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Becoming Billikens

by Amy Garland


Each year, Saint Louis University welcomes more than 1,700 new undergraduates to campus. Coming from scores of countries and every U.S. state, they are mostly just out of high school, but not all of them. Many have relatives who attended SLU, but many also will be the first in their family to complete a college degree.

They have their own achievements and challenges, preferences and pet peeves, and unique identities.

A student carries their belongings up the stairs in front of a mural of the SLU shield during move-in

Welcoming new students to campus is more than move-in.

The University wants each and every one to feel at home. To become part of the SLU community and to enrich its culture. To become, in a word, Billikens.

Below, see some of the many ways the University helps students start their new life at SLU.

Photos by Sarah Conroy unless otherwise noted.

June 5

A SLU 101 leader chats with admitted students while sitting in a circle on a SLU lawn

SLU 101 SUMMER ORIENTATION: These two-day overnight campus orientation visits, held in May, June and July, offer incoming undergraduates everything they need to prepare for their first semester. During a SLU 101 session last summer, Emily Tran (center) leads her peer group outside of Ritter Hall.

Aug. 17

Students dance together at the SLU International Student Ice Cream Social

INTERNATIONAL ICE CREAM SOCIAL: International students dance during an ice cream social sponsored by the International Student Federation. The Office of International Services holds a special orientation before the start of the fall, spring and summer semesters. Last fall, with more than 1,500 international students new to campus, this orientation and other events for international students were bigger than ever.

Aug. 18

A member of Oriflamme helps a new student and her family carry her belongings across the street during move-in.

MOVE-IN: Orange-shirted helpers from the Oriflamme group play a key role in welcoming new students to campus the week before classes begin. These leaders bring enthusiasm and enough energy to get everyone — and all of their stuff — moved into the residence halls. Here, an Oriflamme member leads the way across Laclede Avenue near Grand Hall (left).

Aug. 19

Students fill the stands at Chaifetz Arena for New Student Convocation

NEW STUDENT CONVOCATION AND FAMILY WELCOME: At convocation, held in Chaifetz Arena, SLU administration, faculty, staff and students officially welcome new Billikens and their families to the campus community.

A student holds up a Billiken Athletics flag during a spirit celebration

SPIRIT COMPETITION: Students go all out for the spirit competition during the soccer game. Here, a student holds a flag to display Billiken pride.

A student plays mini-golf on an illuminated golf course during the annual move-in street party.

PARTY ON GRAND: A student makes an illuminated putt at the post-soccer-game party along the West Pine Mall. The event includes SLU’s version of Carpool Karaoke, coloring and crafting, and more.

Aug. 22

Luella Loseille speaks to students during the Oath of Inclusion event at Chaifetz Arena.

LIVE THE OATH: SLU’s Oath of Inclusion is a student-led initiative that sets the expectation for all Billikens to promote inclusion on campus. New students are required to attend the Live the Oath event at the beginning of the academic year. Here, Luella Loseille (A&S ’17, Grad Ed ’19), assistant director of the Cross Cultural Center for Global Citizenship, speaks during the event at Chaifetz Arena.

Students chat with a student organization representative at the Community Service Fair

COMMUNITY SERVICE FAIR: The Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement holds a fair for students to learn about becoming involved in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on and off campus.

Aug. 23

A birds-eye view of the entrance of the ISE building. Students walk in and out of the building on their way to class

FIRST DAY OF CLASSES: Students stream through the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering building on the first day of fall classes.

Aug. 24

Students fill the pews of at St. Francis Xavier College Church.

MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Mass in St. Francis Xavier College Church helps mark the beginning of SLU’s new academic year. This Jesuit tradition dates to 1548 and is celebrated today by Jesuit schools around the world.

Students dance at the annual Pajama Jam in BSC.

WELCOME BACK PAJAMA JAM: Students dance during the Pajama Jam, which is held in Busch Student Center and hosted by the Student Government Association. Photo by Mariah Slaughter

Aug. 25

Performers dance during a Fall Welcome event in the Rec.

CU @ THE REC: Dancers from Phases of Motion perform during this Fall Welcome event that showcases SLU’s cultural dance teams. Photo by Michelle Peltier

Aug. 26

A member of the SLU paint staff pours neon yellow paint on the crowd.

PAINT SLU: During Paint SLU, a Fall Welcome favorite, a member of the paint staff pours neon yellow paint on the
crowd. Don’t worry — it’s biodegradable and watersoluble! Students gather at the Olive Compton Garage, get painted and dance to a live DJ. Photo by Michelle Peltier

Sept. 6

Students sign and color a banner during Fresh Check Day.

FRESH CHECK DAY: Students sign and color a banner during Fresh Check Day. The event introduces students to the mental health resources available on campus, in the local community and nationally.

Sept. 9

A student in paintball gear chats with students during the SLU Involvement Fair.

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT FAIR: One of the surest ways to become a Billiken is to get involved. The Student Involvement Fair helps match students with more than 200 cocurricular opportunities, such as the Wilderness Adventure Club.

Sept. 13

Students listen to their instructor while sitting at a desk in class.

CURA PERSONALIS CLASS: D’Ashia Miller, Gian de Guzman and Tess Riley (from left) learn about SLU’s Center for Global Citizenship during a Cura Personalis 1 class. A requirement of the University core curriculum, the class offers students guidance and support as they join the SLU community, explore vocations and plan or a purpose-filled life in solidarity with others.