LSU’s Science Residential College Staff and Programs Recognized with Awards
BATON ROUGE - Incoming freshman at LSU have the option to partake in living-learning
residential colleges based on the students’ major. Living in a residential college
provides many benefits, such as access to academic support in the residence hall,
and an increased focus on community-building events.
LSU’s Science Residential College (SRC) was recently recognized by the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers (SEAHO) with the Academic Collaboration Award for its successful partnership between the
College of Science and LSU Residential Life to provide engaging programming, targeted
academic support, and connecting students and faculty. SEAHO is a regional affiliate
of the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International and
represents the dedicated professionals of higher education student housing in the
southeastern region of the United States, from Louisiana to Virginia.
Additionally, the residential staff for the Horseshoe community won Staff of the Year and Educational Program of the Year for its Pollinator Garden at the 2023 Residential Education Banquet. Among those honored from the SRC was Kaitlyn Hall, a senior chemistry major, who was inducted into the Resident Assistant Hall of Fame, an honor only the top 3% of Resident Assistants have been given.
“There is a team of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly on behalf of our students during their first year at LSU,” said Dr. Hollie Donze, the Faculty Rector for the SRC and a Distinguished Instructor at the College of Science. “The success of our program includes the collaboration of the faculty and tutors who provide office hours in the halls, our academic advisor who meets with them to keep them on track, and our partners in Residential Life who help us plan and implement enrichment programs to make this first-year fun and to help build a sense of community.”
The SRC is based in Evangeline Hall and Highland Hall, which are part of a group of residence halls collectively referred to as the “Horseshoe.” The community is in the heart of campus and not far from the majority of the science academic buildings.
The SRC also provides students quick access to academic resources. An academic advisor and a faculty rector have offices in the residential college for students to walk in if something comes up or just to say hello. Cohort faculty office hours, tutoring, and exam-review sessions are also held in hall.
Since SRC students take courses together, students attend a mandatory scheduling session
during the fall semester in preparation for spring semester scheduling. During the
session, the academic advisor goes over the spring classes, how to schedule, LSU policies
and other resources they may need like how to read their degree audit.
Pre-health students in the SRC get to attend an open house hosted by Our Lady of the Lake Health and LSUHSC School of Medicine Baton Rouge Branch Campus. Students get a behind-the-scenes tour, participate in simulated experiences such as delivering a baby or assisting a patient experiencing cardiac arrest, and more. The open house allows students to meet directors, doctors and residents at Our Lady of the Lake, establishing relationships that could benefit students as they prepare to enter medical school and the workforce.
“Before going to the Open House experience, I was undecided on what part of the medical field I wanted to go into or even if I wanted to go into the medical field at all. Leaving the experience, I have decided and realized that I truly want to become a physician to help people in need. I want to be able to inspire other doctors as well and take in different creative outlooks on situations. I find that a physician's job is ever changing. Something new is discovered every day, which I find interesting.” -Addison Migues
Choosing to live in a living-learning residential college like the SRC not only sets students up for success in the classroom but also outside the classroom. Many SRC students become involved in departmental organizations and foster friendships that go beyond their freshman year.
“Some of our current seniors met their closest friends to this day in the SRC,” said Allison Hargrave, an academic counselor at the SRC.
Hargrave explained that about 40% of the SRC is made up of out-of-state students each year, so this gives her and her colleagues the opportunity to host events and activities that not only help students make connections but also teach about the culture of Louisiana and LSU.
For example, the SRC held a Mardi Gras event to teach out-of-state students about the holiday. The event also featured a demonstration from LSU Department of Biological Sciences Professor Naohiro Kato, who invented biodegradable Mardi Gras beads.
In December, on the final day of classes, the SRC hosts “Hot Chocolate Holiday,” where students can destress between lab finals week and final exam week by decorating cookies and ornaments, eating sweet treats and enjoying festive music.
To celebrate the end of the spring semester, the annual SRC Spring Games are held on the lawn in the Horseshoe courtyard. Students compete in friendly lawn games with (and against) the Dean, department chairs and faculty from the College of Science. Afterward, everyone enjoys a picnic catered by Raising Cane’s and ice cream made by the chemistry student organization, SAACS, who demonstrated the science behind it.
“Being in the SRC has been a wonderful and helpful experience. I love having my teachers and advisors so close to me. It really has made the school year so much easier knowing that I have a direct line of content. Also, knowing that everyone in the dorms is taking the same classes as it means I can always turn to a neighbor for help. The events that the SRC hold are great stress relievers and a great way to meet other people and see the different clubs and general opportunities available. All in all, being in the SRC has enhanced my entire freshman experience and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” -Zahir Giwa
The cohesion of education and community is continuing to grow in the SRC. Faculty and students, in collaboration with the LSU College of Science and LSU Residential Life, started The Horseshoe Gardening Club in the Fall 2022 semester.
The club began with a grant to build two pollinator gardens in front of Evangeline Hall, with the purpose of promoting sustainable gardening practices, educating residents about gardening, invasive species and pollinators. The club’s hope is that this garden will establish a tradition that will pass down knowledge and strengthen the community for future generations of SRC residents.
“The SRC is a true living learning community in which we take great pride in our students and their accomplishments both in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Donze. “We hope that we make LSU feel more like home and less of a large University.
Feature by Joseph T. Bullard, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication