LSU Welcomes Students to Campus as Fall 2009 Semester Begins
With events that have spanned the past two-plus weeks, LSU welcomed students to campus for the fall 2009 semester, which officially began with Monday’s first day of classes.
Students involved in Greek Recruitment Week; LSU Bands; Academic Summer Camps, and Student Tigers Rallying, Interacting, and Promoting Education and Service — or STRIPES — programs were among the first to arrive on campus.
The STRIPES program is offered through the LSU First Year Experience department and is a four-day, three-night retreat designed to prepare incoming students for the transition to LSU.
During the optional program activities, current LSU students serving as student leaders help educate incoming freshmen and transfer students about the history and traditions of LSU; ease the transition from high school to college; familiarize participants with university resources, facilities and programs; and facilitate the establishment of a strong bond with the university.
The program is structured to focus on academic success, college readiness, leadership development, relationship building and student resources.
Meanwhile, students involved with Greek sororities held their annual recruitment week activities beginning Aug. 15 and ending Aug. 22. Greek fraternities held their annual recruitment program beginning Aug. 20, with their Bid Day activities concluding today.
According to information from LSU Greek Life, more than 3,700 students on campus are members of the 38 Greek organizations, which accounts for 15 percent of the student body.
Thursday, thousands of students dodged raindrops during LSU’s “Roaring Into the Halls” move-in activities, as incoming freshmen as well as returning students arrived on campus to occupy the university’s residence halls and Residential Colleges.
“Roaring Into the Halls” is the annual event that provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere full of LSU spirit for new and returning students who live on campus. During the event, LSU Residential Life staff, various student organizations and volunteers assist students in moving into their residence halls, answer their questions regarding campus life and aid in their adjustment to living in the residence halls.
According to figures from LSU Residential Life, approximately 2,500 students — of which 2,000 were freshmen — converged on campus Thursday with families in tow helping to bring clothing, furniture and other essentials into the residence halls.
Among the 400 volunteers offering their time to assist students and their families was Chancellor Michael Martin, who visited Herget, Miller and Blake Halls Thursday morning and Residential College complexes Thursday afternoon to aid in student move-ins.
Later in the day and through the weekend, other events held through the LSU Division of Student Life’s First Year Experience “Bengal Bound” program helped welcome students to campus. Events included numerous social gatherings and various sessions to help orient new students to campus life, the Baton Rouge community and life in Louisiana.
Saturday, Martin led 370 students, along with faculty and staff to participate in Community Bound, a day of service to public schools and other sites in Greater Baton Rouge.
The students, primarily incoming freshmen and transfer students, joined LSU faculty, staff members and student leaders by splitting into site teams and traveling to 10 area schools. These included University Terrace, South Boulevard, Belfair, Bernard Terrace, Southdowns, Highland and Magnolia Woods elementary schools; Glasgow and Broadmoor middle schools; and Mayfair Middle School, formerly Robert E. Lee High School.
Community Bound is sponsored by Volunteer LSU; LSU Community University Partnership; the Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership; LSU Honors College; The LSU African American Cultural Center; Career Services; Campus Federal Credit Union; and ARAMARK Facility Services.
The weekend concluded Sunday with Martin officially welcoming all students back to campus during the annual Chancellor’s Welcome, held at the Peter Maravich Assembly Center, followed by respective residence hall community meetings.
Another new aspect of campus life this fall comes with the introduction of the Tiger Trails transit system, LSU’s new university-operated bus service.
Operated through LSU’s Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation, Tiger Trails is a student-driven initiative that is a direct result of a year-long study and work done by an ad hoc committee and working group to improve bus service on the LSU campus.
The system, which has run in limited service since Aug. 1, began full-scale operations today. The buses will travel set routes both within the LSU campus and to other areas in Baton Rouge and will be free to LSU students, faculty and staff.
While temporary buses are currently being used for the service, the new fleet will include 14 full-sized buses measuring 35 and 40 feet in length and nine shuttle buses. The new buses should arrive on campus between late September and the spring of 2010.
Any LSU student, faculty member, or staff member is free to ride a Tiger Trails bus on campus. Off-campus passengers may ride free by presenting a valid LSU identification card.
In addition to routes through campus, new routes have been established based on student feedback and research gathered throughout the past several years. These include regular stops in downtown Baton Rouge and the Garden District areas, stops along Perkins Road and Stanford Avenue and to the LSU South Campus complex on GSRI Avenue, among others.
Each bus will contain a global positioning device that will allow riders to track their bus’s actual location through a Web site at http://www.lsu.transloc.com. The tracking feature is also available on Internet-ready cell phones and personal digital devices at www.lsu.transloc.com/m. This feature allows riders to stay inside during night hours and go to the bus stop only moments before the bus’s arrival. With increased seating capacity and improved routes, the system will help to decrease vehicle congestion on and around campus. All buses will also eventually be equipped with improved ventilation and bike racks to better serve passengers.
For more information on the Tiger Trails transit system, including detailed route maps and schedules, visit http://tigertrails.lsu.edu.
Gary Graham, LSU director of parking, traffic and transportation, said that while the new transit service will be available, LSU’s relationship with the Capital Area Transit Service, or CATS, will continue as well. The university ended its contract with CATS in July 2008, but LSU students, faculty and staff will still be able to ride CATS buses free of charge by showing their LSU ID cards. CATS will operate buses through the LSU campus, with the main routes down Highland Road through the center of campus.
The LSU Office of Parking, Traffic, and Transportation also manages Campus Transit, which is a door-to-door service, also free of charge, that runs nightly from 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Students can access this service by calling 578-5555.
Aaron Looney | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations