Change Break: Florida

Today’s post comes from Elisa Allen. She is a member of the class of 2017 from New Orleans, LA and is majoring in Marketing.

Driving into Florida Saturday afternoon was a beautiful sight. Our van erupted with laughter at the sight of dolphins leaping through the Gulf. After sitting through riveting environmental discussions and taking everything into perspective, it was a sad thought to think that what if in a few years others didn’t get to drive into places with the same beautiful greeting. I’m glad that on this trip not only was I able to do something impactful but I was informed on how to do more and continually help.
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Elissa Marie Allen (painting here in gold cap) paints part of the battery at Fort Pickens National Park in Pensacola, Florida.

Our team started off our trip in Pensacola, after a four hour drive of team bonding it was nice to reach our destination: campsite Fort Pickens. Well, technically it was the back-up campsite, we moved around a lot during the trip. We started off our work restoring Fort Pickens battery monuments, painting and cleaning the tour sites in the National Park. Finishing up there efficiently we went into the next day ready to tackle some trash. You would be amazed at the sight of all the trash that litters the beach; we definitely were. Working all day in the hot sun was exhausting, but camping less than a mile away was convenient. We ran into a bit of a storm, but the Park workers came to our rescue. I like to think it was good karma; we were saved from rain because we were doing what we could to make the place better.

We left the rain for Tallahassee Tuesday morning. There was a trend with the animals in Florida because this time we were greeted by a kid–that is a baby goat. We were shown around the magical Lichgate property that we had the pleasure of residing for the rest of the trip, than a tour of the SanLuis Mission our next volunteer project. The plan was to start working the following day but after finding out how much work was to be done we jumped in right then and there to prep. Working at the SanLuis Mission was such fun, despite all that had to be done. We worked the organic gardens weeding and planting and so much more. Being able to work with all friends, which is what our team came to be during this time, made everything so much better. Our work as well as everything else we experienced in Florida really inspired all of us to spread what we learned back into our community here in Baton Rouge.
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SPINning Out of Control!

taylor moss 2Meet Taylor Moss, a Junior Kinesiology student from Austin, TX. This will be her third year working Spring Invitational as an LSU Ambassador.

With the turning of the seasons from winter to spring comes the vision of 1500 high school seniors storming LSU’s campus. The students visiting campus are here for Spring Invitational, LSU’s orientation for high achieving students. Students with outstanding academic records are invited to attend this program to see campus, learn about LSU, and schedule their first semester classes far before the majority of students on campus. This year the three day program is this week, April 9-11. At this orientation program students should expect to be broken up in groups by anticipated senior college, spin 2take tests to earn college credit before actually taking college class, learn about life on campus, and experience the tiger spirit that resonates within each LSU student.

After working orientation the past two summers, Spring Invitational is my very favorite orientation. The students who attend this have the unique experience of seeing campus when it is alive with current college students, something that the summer orientation students do not experience. With campus in full swing, this allows the incoming freshmen the chance to truly see the magic and liveliness of LSU. At this orientation students get to meet other students from all over the country and start friendships that could last throughout college, as well as learn about the various services on campus that will help them be successful academically throughout their time here. I would recommend bringing test materials (pencils, calculator, etc.), pen and paper for notes, and maybe an umbrella just in case (you never know when it might rain in Baton Rouge). Most importantly however, I would bring an open mind and willingness to learn at Spring Invitational.

LSU Ambassadors at Spring Invitational

LSU Ambassadors at Spring Invitational

LSU has so much to offer students academically and socially. There are so many organizations and ways to get involved on campus that your student is bound to find their place, and that journey starts at Spring Invitational. After the completion of this program, it is our hope that each student leaves with all the information they need to start college as well as a better understanding of what it means to be a part of the Tiger family!

The Miss LSU-USA Pageant: More Than A Crown

Kendra TurleyKendra Turley is a junior majoring in Mass Communication. She is from Houston, Texas and is involved with LSU Ambassadors, Tiger TV, the LSU STRIPES program, Freshman Leadership Council and Tiger Transition Team. In today’s post, Kendra shares a little bit about her experience in the Miss LSU Pageant.

I’ve always been pretty outgoing. I’m that stranger who initiates small talk while waiting in line. I’m that daughter who loves when her mom takes a million pictures of her. I’m that eager student who raises her hand before anyone else to volunteer in class. However, The Miss LSU-USA Pageant was something I wasn’t so eager about… at first. Let’s back up.

I competed in my very first pageant in February of this year of which I won the title Miss Imani 2014. As Miss Imani, I automatically advanced to compete in The Miss LSU-USA Pageant. WOAH. Just hearing the words “Miss LSU” made me nervous. Was I really ready to compete in a USA based pageant? Was I really ready to compete against girls who had been doing pageants for years? Was I really ready to compete for the title of Miss LSU 2014? My mind answered, “NOPE,” to all of these questions but my heart screamed, “You got it, girl!”

Delta Zeta Sorority has hosted The Miss LSU-USA Pageant every year during the spring semester since 1998. The pageant consists of an opening number, swim scene, formal scene and on-stage questions for the semifinalist. It is a charitable event, meaning all of the proceeds benefit the sorority’s charity.  Over the years, The Miss LSU-USA Pageant has raised over $10,000 a year. The pageant raises so much money that it is capable of giving Miss LSU a $1,000 scholarship and paid entry into The Miss Louisiana Pageant.  Talk about a double whammy!

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Knowing that Miss LSU could compete and potentially win the title of Miss Louisiana was exciting yet intimidating information. If I wasn’t nervous before the pageant, hearing this information DEFINITELY made me nervous. However, I felt less and less nervous after each Sunday practice. The Delta Zeta ladies in charge of the pageant made sure all 21 contestants felt relaxed, prepared and confident. Talking with the other contestants helped ease my fears tremendously. The pageant veterans (girls who have competed in pageants before) told me what to expect on the day of the pageant and how to adequately prepare. The pageant newbies (girls who have never competed in a pageant) confessed their nerves and fears as well, making me feel like less of an outcast. My nerves turned in to determination. I was determined to show off all of my hard work and I was determined to be crowned Miss LSU 2014.

Time flew by and before I knew it, it was 7pm, Sunday, March 23rd.  I was in my “urban jungle” themed outfit ready to dance for the opening number. In front of me were the five judges who interviewed me that morning. Beyond them were hundreds of people, including my family and friends. I was ready to show out for each and every one of them.

My heart raced as I stood in the wing of the stage before my swim scene walk. All types of thoughts ran through my head as I watched the contestants before me.

“I should’ve worked out more.”

“Maybe I should’ve went with a yellow swim suit instead.”

“What if I trip during my turn?”

Those thoughts immediately left my head when they called contestant number seven to the stage. My mindset during my walk was simple: Be Beyonce. I channeled my fierce side and strutted across that stage in confidence. That confidence carried through to my evening gown walk as well.  After that, there was nothing else I could really do. It was all up to the judges.

All 21 contestants took the stage after intermission to hear which contestants placed in the Top 5. This was the first time I was completely calm on stage. I was pleased with my performance but something in me said it wasn’t enough to place as a semi-finalist. So, why stress out?

“Our next semi-finalist is…. Contestant number 7, Miss Kendra Turley.”

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WAIT. WHAT? I made it in the Top 5? I fought hard to hold back tears of joy as I joined the rest of the semifinalists in the front of the stage. “To God be all the glory,” was the only thing in my head, as I stood there surprised and overwhelmed.  Afterward, all five semifinalists answered an on stage question.  The judges scored each of us on how well we answered the question.

Moments later, all five of us were lined up and ready to hear who would be crowned the next Miss LSU.  At that moment, I didn’t even care if I won or not because The Miss LSU-USA Pageant was about much more than just a crown or a title. It was an experience! An experience that very few girls have the opportunity to take part in. This experience gave me a new sense of confidence, an even harder work ethic, a greater passion for my university and 20 new friendships.

I was awarded 3rd runner up! Not too shabby for my second pageant if you ask me. I’m extremely sad that the pageant is over, but I’m so thankful my newly found friendships continue to grow. The girls who competed in that pageant with me truly are some of LSU’s most intelligent, beautiful, responsible, compassionate, and successful women. In my heart, we’re all Miss LSU.

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Meet Camille Beste, a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Biology from Baton Rouge, LA. Camille is currently involved with Student Government as a Senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

On LSU’s campus, things are beginning to look at lot like spring: the weather is getting (somewhat) warmer, baseball season is in full swing, crawfish is becoming the go-to dinner choice, and Student Government elections are underway. Even if you have not passed through Free Speech Alley recently to be handed a campaign flyer or button, there is a good chance that you have seen campaign materials on social media from one or both of the tickets running for Student Government office. Facebook and Twitter have been exploding with posts and tweets promoting the initiatives of each ticket. Representatives from each ticket have been busy making their rounds to various club and organization meetings to promote their tickets. Hundreds of push cards, bumper stickers, and flyers have been given out in Free Speech Alley. Campaign banners can be seen hanging from the balconies of each and every sorority and fraternity house on campus. The campaign excitement comes to an end this week, however, as the actual voting takes place all day today and results will be announced on Wednesday. If necessary, a run-off election will be held next Monday, with the final results announced on Wednesday, April 2.

For those that are unfamiliar with LSU’s Student Government, elections take place twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. Elections are held for student Senate seats and college council officer positions. Each senior college has several senators, based on the number of “constituents,” or students in each college. In addition, each senior college at LSU has a college council, whose purpose is to unify the students, faculty, and staff of each Senior College, to facilitate events for College cohesion, and to serve as the liaisons between the faculty and students of each college. Elections are held for the officer positions in each college council. Some offices vary from college to college, but each has a President, Vice President, and Member at Large position.  The Executive offices of President and Vice President are also elected in the spring elections. Students can only vote for college council members and senators in their respective colleges, but all students are able to vote for the offices of President and Vice President.

For spring elections, most candidates affiliate with a particular ticket. Each president and vice president pair serves as the leader of his or her ticket. In the current election, there are two tickets: Christian Coleman and Ashleigh Pichon head up the Experience LSU Ticket as candidates for President and Vice President, while Clay Tufts and Taylor Lambert are the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for The Next Step ticket.

More information about Student Government can be found on their website: www.sg.lsu.edu Information on each ticket can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/experiencelsu and https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Next-Step/1440660502823414. If your student is looking for a great way to get involved at LSU, encourage them to check out Student Government!

 

Student Government Elections: Choosing to Take the Next Step or Experience LSU

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SROWcus Pocus: A Magical Experience

ImageMeet Margaret Manning from Monroe, LA. She is a freshman Political Communications major in LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication and a member of the LSU Ambassadors organization. In today’s post, Margaret will be telling us about her experience traveling to a regional orientation conference with the LSU Ambassadors.

This weekend I had the privilege of traveling with 50 of my fellow Ambassadors to Clemson University in South Carolina for the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop or SROW. SROW is a three day conference for university orientation leaders, graduate assistants and advisors from around the southern region of the country to attend to learn how to better their own orientation programs as well as share information about their own.

This year’s conference theme was the magic filled “SROWcus Pocus.” Complete with Harry Potter spells, voodoo and a little bit of Disney magic, the orientation team at Clemson pulled out all the stops to make sure visiting schools had the time of their lives.

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LSU has attended the conference for over 20 years, and the 2014 conference was one to add to the books. LSU’s Jordan Richardson and Taylor Parks represented LSU well when they were selected as the Most Outstanding Case Study presentation out of the whole delegation of about 80 universities. To further LSU’s success at the conference, 1896973_685249144852056_1151009334_nsenior Taylor Parks was chosen as  the region’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student by the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education.

Wow. What a weekend. And to experience this as a freshman, I was completely blown away with pride! LSU had a presence everywhere we went. Whether it was walking down Victory Hill in Clemson’s own Death Valley, cheering with the Louisiana delegation or performing my presentation to a room full of people, I was overcome with a feeling of Tiger Pride.

I am glad that I had this experience and I can hardly wait to take what I have learned and apply it to orientation here at LSU to make sure that LSU orientation is the best it can be!

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LSU Family Association Spring Event: A Student Perspective

KellyKral_My name is Kelly Kral, and I’m a senior graphic design major from Spring, TX. I work for the Parent’s Association and had the opportunity to take photos of the Family Association Spring Event this weekend! 

I woke up excited to get my first taste of crawfish of this season. The day started with me going with my parent’s to the Family Association Council meeting so I could take photos of all the Council Members. Next, we got to Alex Box Stadium to take a personal tour of the inside. A retired LSU Baseball player gave us a tour of the building, showing us exclusive rooms with huge murals, lined with trophies and an awesome recreation room full of huge TVs and foosball tables. We were led into the baseball locker room, which smelled exactly how you would think it would! But all the LSU Baseball player’s jerseys were lined up in their cubbies, with about 5 pairs of shoes for each player. That was probably my favorite part of the tour. Then we were led over to finally get some crawfish!

The line was long, full of hungry people craving crawfish. The turn out was twice the amount of people from last year, which was great. So many families were sitting around enjoying the clear sunny day. I was running around taking pictures while my parents waited in line. I met a cute dog named ToTo that belonged to a nice family, who dressed it up in an LSU tutu. Another family filled up a whole table, with many kids, who were all excited and running around.

The workers handing out the crawfish were working hard, but smiles were all on their faces. Everyone was having a great time and was excited to get to see the baseball game later. For me, it was a great day of meeting new people, making new friends, eating some great crawfish, and spending time with my family!

Mardi Gras: Louisiana’s Favorite Holiday

ImageMeet Justin Daws, a sophomore majoring Human Resources and Leadership Development from New Orleans, LA. Justin is a student assistant for Parent & Family Programs and is here to tell you a little about Louisiana’s favorite holiday, Mardi Gras!

As a New Orleans resident, Carnival Season and Mardi Gras are unlike any other. The emotions, festivities, and spirit of the season carry throughout the city like wildfire causing hundreds upon hundreds to anticipate the return of our yearly event. In New Orleans, Carnival is all we know, and we know it well. Everything we do or believe in consists around the season ranging from our favorite color scheme of purple, green, and gold to our masquerade balls that people spend hundreds of dollars on to be the most extravagant.

In New Orleans, we have a massive month to two month-long celebration called Carnival which leads up to the final day of celebration known as Mardi Gras, or as natives refer to the day as “Fat Tuesday.” Carnival starts the day after All Kings Day on January 6th. The season consists of endless masquerade balls, parades, parties, and king cakes. All of these events are a must; however, as a first timer coming to the city it is a must to enjoy the King Cake. King Cakes are circular yeasted cakes spiced with cinnamon and filled with various fillings or traditionally plan.

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Justin at a Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans

 As Carnival season persists and gets closer and closer to the big event, Mardi Gras, the parades start rolling approximately two weeks before. The number of parades that roll throughout the city of New Orleans is countless, not including the various parades around the state. Most people assume that only New Orleans partakes in celebration; however, that is false. Nearly the entire state of Louisiana celebrates the majestic celebration of Carnival and Mardi Gras. To find out more about the festivities in Baton Rouge, check out the city’s Mardi Gras guide at http://www.visitbatonrouge.com/mardigras/.  

Finally, once you have celebrated and marveled in the majestic nature of Carnival, we get to celebrate the big day, Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a one day celebration where the entire city watches as the Krewe of Rex and Zulu take the streets of New Orleans and bring the celebration to a close. One fun fact about the Krewe of Rex is that the man dubbed King Rex is given the key to the city of New Orleans and officially takes on responsibility of the city for one entire day.

As the events roll on around me, my mere excitement can not be contained. Mardi Gras is dear to my heart, and I actually had the honor of being a Royal Prince of a parade on Mardi Gras day in 8th grade. My heart belongs to the city of New Orleans, and you can always catch me screaming “Throw Me Something Mister” as the floats roll by or dancing alongside the bands as they march through the streets of New Orleans playing the most upbeat Jazz and Zydeco music you will ever find. I suggest everyone who has never experienced the tradition to drive on down to the city if possible or at least head out to a local parade in the Baton Rouge area just so you can say you got a taste of Mardi Gras.

 “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

   Let the Good Times Roll!

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LSU Celebrates Black History Month

Lauren - MLKMeet Lauren Grant, a senior Marketing major from Ohio. As the Black History Month Committee chairperson, she is here to share some information about the African American Cultural Center’s Black History Month events and initiatives. Click here to learn more about the LSU African American Cultural Center.

Hello! My name is Lauren Grant and I can proudly say that I am a graduating senior here at Louisiana State University majoring in Marketing.  Born and raised in the great state of Ohio, I was introduced to the “Red Stick City” of Baton Rouge in 2010 and have had the pleasure of partaking in LSU’s excellence thus far. Being a part of LSU’s community has definitely shaped me into the person I am today.  This place has taught me the true meaning of leadership and how to apply it to my everyday life and future career path.

Currently, I serve as the Black History Month Committee chairperson.  This prestigious committee oversees all events during Black History Month and is a student-led organization sponsored by the African American Cultural Center. The committee’s mission is to provide educational and informative programs that help celebrate the outstanding achievements and strides of African Americans, not only during Black History Month but throughout the entire year.

The Black History Month Committee plans three distinguished events along with a weekly lecture series. Most recently we hosted our first event of the month, the Mister and Miss Imani Pageant. This event showcased 14 minority student leaders that had the opportunity to prove why they deserved to be the next Mister and Miss Imani. This year’s winners were Kendra Turley and Alex James, who both displayed their talents and wowed the crowd and judges with their charm and talents. In addition to having the honor to serve as Mister and Miss Imani 2014, they both received a scholarship and Kendra will get a chance to compete in the Miss LSU Pageant in March.

The next two major events to follow include the Sankofa Poetry and Open Mic Night and College Reunion. Sanfoka will allow our peers to showcase their talents through poetry and spoken word and College Reunion is an outdoor extravaganza designed to unify the LSU African American campus community. The event embraces African American culture through music, dance, spoken word performances, games and contests, and the popular Greek Stroll-Off Competition. Although centralized around the celebration of African American unity, College Reunion is a diverse and fun-filled program for the entire campus community to enjoy.

To learn more about the events taking place during Black History Month, please visit the African American Cultural Center located at 3 Union Square, Raphael Semmes Rd. or visit us online at www.lsu.edu/aacc .

I hope you will join us for some of this year’s Black History Month events and remember to always “Love purple and Live Gold!”

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Geaux BIG Baton Rouge 2014

Margaret PriceGreetings, Tigers!
My name is Margaret Price, and I am the director of Geaux BIG Baton Rouge 2014. It has been my great pleasure to be with this organization from before its inception in January 2012 and watch it grow, transform and impact lives. The idea behind Geaux BIG Baton Rouge is an annual collegiate day of service that began with “The Big Event” program at Texas A&M in 1982 and has since spread to over 80 universities across the nation.

The first Geaux BIG Baton Rouge at LSU was held in April of last year and approximately 850 LSU students, faculty and staff volunteered at 29 worksites which collectively totaled 3,400 hours of work in the Baton Rouge community. This year, we are anticipating 2,500 volunteers to serve at over 50 locations.

I choose to Geaux BIG because it gives me the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and also allows me to serve and build relationships with members of the community I would never otherwise meet. Whether you have a heart of service, an interest in connecting with the surrounding community in a meaningful way or are simply looking to fulfill community service hour requirements, Geaux BIG Baton Rouge is the event for you.

Join us on March 22 as we unite our campus with the Baton Rouge community for a fun-filled day of service and new friendships. Guest speakers and performances on the day of the event include Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and our very own LSU cheerleaders. All volunteers will receive a free lunch and an unforgettable service experience.

Encourage your student to sign up online TODAY at geauxbig.lsu.edu.

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Introducing the 2014 Orientation Team Leaders

Each year, two students are selected from the LSU Ambassadors student organization to serve the Office of Orientation as leaders for the student and parent orientation leader teams. These students recruit, select, train, and supervise a team of their peers in order to provide a successful orientation experience for our incoming students and parents. Get to know this year’s Head Parent Orientation Leader and Orientation Leader in this week’s post!
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Katie Silva BlogDo you remember one of these student leaders from your orientation experience last year? Feel free to comment with some encouraging words as they begin the process of selecting and training their orientation teams!

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