SIU cancels classes Friday for Salukis Self-Care Day

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:36 PM CST
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University canceled classes to provide comfort and support to students and staff.

The fall semester had just started when students learned freshman KeeShanna Jackson had been shot and killed at a house party.

Then just last week, news broke of junior Jacob Jurinek’s death during that tragic crowd surge at Houston’s Astroworld Festival.

Friday’s goal on campus was to support grieving students and give them a chance to smile.

At SIU’s Morris Library, a much different selection had students out of their seats and on the floor.

“It was definitely the right move, yes, I think we needed it,” said SIU junior Alanna Kuchar.

This well-planned puppy break was part of the university’s Salukis Care Day.

“The university is really trying, it shows it really cares about the students mental health, because that’s so something that’s really important when you are looking at a university obviously,” said SIU freshman Hannah Woodard.

All across campus, students found activities and events focused on relieving their stress.

They also had the chance to sign poster boards encouraging self-care.

“There’s been a ton of people out today, you would think, ‘oh it’s kind of stupid, people aren’t going to go,’ but there’s been a lot of people out looking at the puppies and signing the petition that they had on campus by the dogs for mental health issues,” said Kuchar.

Students also said they’re relying on each other to get through a very trying semester.

“We’ve been just kind of talking about it in our friend group and I think that’s helped. Yeah, just going through the things together helps a lot, having people to be there with you,” said SIU senior Gabriella Agius.

One senior said she wants the university to continue a focus on mental health.

“Just the biggest thing for the university is, like, just care about your students, like, we’re trying our best so just be accommodating most of it,” said Agius.

And these students hope this day of caring spreads beyond the Carbondale campus.

“I think the families will also appreciate it, because it shows that the university’s paying attention. They hear them and they see them,” said SIU sophomore Madison Harrison.

And Kuchar believed the university’s recognition of the care day was the right move.

“I think that them recognizing that everyone can go through it is a very, very important thing,” said Kuchar.

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