Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO Hosts First-Annual Homecoming Kick-Off Block Party

Saturday, October 14, 2023

On Oct. 13, SEMO’s first-annual homecoming kick-off block party was held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the Kent Library Quad and in front of Academic Hall and featured entertainment for alumni and students, including games and activities, booths from local businesses, a beer garden, a Copper Dome Society VIP tent and an announcement by SEMO President Carlos Vargas.

Vargas discussed the importance of staying ahead of the curve on technological advances and advancing curricula to better serve and support students going into the workforce in order to build the careers of tomorrow.

Vargas said in order to do this, SEMO is launching the Transforming Lives Campaign, with the goal of raising $60 million to improve various facets of the University. Sixty-four percent of the campaign goal has been reached by donations from alumni and friends of the University.

The updates made possible by the campaign will include a new cyber command center for the cybersecurity program, a third building added to River Campus, a new health sciences building where the Dearmont building stands and additions to Houck Stadium. More details about the updates can be found here.

The event highlighted the importance of donors to the lives and education of SEMO students, with many students holding signs with messages about how donors made their education possible on the steps of Academic Hall behind Vargas as he made his speech.

Sophomore biomedical science major Mercy Lubeju, an exchange student from Zimbabwe, said her scholarship allows her to focus on school, meet new people and, she hopes, someday becoming an alumni who can create a scholarship for students like her.

Kim Shaneyfelt, a 1991 SEMO psychology graduate, said she still feels the same sense of close-knit community in Cape Girardeau now as she did in her college days, but also sees significant positive growth of new, relevant programs at the University. She said she believes the Transforming Lives Campaign is a worthwhile goal to continue developing the programs and facilities that set SEMO apart.

“They’re world-class programs, and that’s going to attract world-class students and talent. It keeps SEMO on the map,” Shaneyfelt said.