The Billiken Bulletin is Saint Louis University's parent and family newsletter. We recognize the importance of transparency and accuracy to families as it relates to SLU and your students. This monthly newsletter will provide additional insight into life on campus and more details about our resources.
September Billiken Bulletin
Welcome Billiken Families! My name is Kesha Williams, and I serve as the Director for Parent and Family Engagement at Saint Louis University. I have the distinct honor and pleasure of partnering with parents and families of incoming and current students at SLU.
We are incredibly excited to have you as a part of our family and want to do everything we can to ensure you are well-informed about the SLU community, able to network with other SLU families and have the appropriate resources to help you navigate the university. Hopefully, you were able to meet some of our dynamic faculty and staff during the Fall Welcome and Move-in.
The office aims to provide families like yours with information, programs, services, and resources to help support your student from near or far, all year round. The Billiken Bulletin is a monthly electronic newsletter that provides resources to help you navigate campus, while also offering helpful information you can pass on to your students.
I encourage you to visit the parent and family website, which features key family resources and a list of parent and family events. In addition, it explains how you can stay involved by volunteering for the Billiken Parent and Family Association. In the interim, watch this video to hear from our very own Billiken Families why SLU is so unique – and why your Billiken made an excellent choice.
The Office of Parent and Family Engagement is located in the Dean of Students in the Division of Student Development, third floor of Busch Student Center, Suite 356. The phone number is 314-977-9378 or email us at email@example.com.
Fall and Welcome Week Recap for Students and Families
As the Student Development staff turn the page to September, we like to take a moment to pause and reflect upon the rewarding start of another great year. Fall Welcome is one of SLU’s longest-standing traditions. It’s an opportunity for families and students to be officially welcomed back in various capacities to the university and the campus community while they move into their new Billikens. This year, cheers were chanted, boxes were carried, and some tears were likely shed. But, thanks to the hard work of our Oriflamme leaders and the staff in Housing and Residence Life, move-in was deemed a success.
We heard the inspirational and wise words from University leaders during Convocation, the official start of the academic year and welcome to our newest Billikens. Convocation also taught our new additions the proud energy expected from them, as they declare, “I am a Billiken” for the next few years. Of course, we spent a lot of Fall Welcome teaching your students what it means to live and learn at SLU, how to serve the mission, and how to uplift those who share different identities, interests, and passions. We found future karaoke stars, discovered mini-golf champions and facilitated what is arguably the largest game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” you have ever seen. Students met their faculty, heard from Deans, and toured their classrooms in advance of their first “official” day of classes. We poured ourselves into creating a meaningful experience for you and your student, and we will continue to fill each student’s cup throughout their time at SLU.
The start of a new year is an electric time for any college campus, but especially at Saint Louis University. We trust that your Billiken is slowly starting to branch out, take risks, and explore all SLU offers. We hope your experience so far has reinforced the decision to join the SLU family, for both you and your student. We also hope you immerse yourself in all we offer for parents and families, making sure to visit campus, attend events, and support Billiken athletics. We are fortunate to be a part of your students’ story, and thank you for entrusting us with that opportunity.
On behalf of the Office of Parent and Family Engagement, we want to thank all of our families who supported their students during their move-In and participated in the parent and family activities.
Our Fall Welcome began August 17 and 18 with the Parent and Family Hospitality Headquarters in the Simon Recreation Center. Hundreds of families and students stopped by to receive free giveaways, eat delicious appetizers, visit our campus partners, and purchase a clear stadium bag for $20. All proceeds went to Billiken Bounty.
That evening, from 5-8 p.m., Billiken families got to network with other families at the Foundry. This establishment has a multitude of eateries and entertainment for families and students. Over 200 families enjoyed appetizers, libations and some trivia.
On Friday, August 18, from 4-6 p.m., the Cross-Cultural Center and the Office of Parent and Family Engagement hosted its first “Food for the Soul” event. Students and families were encouraged to bring their recipes for a recipe exchange. Multicultural Student Organizations had tables for students and families to stop by and learn more about their student organizations. There was also a mini presentation to introduce all groups.
Student Development would like to hear your feedback on the Fall Welcome activities. Billiken Families, please fill out this survey and share your Fall Welcome experience; it would be greatly appreciated. It only takes five minutes.
Getting Connected With First Billiken Chapter/SOAR (Students Opportunities for Achievement)
As your student prepares to return to campus or arrive on campus for the first time, there are two programs –Students’ Opportunity for Achievement and Resources (SOAR) and Billikens’ First Chapter (BFC) – that may be able to assist them as they navigate their journey. Both programs allow students to meet one-on-one with a professional staff member to discuss goals, challenges, and strategies for success, social, financial, and academic programming, and peer support. Below, you can learn more about the specific populations each program supports and how your students can connect with each program if they meet the criteria.
Students’ Opportunity for Achievement and Resources (SOAR)
The SOAR program works with SLU students who identify as belonging to one of three populations:
- A first-generation college student (defined as neither parent having graduated with a four-year degree)
- Has a Pell Grant as part of their financial aid package
- Has a registered disability.
Once in the program, students are provided with additional resources and services to help them on their path toward graduation and whatever lies beyond. As part of the program, students work with a SOAR Counselor to help them navigate the world of SLU, be it financial aid, study strategies, roommate concerns, internships, or life after college. Additional resources available to students in SOAR include weekly tutoring, peer mentoring, community building, priority registration, access to free psychological testing, and more! Students do have to apply to the program and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, check out our website: slu.edu/soar or contact program director Lindsay Gonterman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-977-2928.
Billikens’ First Chapter (BFC)
Billikens’ First Chapter was created in the summer of 2021 to provide additional support to high-touch, or at-risk, students who historically needed additional help before the onset of COVID-19. Billikens’ First Chapter supports first-year students who self-identify with three out of five of the following criteria:
- First-generation (defined as neither parent having graduated with a four-year degree)
- Pell-eligible (determined by information submitted on FAFSA)
- African American/Black, Latino/a/x, multiracial
- High School GPA of 2.5-3.6
- Undecided major
If an incoming first-year student meets these criteria, they are placed in Billikens’ First Chapter (BFC). Program participants are called BFC Scholars and work closely with a First-Year Navigator (full-time professional). First-Year Navigators will encourage BFC Scholars to schedule bi-monthly meetings to discuss their social and academic transition, goals and action plans for success, campus and community resources, and other topics pertinent to individual success. BFC also hosts various programs that allow BFC Scholars to connect with faculty and staff, create a sense of belonging, establish relationships with other BFC Scholars, and volunteer opportunities in the community. If you are interested in learning more about Billikens’ First Chapter, contact Dr. Victoria Martin at email@example.com or 314.977.7796.
Even if your student does not meet the requirements for SOAR or BFC, please know that you can refer them to either program for assistance. We welcome the opportunity to connect them with the best campus partner to support them. We are committed to the success of all students inside and outside of the classroom.
Saint Louis University utilizes EAB Navigate to link administrators, advisors, instructors, staff, and students in coordinated efforts designed to assist student success from orientation to graduation.
Why should you encourage your student to use EAB Navigate?
- Guidance: Navigate is a free mobile app that will help students thrive at SLU. The Navigate calendar can also sync to a student’s phone calendar.
- Make Connections: Whether looking for academic advising, tutoring, or success coaching, etc., EAB Navigate can connect students to the right people and resources.
- Connect to Support...Faster: Students can reach out to their Success Team (members at SLU assigned to assist throughout their academic career) and other resources on campus.
- Important Events or Deadlines: The Navigate Events/To-Dos identify key information. Plus, students can add reminders and to-dos.
Health and Well-Being at SLU
The mental well-being of our Billiken Students is an important component and priority of the SLU Community when it comes to caring for the entire student. Mental health counseling, spiritual support, and well-being resources are available for all members of the SLU community. Many resources, sources of information, and programs are available for your Billiken while they are here at SLU. Students are encouraged to utilize these resources throughout their time at SLU. SLU cares about the entire person, mentally, spiritually and physically, and there are many opportunities for students to take advantage of these experiences.
Student Well-Being Task Force
Last fall, SLU established a student well-being task force composed of stakeholders from across the University and from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Following months of soliciting input from the campus, the task force recently released its final recommendations to move the University toward a culture of well-being.
Simon Recreation Center
Health and well-being also include taking care of yourself mentally and spiritually. The Simon Recreation Center is a state-of-the-art facility that offers programs on how to relax and stay healthy, intramural sports, sports clubs, aerobic classes, and open recreation. It’s also a wonderful place where students can meet up, relax and have a good time while working out their body, mind and soul.
Billiken Parent and Family Association Volunteer Committee
Because you are a part of the Billiken Family, you can volunteer in fellowship with other Billiken Families. Whether you live in St. Louis or out of state, the Office of Parent and Family Engagement at SLU is always looking for opportunities to connect families in fellowship to fulfill SLU’s mission of supporting our students. If you haven’t already, please visit the Office of Parent and Family Engagement website to find out about the opportunities below.
- Please visit SLU Billiken Parent and Family Engagement online and join the Office of Parent and Family Engagement Facebook page.
- Find out more about what it means to volunteer. Read the BPFA Guidelines
- Peruse all of our Volunteer Opportunities. This is your way of partnering with SLU.
- Want to learn more about how you get involved? Fill out the BPFA Interest Form.
Understanding your Billiken's Mail Services at SLU
Billiken families, now that your student is living on campus, it’s important that they are familiar with campus mailing policies and procedures so that they can receive and send mail. In doing so, we wanted to provide some instructions and best practices to assist you. First, it helps to understand your student's mailbox number.
Below is information your student should have received regarding the Student Mailroom Services and how incoming letters and packages should be addressed. Your student should have received their banner ID now, as well as their MSC #. These numbers will be included in all of the incoming and outgoing packages.
For your student to locate their MSC number:
- Log in to the SLU portal
- Click on the Banner Self-Service portal
- Select “Personal Information” Select
- Select “View Addresses and phone numbers”
- You will find your MSC number in the “Student Campus Mailbox” section. Use your MSC# for your incoming letters and packages from Couriers (i.e. Amazon)
- A sample of what your student address will look like is as follows:
Student’s First and Last name
20 N. Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63103
How Your Student is Notified
Once a letter or package has been received by the mailroom, it is scanned into our system and an email is generated and sent to the student. The packages are assigned to one of two places:
- An organized shelf in the mailroom. The student must then schedule an appointment through Appointy to pick up their packages.
- The parcel lockers (a second email is sent with a code for the parcel lockers)
Letter mail stays in the mailroom until the student makes an appointment through Appointy to pick it up.
We are a USPS store ONLY. We do not accept Amazon, UPS, or FedEx returns.
- Ensure the first and last name with MSC# is on the package or letter mail.
- Advise your students to pick up their letter mail regularly. (It’s more exciting for them to pick up packages than letter mail).
- Be patient with the Student Mailroom Services for the first few months. We have new student workers in training, and, as you can imagine, we are overwhelmed with incoming letter mail and packages.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Please keep in mind as we all transition into the new semester the mail services can get quite busy very quickly. Mail services staff will be working extremely hard to ensure that mail is delivered and sent promptly.
The Office of Career Services once again invites our BPFA members to volunteer at
the Fall 2023 Career Expo, which will be held noon-4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023,
in the Busch Student Center's Wool Ballrooms. Last year, the parent and family volunteers
made a huge impact, helping with the nearly 150 employers and more than 500 students
in attendance! That said, it takes the entire Career Services Team in addition to
many campus partners, and this year the team would again like to partner with the
BPFA members to help in various roles, from helping with student check-in, backpack
and coat check, and answering basic questions from students to helping with employer
hospitality throughout the event.
See all the Volunteer Opportunities
If you have additional questions about this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Weekend 2023
Homecoming and Family Weekend is coming September 22-24. The purpose of the weekend is to provide programs, engagement, and experiences for alumni, students, and families by showcasing the campus and sharing all the wonderful opportunities your Billiken gets to experience at SLU through the students’ eyes.
All volunteers will receive a free official Homecoming/Family Weekend jersey! If you have further questions, email email@example.com. Registration for these events will be available soon!
Vocation Week Spring 2023: SLU is hosting a series of events to help students explore options related to their career and SLU degree. Vocation Week starts on Tuesday, September 19 and includes an Academic Fair, Career Expo and small group sessions that walk students through the Ignatian decision-making process for major decisions.
Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate in all three events, held in the Busch Student Center (BSC):
- Tuesday: Making Life Decisions, Jesuit Style
- Wednesday: Career Expo
- Thursday: Academic Fair
Students in a Learning Community can earn Doctrina points for all events. Visit the Vocation Week website for details and registration instructions.
Important Calendar Dates
Sept. 6-21: IFC Recruitment, Various Locations
Sept. 15: Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off ceremony (11 a.m., CGC)
Sept. 15: Policy Pod Kick off Event for registered students
Sept. 19: National Voters Registration Day
Sept. 21: Fall Career Expo (noon, Wool Ballrooms, BSC)
Sept. 22-24: Homecoming and Family Weekend
Sept. 23-24: Immersion Trip: Student Leader Formation Retreat
Sept. 27: Chaifetz School of Business Career Day (1 p.m., Cook Hall)
Sept. 27- Wellness Day - No classes
Sept. 30 - Last day to waive/enroll in SLU Student Health Insurance (UHP) for the fall semester