Southeast’s Opening Week, Total Solar Eclipse Align to Kick off Fall 2017 Semester


Opening Week 2017 is poised to be an experience like no other beginning Aug. 17 when Southeast Missouri State University welcomes students for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

This year’s festivities align with the Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, which also is the first day of the fall 2017 semester at Southeast, and a full slate of activities and SEclipse events are awaiting students when they arrive.

“The campus is buzzing with anticipation as we welcome our newest students with a variety of events and opportunities to start the new year,” said Katie Foshee, assistant director of New Student Programs in the Office of Admissions. “And making this year’s first day of classes even more out of this world, the campus will celebrate the total solar eclipse, which is going to be a spectacular experience for all our students.”

On Aug. 21, the United States will see a total solar eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina. Cape Girardeau is in this path and will experience totality (darkness as the moon passes in front of the sun) for one minute and 45 seconds starting at 1:20:21 p.m. (CDT).

Prior to the eclipse, special events are planned throughout the weekend for new and returning students.

“We can’t wait to celebrate all of the students’ accomplishments that have brought them to Southeast,” Foshee said. “So let’s do this, Class of 2021!”

Thursday, Aug. 17

Opening Week begins with Move-In Day on Thursday, Aug. 17. Students report to the Student Recreation Center, where they can pick up their room keys and begin checking into their residence hall rooms. Early Bird Move-In begins at 6 a.m., followed by New Student Move-In with assigned times starting at 8 a.m. More than 900 student volunteers will be on hand throughout the day to welcome new students and help move their belongings into their rooms.

“Moving in is a big transition, and campus staff and student volunteers are all here to help you take this first big step and welcome you home,” Foshee said.

She encourages students to label all their belongings with their name, building and room number. This ensures items gets to the right location and also helps if something gets separated so staff can easily reunite students with their personal effects. Students also should find a pair of eclipse glasses and “Engage in 8!” booklet awaiting their arrival in their residence hall room.

Residence hall students are asked to attend one of two meetings – either at 1 or 3 p.m. in Academic Hall Auditorium – about getting involved and living on campus. Representatives from Campus Life & Event Services, Residence Life and Chartwells Dining Services will provide information and answer questions about life at Southeast.

In the evening, all new students will have a meeting in their residence halls with their resident assistant and hall director to introduce them to on-campus living. A Move-In Bash is planned for 8-10 p.m. on the front lawn of Kent Library near the Kala M. Stroup Fountain on the Plaza, and all students are invited.

“This is a great event to meet new people and start getting really comfortable on our campus,” Foshee said. “Move-In Bash, the Student Involvement Fair and the Welcome Back Picnic are all also fantastic opportunities for our retuning students to join in the fun and celebrate another great year.”

Friday, Aug. 18

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, students who have not attended a First STEP Orientation will have the opportunity to attend the last 2017 session and register for classes before the fall 2017 semester begins.

Students living off-campus are invited to attend Commute and Connect! and pick up a free Southeast T-shirt and Engage in 8! booklet at 10:45 a.m. in the Show Me Center lobby.

Welcome Convocation, the signature Opening Week event for all new students, begins at 11 a.m. in the Show Me Center. It’s the one time all students entering Southeast in fall 2017 will be together. Incoming students should be sure to wear the free T-shirt they receive during Residence Hall Check-In or at Commute and Connect! and grab a lunch as they arrive. Welcome Convocation encourages students to get excited about Southeast through giveaways, contests, interactive games and spirited activities. At noon, Southeast President Carlos Vargas and Student Government President Peyton Mogley will address the incoming class.

“Convocation really jump starts the semester off right for new students,” Foshee said. “They’ll get great advice, hear some terrific stories and be charged up to take the campus by storm.”

Following will be Southeast 101 during which students can connect with faculty and staff, and their Opening Week leader.

“At SE101 they get to meet a current student and faculty or staff member who will give them information and tips about life on campus and advice on how to navigate the first two weeks of the semester,” Foshee said.

From 3-4:30 p.m., students will break into their respective colleges and hear from the dean of their college as well as interact with faculty members from their departments.

“This is a key, first experience for new students to connect with their academic program,” Foshee said. “It’s a great opportunity to interact with the faculty, staff and other students that will be their academic support network.”

At 4:30 p.m., new students will gather at Houck Stadium for their first Southeast family portrait.

At 7 p.m., students are invited to participate in a Southeast tradition, the annual Ice Cream Pig Out sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) in the Student Recreation Center. This all-you-can-eat event offers ice cream, friends and fun.

After enjoying ice cream served by Southeast students and administrators, stick around for an enchanting performance by magician Daniel Martin.

Saturday, Aug. 19

Saturday offers a full day of festivities to welcome students. Morning events include choral ensemble auditions, Zumba or TRX Suspension classes, service opportunities with Southeast Serves at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center or Crafts for a Cause, and yoga and yogurt. In the afternoon, students may participate in Dec Your Dorm from 3-5 p.m., where crafty ideas come to life as students use their creativity to give their new room a special flair.

A College of Education Welcome Picnic also is planned, inviting all freshman education majors from all areas of study to play kickball, get information about student organizations, enjoy free food and meet faculty and staff. Also scheduled during the afternoon are yard games with the Honors Program, an LGBT Resource Center Reception, and the Black Student Union’s Annual Back 2 School Picnic.

Students are invited to learn about the multitude of opportunities offered outside the classroom at a Student Involvement Fair from 5-6:30 p.m. in the University Center. Many student organizations will have information booths, and groups will showcase their talents. At 6 p.m., a Leadership Reception will take place in the University Center. It offers an opportunity to engage with other future leaders, while enjoying light refreshments.

The Student Activities Council will sponsor a welcome back movie, “Hidden Figures,” at 9:15 p.m. in Academic Hall Auditorium, and a Welcome Back: First Night Party is planned for 9 p.m.-1 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

Sunday, Aug. 20

On Sunday, Aug. 20, instrumental ensemble auditions will be held from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Center Room 155 at the River Campus. During the afternoon, choral ensemble auditions will be available from 1-5 p.m. in the Kenneth & Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center Room 120.

At 2 p.m., Dr. Phillip Reed, associate professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Planetarium and Observatory at Kutztown University, and Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hill, professor of physics at Southeast, will deliver a joint presentation titled “Astronomy at the Crossroads” in Glenn Auditorium of Robert A. Dempster Hall. The free presentation, on the eve of the total solar eclipse, will help the Southeast community better understand the science and wonder behind this natural phenomenon and explain why there is more to the skies than just star gazing. Reed and Hill also will discuss their research and the opportunities available for undergraduate students to learn more about astronomy.

Tours of campus will be offered with Opening Week Leaders at 2 and 3 p.m. Interested students should bring their class schedule and meet at the Kala M. Stroup Fountain on the Plaza in front of Kent Library.

The annual Welcome Back Picnic is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. in the Show Me Center. The picnic offers food and freebies from Cape Girardeau businesses and organizations, University departments and student organizations. Students can also pick up solar eclipse glasses.

“This is a great way to end their first weekend at Southeast with a little bit of fun,” Foshee said. “We’ll ring in the fall semester and gear up for the celestial event of a lifetime.”

Students are also invited to cheer on the women’s soccer team in their first home game of the season as it faces the University of Illinois-Springfield at 6:30 p.m. at Houck Stadium.

Foshee reminds students to pick up their textbooks at Textbook Rental before classes begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. Textbook Rental, located on the first floor of Kent Library, and the Southeast Bookstore, located on the first floor of the University Center, will offer extended hours during opening weekend. Hours will be: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 18; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20; and 1-4 p.m. Aug. 21. Students must have their Redhawks ID and schedule to check out textbooks.

Monday, Aug. 21

On Monday, Aug. 21 Welcome Back Tents will be stationed at various campus locations beginning at 7:30 a.m., offering students a map, solar eclipse glasses, water and snacks before heading to class.

Highlighting Monday’s events is a full slate of SEclipse activities with Southeast classes canceled from noon to 2 p.m. so students can take in the eclipse phenomenon.

A Space Carnival is slated for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Normal Avenue between Academic Hall and Kent Library. The carnival will feature craft and game booths, Moon Pie eating contests, inflatables, a photo booth and DJ. Southeast Student Activities Council and Student Government will host multiple inflatables and booths with space-themed games, including a “Saturn’s Ring” toss, “Shuttle Launch” paper airplane targets, “Shooting Stars” balloon darts, “Splashdown” mini parachute target landing and many more. Southeast students may use their meal plans to purchase lunch at all campus dining facilities.

Beginning at 11:15 a.m. at Houck Field, Southeast students, faculty and staff, alumni, regional community members and area school children are invited to solar eclipse-related entertainment and activities, including a KFVS12 livestream and several telescopes for viewing the eclipse. Southeast students can pick up solar eclipse glasses and free glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.

At noon, Southeast alumna Kaci Heins, education supervisor with the Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center for the NASA Johnson Space Center and teacher liaison for The Space Foundation, will help lead a group of local area and University educators launch two high-altitude weather balloons. The balloons will be tracked via GPS and their paths will be monitored via the Houck Field video board.

An SEclipse Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m.-1:22 p.m. at the River Campus. “Your Bud,” Doug Owens of C106.1 will emcee the day’s events, which will feature music, dance and theatrical performances, poetry readings, hands-on family-friendly art experiential activities, and museum exhibitions. In addition, solar eclipse glasses and comfort stations with free bottled water will be available. For more information, visit

Totality is expected to begin at 1:20:21 p.m. (CDT) and last for one minute and 45 seconds.

Southeast’s SEclipse activities will conclude with a keynote address by Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the most widely recognized figures in science in the world today, with “The Next 20 Years: How Science Will Revolutionize Business, the Economy, Medicine, and Our Way of Life,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center. All tickets are free to students, faculty and staff and the community. Free tickets may be picked up at the University Center, Room 204 and at the Show Me Center Box Office. Complimentary tickets also may be reserved and printed online at prior to 5 p.m. Aug. 18. A ticket will be required for entry.

For more information about SEclipse activities and safety tips, visit

For more information on Opening Week, contact Foshee at (573) 651-5166 or Visit for a Countdown to Convocation with links to all the week’s events, faculty advice, tips from upperclassmen and a bucket list of places to explore as a part of the Southeast experience.

Students also are encouraged to download the Southeast app to see Southeast’s “Engage in 8!” activities, a complete listing of events offered on campus during the first eight weeks of the semester. Southeast looks forward to students sharing their memories of Opening Week memories in social media using #Back2SEMO and their experience of the total solar eclipse at #stratostar0147.