SLU 101 Going Virtual


Photo by Michelle Peltier

SLU 101, the summer orientation program for incoming students, is just around the corner as the end of the spring semester nears. After countless cancellations of on-campus activities because of the pandemic, SLU 101 is still set to take place this year—still, it will look different than in past years. The most notable change is that SLU 101 will be moving completely online in order to limit unnecessary social contact between incoming students and their families. 

Director of Orientation Susan Fanale said that SLU is looking to “make the best plans for the safety of all while still meeting the needs of our incoming new students and families.” 

According to Fanale, this summer’s SLU 101 for students will be handled through a three-phase approach. Fanale maintained that SLU will still live by the original SLU 101 session dates students signed up for since registration went live on March 2. SLU will provide a pre-SLU 101 online orientation platform for students to gain information before “attending” their SLU 101 session. The incoming students’ SLU 101 session will be a reduced and modified schedule hosted live through Zoom. Afterwards, there will be a post-SLU 101 experience with additional online orientation, including next steps as well as additional outreach provided to students from the event’s leaders.

This summer’s SLU 101 for families and guests will be handled through a two-phase approach, according to Fanale. SLU will provide an online orientation platform that families and guests can complete on their own time. Fanale asserted that nothing on the online orientation platform will be tied to the SLU 101 session that the students will “attend.” SLU will then provide some opt-in experiences that families and guests can “attend” to gain additional orientation information later in June through mid-July. These add-on experiences will be hosted either in Facebook Live or through Zoom.

Fanale stated that SLU is still using the SLU 101 goals and outcomes to design the program for the summer “since these reflect our mission and values as a university.” These goals and outcomes of the program can be found on the SLU 101 webpage on the university’s website.

The combined experience of online orientation modules and a two-day virtual, real-time SLU 101 session look to provide incoming students with an honest look at life at SLU and to set students up for success from the start. 

According to the SLU 101 webpage, the university has packed the experience with all of the information students will need to prepare for their first semester at SLU. For this reason, all incoming students are expected to attend. Through SLU summer orientation, incoming students will learn about academic expectations and available support services at SLU, explore ways to get involved with campus organizations and activities, work with advisers to map out a fall class schedule and meet new friends.

The 2020 SLU 101 freshmen dates will occur within nine separate two-day periods, starting on June 1 and ending on June 30. In terms of what incoming students should expect, SLU 101 will first start with a welcome session. There, they will meet their SLU 101 leader—an upperclassmen who will serve as guides during summer orientation at SLU. Students will then meet with an academic advisor, hear about student life and what to expect from college and make friends during evening virtual events planned by SLU 101 leaders.

The virtual SLU 101 session combined with the online orientation modules will provide incoming students with the information they need to feel confident and prepared for their first semester as a Billiken. Students can review the SLU 101 website to learn more about plans for 2020 SLU 101 orientation.

“We know that students and families have enjoyed the in-person SLU 101 program in the past and have had many positive things to say about their experience and interactions with others around campus during their SLU 101 visit,” said Fanale, “Our goal is still to provide an informative experience to students and families this summer through different methods to help them feel comfortable starting their life as a Billiken at Saint Louis University.” 

Fanale said that she also knows SLU’s campus community will continue to reach out to students and families in order to support them during this time of transition.

If students have any questions about SLU 101, contact Susan Fanale at [email protected] or through [email protected].