After spending two years of my life at SIU Carbondale, I feel very much obliged to speak some of my mind.
If I could describe the university in one sentence it would be "The college meant for students who you honestly didn't think would go to college."
Many of the students are from the bottom of the barrel- going to college with no real plan of action; they only go because of pressure from their parents. Correspondingly, many of the students believe that the entire purpose of college is to party. My freshman year I was hardpressed to find other students with a sense of integrity. I got sick of not meeting any people who did not do drunks or constantly get drunk. It was hard to find friends or people who you would consider "intelligent."
The professors, although nice were a mixed bag. Some great ones, but many classes were taught by uncommitted graduate students.
Furthermore, since SIU is one of the lower ranking public universities in Illinois, it attracts crowds of minorities from the south of Chicago. Many of these students receive full scholarships, and don't contribute to campus. I really hate to say this, but the environment at SIU gives students little reason NOT to be racist.
I've moved on. I transferred out of SIUC to a better school, and finally made my way to a top-ranked university for graduate school. Although SIU is a horrible university in an equally horrible town, it does have its upsides. The journalism and aviation programs attract hard working students. And the campus is certainly beautiful; probably the most beautiful I've seen. And although I was happy to leave SIU, I met some lifelong friends, and have no regret spending two years of my life there.