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November Billiken Bulletin

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. 

Kesha Williams, Director of Parent and Family EngagementGreetings Billiken Families,

My name is Kesha Williams, and I serve as the director of Saint Louis University’s Office of Parent and Family Engagement. The office was established in April to provide resources, communication and services for incoming and current families to be better able to support their students. 

We would also like to invite you to join two Facebook pages: 

Follow the Saint Louis University’s Office of Parent and Family Engagement

Join the Billiken Parent and Family Association (BPFA) Facebook Group

If I can ever be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at or 314-977-9378.

With Billiken Pride,
Kesha Williams
Director for Parent and Family Engagement

Billiken Parent and Family Association Co-Chair Introductions

Toni Zychinski, co-chair BPFAHello, my name is Toni Zychinski. 

I'm proud to say that I was born and have spent my entire life in Saint Louis! I'm a realtor by trade and a social worker by education. My husband and I have lived in Saint Louis Hills for over 25 years. We truly love the city and all Saint Louis has to offer. We have two adult children: a freshman at SLU studying Entrepreneurship and a junior at Missouri S&T studying physics and neurobiology. My husband, our children, and I, myself, have enjoyed the benefits of a K-12 Catholic education. 

My husband and I are excited to have recently joined SLU’s BPFA Executive Board. We volunteered because we believe in Jesuit education and feel strongly about serving our community. We look forward to developing friendships, sharing our talents, and becoming even more deeply rooted in our city.

As a family and now as empty nesters, we try to take full advantage of all STL activities. We spend much of our free time with friends at local happenings such as musical concerts, Muny and Fox shows, not to mention the endless annual events like St. Pat's Day Dogtown and Pride parades, Circus Flora, Parish picnics, Shakespeare in the Park, International Institute's Festival of Nations, Art in the Park, Brew in the Lou, Grant Farm's Spooktacular, Boo at the Zoo, Xtreme's Haunted Paintball, Laumeier After Dark, Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Gardens, AB's Brewery Lights, and we always delight in our neighborhood's tree lighting/Candy Cane Lane holiday lights. I hope your Billiken can attend one or four of the aforementioned during their time at SLU too. While I love to cook, we also frequent many local eats celebrating family moments over dinners out. I love movies, too; annually I see all Oscar-nominated movies. I am also a craft addict, constantly working on some project.

I am humbled to help lead the 2022-2023 BPFA and happy to have Co-Chair Dawn Reavis by my side. I look forward to seeing you and your Billikens at upcoming events! I hope that the BPFA's welcoming environment draws you into sharing your time as well. AMDG.

Dawn Reavis, co-chair of BPFAHello fellow Billiken families,

My name is Dawn Reavis, and I use she/her pronouns. I am excited to have recently been elected as co-chair of the BPFA for the 2022-2023 academic year. I currently reside around the Nashville, TN area, but St. Louis is my hometown. I grew up in the southwest city area near The Hill. Since leaving St. Louis, I have lived all over the U.S. and also spent five years living in Germany.  

My Billiken is a first-year, trans male and United States Army Special Operations dependent, currently trying to decide between a major in law and/or chemistry. 

I was interested in being a part of the BPFA to help bridge the gap between parents and their Billikens. As an accountant, adjunct instructor, and teacher of ACT prep, I see another side to the parent/young adult dynamic, for which I have always felt I could offer a buffer. As parents, I feel we spend 18 years guiding our children in all aspects of their lives while preparing them to spread their wings and fly when they go off to college or into the world itself. Unfortunately, no one prepares the parents for the major shift pertaining to the direction information flows.

I am excited to work with families, students, SLU organizations, and other BPFA board members to assist in any way I can. I know this year will be a great year, and with your help, there is nothing we can’t accomplish!

Housing Updates

We are so happy to have your Billiken residing with us on campus. We hope you and your student had a fun and successful move-in. We enjoyed connecting with families and watching students settle into their home away from home. 

SLU students socializing on a sunny patioThere is a lot to navigate in the first few weeks of school, from adjusting to roommates to  learning new schedules and routines. Our staff is prepared to support your students within their residential community.  At this point in the semester, all students with a roommate should have completed a roommate agreement. This agreement goes over expectations and guidelines for the space. If your student hasn’t completed a roommate agreement, we encourage them to reach out to their resident advisor to learn more about the process.  Resident advisors serve as a great resource to your student, from planning community events throughout the year within the halls and buildings to sharing important information about important University dates, deadlines and processes. 

We know this may be the first time a student is living on their own.    

Our building staff is currently completing “health and safety” checks within each community and room. These checks review the living spaces of each resident to ensure University policies are being upheld. Staff can observe if prohibited items are in living spaces and can see living conditions to see if support or guidance is needed.       

So, what’s next in the world of SLU housing?  Contracts for spring housing assignments are now live. If you have a student who currently does not reside on campus but would like to join the on-campus community in the spring, these housing contracts are available in your student's housing portal. This contract is only for students who currently do not live on campus. Current residential students have a contract that is both for the fall and spring semesters. 

It’s also time to start thinking ahead for break periods. Different SLU residence halls close or remain open during Thanksgiving break, winter break and spring break. Information about break periods, buildings that close and the dates can be found here. Break periods are a great time for students to begin switching out seasonal items from their rooms, such as clothing and shoes, to bring back warmer items (coats, etc.) now that colder weather is upon us. 

Speaking of colder weather, it is important to know that many of our buildings run on boiler systems for their heating source. This means that many students cannot change their room from AC to heat until the boiler systems have been turned on. Once the systems are turned on, the heat remains on for the entirety of the season. The facilities staff uses a set of criteria that determines when units will be adjusted and monitor the weather closely to determine timing. We will be communicating specific information with residents, but it is important to share this information with you as you may hear your student talking about the space being warmer or colder than they may like for a few weeks. With the unpredictability of St. Louis weather, we know it is a point of discussion during this time period.

Although we have some time before housing selection for the 2023-2024 academic year, a great resource for all of our upcoming housing dates and processes can be found here. Once we are closer to the selection periods, more information will be shared!

We hope your Billiken is adjusting to life on campus and enjoying their time in community with their peers. 

Facilities/Maintenance/Furniture/Custodial Concerns: Students should submit a work order for their issue or call the main facilities number during business hours at 314-977-2955.

Housing and Residence Life: Resident Advisors and Hall Coordinators are available to assist and are great resources within each community.

Billikens’ First Chapter (BFC) 

Dr Victoria MartinGreetings, Billiken Parents and Families! My name is Dr. V. Martin, and I have the honor of serving as the interim director of retention and student success at Saint Louis University! This role provides me with the opportunity to support Billikens’ First Chapter. BFC is one of a few programs we offer at SLU to support incoming first-year students.

Billikens’ First Chapter has a mission to support first-year students who meet three out of the following five criteria:

  • First-generation
  • Pell eligible
  • Self-identifies as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino(a), or two or more races
  • High school GPA of 2.51-3.6
  • Still deciding major 

BFC supports our scholars by providing a safe, judgment-free space for them as they navigate their first year at SLU. This support is provided through bi-weekly, one-on-one meetings, targeted social and developmental programming, and having a space where scholars can “just be.” Two Black male students laughing together in the Center for Global CitizenshipDespite program criteria, we do not turn students away. If your student does not meet these criteria but you are concerned about their academic performance and/or their inability to make friends and build community, allow BFC to help. We welcome the opportunity to meet your students, learn more about their experience, and get them connected with campus resources that may assist them with thriving at SLU. 

Billikens’ First Chapter is located in Busch Student Center, Room 354. Dr. V. Martin can be reached at

National First-Generation Day

National First-Generation College Student Celebration Day is on Nov. 8 and there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate at SLU! First-generation students will be celebrated at the SLU Men's Basketball Game on Nov. 7, as well as on Nov. 8 on West Pine Mall and Nov. 11 at the Clock Tower.

SOAR Updates

As the parent of a first-generation college student, you want to see your student succeed, but it can be difficult to know how to best support them through their SLU journey. Aside from your love, encouragement, and maybe a care package of their favorite things, here are a few additional ways you can support your student:

  • Encourage using campus resources like Students' Opportunity for Achievement and Resources. There's a lot of help available for students on SLU’s campus, and your student may need encouragement from you to take advantage of this support. SOAR advisors and peer mentors can help students to connect to more campus resources, too!
  • Encourage making connections. Students experiencing impostor syndrome or breakaway guilt might feel isolated or that they're abandoning their family and home culture by making friends. Encouragement from you can help your student to make connections on campus. Encourage your students to join a student group, try new things, and connect with campus staff and faculty.
  • Encourage self-discovery. Your student might be excited to bring home new ideas and knowledge! Encouraging their self-discovery and new ideas can help students to explore their coursework more deeply, make connections with other students and college staff and faculty, and become more confident as young adults.
  • Encourage your student’s strengths. College is challenging for all students. You probably know your student's strengths better than anyone — reminders of your student's successes and encouragement can mean a lot to them!

Three female students of color sitting at a table, smilingIf you feel like your student could use additional support, encourage them to check out the SOAR program. SOAR works with undergraduate SLU students who are either first-generation college students, have a Pell grant or have a registered disability. Contact for more information.

Activities To Do With Your Billiken Over Thanksgiving Break

Four white male students smiling as they sit around a bonfireWe know you are excited to see your Billiken over Thanksgiving break, and we’re here to help you plan the best visit ever! Check out this article to get some activity ideas to do with your student when they come home in three short weeks! 

Thanksgiving Break To-Do List

Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards

The Office of Student Responsibility shares a partnership with Billiken parents and families. Through our quarterly newsletter we share information about our processes and inform parents and families' ways to encourage their Billiken through any community standards process if their student is cited for an alleged violation. If you would like to sign up for our newsletter that is distributed during key times throughout the year, please fill out the below Google form or e-mail so we can assist add you to our mailing list.

Sign Up for the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards Newsletter

Get Involved With Career Services 

Would you like to volunteer at a Career Fair or other event?  Does your company have jobs or internships you would like to post for SLU students? Are you interested in serving on a panel of professionals from various industries? If so, let us know, and we will connect with you when we have an opportunity!