LSU's student enrollment included more than 1,600 students from countries outside the United States during the 2001-02 academic year. In fact, during recent years, the international student population has represented approximately five percent of the University's student enrollment. While there are several offices and organizations on campus to help international students become acclimated, members of the Baton Rouge community are invited to welcome these new students through participation in the International Hospitality Foundation (IHF).
IHF allows members of the Baton Rouge community the opportunity to meet students from other countries and to help these new students become better acquainted to their new surroundings and to American culture. Through a variety of programs and services, the IHF and its volunteers provide LSU's international students with many of the necessities that do not easily fit into a suitcase, including everything from friendship to household appliances.
The IHF's Friendship Family Program, pairs local volunteers with international students. While the international students do not live with their host families, participating students and host families meet regularly to visit, share meals, and learn about each other's customs. A tradition at LSU for more than 50 years, the Friendship Family Program encourages singles, couples, retirees, families, and single parents to volunteer as hosts.
Additional services sponsored by the IHF include social events, an orientation and tour of Baton Rouge, and the Loan Closet, a general store for international students. The Loan Closet features a wide array of house wares, including bed linens, kitchen appliances, furniture, and more. The items are available on loan for a small membership fee. Donations from the Baton Rouge community help keep the closet stocked.