Class of 2021

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Students in a huddle

Let us be the first to say "Welcome home!"

We are so excited that you have chosen to attend Southern Illinois University. Exciting things are happening here in Carbondale and we can’t wait for you to experience them with us. The next four years of your life are going to be very rewarding and also very challenging at the same time. Choosing to attend Dawg Days is your first step in diving deeper into the traditions of Southern Illinois University. 

Dawg Days Freshman Retreat is a four-day program held at SIU’s very own Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda, IL. Touch of Nature is 3,100 acres of Southern Illinois beauty and has a ton to offer. Students arrive at the Southern Illinois University main campus the day of their session and are transported to and from Touch of Nature. 

During the four days of Dawg Days, you will be placed into a camp with about 100 other members of your class. Our program is led by 2 undergraduate student directors and 20 camp leaders, who are all current students at Southern Illinois University. Within your camp, you will then be separated into a smaller group led by 2 camp leaders. This small group will provide you with a support system that will last through your entire college career at Southern Illinois University, and possibly beyond. You'll spend time with your small group, your cabin mates and all of the other participants throughout the course of the program in a variety of settings.

Dawg Days welcomes you into the Saluki Family by providing a dedicated and compassionate group of individuals who share a passion for SIU and for the programs they are involved in. Our passion for serving the Class of 2021 and easing your transition to SIU is our top priority. Ultimately, we hope that you, as well as every other freshman, will come out of Dawg Days excited about finding your place at your new home.


Molly O’Hara - Camp Founder

A Couple of Things:

In order to register for Dawg Days, you must:

  • Have a Dawg Tag number. Your Dawg Tag is different than your Network ID. Your Dawg Tag number is what you received when you first applied to SIU. It looks something like 85XXXXXXX. Go here to look it up if you aren’t sure. 
  • Have medical insurance/emergency contact information. The medical release form is located online, and is completed as part of the registration process.
  • Have the date of your last tetanus booster.

Participant fee is $195 for Dawg Days at Touch of Nature. A payment plan is available at the time of registration. 

This cost covers travel to and from locations, lodging, all meals, all activities and SWAG!

Scholarships will be made available. Keep an eye out for more information and updates!

Dawg Days 2017 Session Dates

  • Session 1: August 6th - August 9th
  • Session 2: August 12th - August 15th

Session 1:  Aug 6-9, Register Now

Session 2:  Aug 12-15, Register Now


Although Dawg Days is not held on the main campus, we are able to accommodate most needs. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact JD Tanner to discuss possible accommodations.