Earlier this summer, new webcams were installed around SIUE and a visual-only live stream is available for them at all times.
The cameras are live and can be viewed anytime at https://www.siue.edu/tv/
One is placed pointing at the cougar statue in front of the Morris University Center, known as the Cougar Cam, and another at the Rock in the quad, known as the Rock Cam.
Vice Chancellor for Administration Rich Walker, believes these cameras to be a fantastic tool for allowing friends and families to see their loved ones at school.
“It’s kind of a neat way for students to be able to get on camera in front of the rock or in front of the cougar and wave back to friends and family back at home, right? It doesn’t matter if you live in Edwardsville or across the globe. Your friends and family can see you in your cap and gown, or on the first day of school with the cougar,” Walker said.
The freshman class photo is a staple at SIUE, and Walker believes the webcams will help families who aren’t present watch their students take the photo.
“Freshman take their pictures [at the cougar statue] Friday night. We want them to write home to their parents and say, ‘turn on the webcam, and you’ll see our freshman class all in our [SIUE] shirts getting our pictures with the cougar. It’s a really good tool for keeping students connected to families,” Walker said.
Walker believes that alumni will love the feature as well and will allow them to indulge in the nostalgia of the start of a new semester.
“Even alumni could say, ‘you know, it’s the start of school, I just want to see it,’ and so they’ll turn on a webcam, see the cougar, and see students coming and going. It’s really exciting,” Walker said.
On top of being a tool for connecting with loved ones, the cameras have another practical use — security.
“The videos are stored, and there’s a security component to it as well. If something were to happen in the quad, or in front of the MUC, we can store the images up to thirty days, and then go back and look at it,” Walker said.
Thanks to the Cougar Cam, one crime has already been solved.
“Actually, it’s already helped us solve one crime, where one person’s bicycle was stolen in front of the MUC. We went on the webcam, and we see the person walking off with [the bicycle], and we were able to track them to another camera in the parking lot, and see them take off with the bicycle. We were able to identify the person and also get the bike back,” Walker said.
No exact cost information was available for the webcams, but Walker assured they were inexpensive and not greatly taxing on the University.
“It’s not expensive — they’re just regular cameras. You can do it at home pretty cheaply. They’re more than just a home camera, but they’re pretty inexpensive to do,” Walker said.
SIUE students seem to be taking kindly to it so far, but many don’t know they exists yet.
Junior Biology major from Pekin, Illinois, Jenna Schultz, had never heard of the webcams, but believes them to be necessary for vandalism.
“I hadn’t heard of them. I think it’s cool, but it’s also kind of necessary. I know vandalism happens at the rock, so it is cool. [Waving] at friends from another school, that might be fun,” Schultz said.
Senior graphic design major from St. Louis, Kaylie Depasquale, also had not heard of the webcams, and thinks they can be potentially creepy.
“I think it could be cool or creepy, kind of depending on what people look at them for, I suppose. I’ll never use it to wave at family or friends, but for security it’s nice,” Depasquale said.
The webcams will be live 24/7 throughout the year, and can be viewed at any time.