by Victoria Martin, Ph.D., assistant vice president of first-year experience and student success and transition

Greetings, Billiken families! In the spring of 2022, Kennedy & Company, a consulting firm located in Virginia, was invited to the Saint Louis University campus to obtain a better understanding of how our organizational structures and work best serve our Billikens’ evolving needs. Kennedy & Company was founded to provide colleges and universities with support as they work to identify solutions to their most pressing concerns. This support happens through in-person interactions, reviews of documents and campus visits. First-year students sitting together at a table

In partnership with various departments on campus, the firm facilitated numerous focus groups, served as thought partners in various working groups and reviewed several documents that capture the work we do at SLU to retain and support our Billikens. 

In Fall 2023, recommendations were made and impactful decisions were presented. One of the major suggestions was the creation of a new department in the Division of Student Development called First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. The SLU community is excited and I am honored to lead as the inaugural assistant vice president of first-year experience and students in transition. The departments under its umbrella will include the Office for Parent and Family Engagement, the collaboration of Billikens’ First Chapter and SOAR, EAB Navigate (The Education Advisory Board), and New Student Programs. 

Over the next 12 months, this new team will be working diligently to:

  • Identify the needs of incoming and current BIlliken parents/families and implement effective strategies to acknowledge and address those needs
  • Identify and acknowledge the needs of incoming Billikens and implement comprehensive programming, including campus and community stakeholders, that can meet those needs
  • Create accessible and inclusive spaces for incoming Billikens to develop a sense of belonging and explore their unique identities
  • Assess the experience of incoming and current Billikens and parents/families to ensure we are continuing to meet current and evolving needs

Please know this is not an exhaustive list of the great work we will be doing — here are only a few highlights. Our objective is that this department will serve as an “on-ramp” for incoming Billikens and parents/families/guardians as they navigate their first year at SLU and continue to be a place of support for parents/families and Billikens beyond their first year. Ultimately, we want to create a space where our incoming and current Billikens and their parents/families and guardians feel seen, valued, heard, acknowledged and supported. 

The Academic Advising Corner

Submitted by Peggy Dotson, provost for academic advising

Blueprint for Success is a spring semester program designed to help first-year students develop effective academic strategies. Especially helpful for students who would like to improve their GPA after their first semester, Blueprint provides a series of small-group sessions that focus on time management and organization, academic success, wellness and self-care, motivation and confidence, and vocational exploration.

Previous program participants experienced an increase in their semester GPA, felt more confident in setting and achieving goals, and reported that the program helped them identify available resources to achieve their academic goals and improve their study skills. Students also recognized the important benefit of identifying individuals who support their academic goals. Additionally, students who complete Blueprint will satisfy the Cura Personalis 2: Self in Contemplation requirement of the University Core.

Sessions meet weekly from the first week of February until Spring Break. While open to all first-year students, University staff or faculty may also require or encourage individual students to participate in the program. Please apply early, as space is limited to preserve the small-group experience.

Apply for Blueprint for Success

Contact Brittany Ludwig, Blueprint for Success coordinator, at with any questions.

Learn More About Academic Advising

Faculty Spotlight

Saint Louis University Creates Oliver L. Parks Endowed Deanship for the School of Science and Engineering

With a $2 million commitment, Saint Louis University will establish an endowed deanship for the School of Science and Engineering (SSE). Gregory E. Triplett Jr., Ph.D., who has served as the school’s dean since July, has been named the inaugural holder of the Oliver L. Parks Endowed Deanship.

Parks was a pioneer in aviation training and the founder of Parks Air College, which he donated to SLU in 1946. Named in his honor, the deanship recognizes his distinguished history and contributions to the University.

Read the Full Story

Winter Welcome Involvement

Submitted by Sydney Papadopoulos, assistant director for the Student Involvement Center

As we embrace the start of the semester, the air on campus is buzzing with excitement and anticipation. It's time to dust off those textbooks and reconnect with friends, and for students to immerse themselves in the incredible array of activities awaiting them. Below are some Winter Welcome programs and activities sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement that we would love to see your students participate in. 

As we embark on this new academic journey together, we embrace the spirit of community, engagement and fun. These events are designed to create lasting memories and foster connections that extend far beyond the classroom.

We look forward to meeting and seeing your students at these events.

Learn More About the Office of Student Involvement

SINGO! by the Student Activities Board: January 16 at 7 p.m. in the CGC
Let's kick off the semester with a harmonious blend of bingo and songs  – introducing Singo! Join us on January 16 for an evening of laughter, music and the chance to win fantastic prizes. It's the perfect opportunity to showcase your bingo skills and enjoy the company of fellow students in a lively atmosphere.

TikTok Influencer & Comedian Ryan Kelly: 7 p.m, Jan. 17 in the CGC
Prepare for a night of laughter and entertainment as the Student Activities Board proudly presents TikTok sensation and comedian Ryan Kelly. Get ready to be captivated by his wit and charm as he brings his unique humor to our campus. This promises to be an unforgettable evening filled with laughter and camaraderie.

Movie Night with the Student Activities Board: 7 p.m., Jan. 18 in the CGC
Join us for an enchanting cinematic experience. Bring your blankets and snacks as we transform the CGC into a cozy indoor movie haven. It's a perfect opportunity to unwind, relax and enjoy a great film with friends old and new.

National PanHellenic Council 101: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 18 in BSC 352/353
Embark on a journey of discovery as we dive into the legacy and significance of historically Black Greek-lettered organizations. Join us for NPHC 101, where you can learn more about the history, values and contributions of these organizations that have played a pivotal role in shaping our vibrant campus culture.

Silent Headphone Disco with Billikens After Dark: 7 p.m., Jan. 19 in the Saint Louis Room (BSC 300)
Dance like nobody's listening (literally!) at the Silent Headphone Disco hosted by Billikens After Dark on January 19. Grab a pair of headphones, tune in to your favorite beats and dance the night away. It's a unique and immersive experience that adds a twist to the traditional dance party — an event you won't want to miss!

Winter Involvement Fair: 2-5 p.m., Jan. 23 in the BSC Wool Ballrooms
The Student Involvement Center proudly presents the Winter Involvement Fair. Discover opportunities to get involved, join clubs and connect with organizations that align with your interests. It's a fantastic chance to make the most of your university experience beyond the classroom.

IFC Meet & Greet: 1-3 p.m., Jan. 27 in DeMattias Hall
We are calling all future fraternity members! The Interfraternity Council invites you to an afternoon where you can gain insights into fraternity life. Mingle with current members, ask questions, and discover the benefits that define fraternity life on our campus. It's an opportunity to explore the benefits and values of being part of this close-knit community.

Panhellenic Council Meet & Greet: 6-8:30 p.m., Feb. 12 in BSC 173
Join the Panhellenic Council as they lift the curtain on sorority life at Saint Louis University. Discover the sisterhood, philanthropy, and personal growth that are integral to the sorority experience. It's a chance to connect with current members and envision the incredible journey that awaits you. This event promises to be informative and empowering for students who are ready to embark on this new academic journey together, while creating lasting memories and fostering connections beyond the classroom.

Career Fairs and Expos for This Semester

Submitted by Cori Israel, assistant director for career services 

January is a great time to discuss career development with your students, as well as the importance of researching and identifying their career pursuits. The events below allow students to meet directly (virtually and in person) with employers looking to recruit interns and full-time employees for the summer and the following year. If students need help preparing resumes for these opportunities, they can schedule a meeting with their career counselor using EAB Navigate. Students can also attend a Career Fair Prep session the week of the major Career Expo in February. Students can find details and register in Handshake.  

Learn More About SLU Career Services

Students at a career fair1-4 p.m., Wed. Feb. 7, 2024 | Richard A Chaifetz School of Business Career Fair
The Spring 2024 Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business Career Fair is a career event for students interested in all business areas. Students will meet with representatives from various organizations and learn about their internship and full-time opportunities. Students from all majors and years in school are welcome to attend. Recommended attire is business casual.

Noon-1 p.m.,Wed. Feb. 21, 2024 | Spring Career Expo
This gives students the chance to network and develop relationships with future employers, discuss potential internships, demonstrate communication skills, decide their career path, and more! This event is open to all students.

2-5 p.m., Wed. March 20, 2024 | Spring Virtual Networking and Career Fair
The Virtual Networking and Career Fair is an opportunity for students to virtually connect with employers recruiting for full-time, professional and internship positions. This event is open to all students and pre-registration is required. Students will need to sign up for individual and group sessions in advance.

Get to Know SLU’s Unique Terminology

Billiken families, we recognize there are common terms that are used on SLU’s campus that could be unfamiliar to you or your student in a campus environment. There is a glossary of terms available to assist in understanding common terminology and how it’s applied not only at SLU, but in higher education. The first acronym we would like to introduce is:

FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ensures that, in general, rights belong to the student, rather than the parent or guardian. You can learn more about FERPA and third-party access to academic records at SLU through the Office of the University Registrar.

Learn More About the SLU Common Terms

Did you know? Martin Luther King Jr. visited SLU in 1964 and gave a speech on campus two days after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This included classrooms, labs, a museum, a library and residences.

Important Calendar Dates 

Halls that closed over the break period will open again at 10 a.m. on Jan. 12. There is nothing students need to do upon returning to their space. 

January 1-13: Winter Break
January 12: Residence Halls Open at 10 a.m.
January 15: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observed
January 16: Spring Semester Begins
January 19-20: Greek Officer Development Retreat
January 28-29: Fraternity and Sorority Life Retreat

Save-the-Date Reminders for Your Students

Feb 1: Rising Junior and Senior Housing Contracts open for the 2024/2025 academic year
Feb 26: Rising Sophomore Housing Contracts open for the 2024/2025 academic year 

View Dates and Deadlines for the Housing Applications and the Selection Process

Billiken Family Fan Fest Weekend

Graphic reading Family Fan Fest WeekendBilliken Family Fan Fest Weekend will be held February 24-25. This is another opportunity for our Billiken families to share in a SLU experience with their students. Men’s and Women’s teams have scheduled basketball games, and there will be pre-games at two locations. Families who register will receive a t-shirt, appetizers and beverages. Libations will also be available for purchase.

Learn More and Register

Billiken Families who volunteer to support one of the pre-game events will receive a free ticket to both the pre-game and basketball games.

Learn More About Parent and Family Volunteer Opportunities

April 13: Billiken Parent and Family Association Trivia NightBPFA Trivia save the date April 13
Stay Tuned for More Information on the SLU Parents and Families Webpage

Additional University Resources

2023-24 Student Handbook for all SLU Students

University Commencement

University Newslink

University Academic Calendar

Parent and Family Engagement Facebook Page 

Billiken Parent and Family Association Group