GEAUX Greek

IMG_3586Brielle Moreau is from Prairieville, LA and is a Junior majoring in Biological Sciences. Brielle is an active member in the Greek Community, an LSU Ambassador, and served as one of LSU’s Parent Orientation Leaders this summer.

Going off to college means so many new experiences and one of those is Greek Life. Greek Life has honestly made me feel at home for so many different and unique reasons. Being part of the Greek community is an opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. The moment I joined my sorority, I knew that it was going to be the start of a great time here at LSU.

Before coming to college, I was worried about meeting new people and finding ways to get involved on campus, but Greek Life quickly made that very accessible to me. Greek Life is constantly giving back to the community in ways that I could have never expected. Events like Habitat for Humanity where all of Greek life comes together and builds houses for those who need them allowed me to further my bond with my sisters and other Greeks as well. I have thus far been able to make meaningful connections with individuals that will last a lifetime.

When I joined a sorority, I gained 300 new sisters to support me and guide me through my college career. These new sisters are from all walks of life and from all over the world. Not only did becoming Greek allow me to find my home, but it allowed me to make a home for others.  Even though every member of my sorority, and Greek Life in general, is from different places, we all come together to make a positive impact in our community and on campus.  Every sorority and fraternity has their own specific philanthropy that is special to them and throughout the year they host events and fundraisers to raise money to support those philanthropies.

Not only are members involved with helping the community, many members are also involved with student government and a vast variety of other organizations on campus. LSU offers over 450 different organizations on campus and Greek Life is just one of them. Apart from the involvement of the chapter as a whole, I also live in the sorority house so it has truly and literally become my home here at LSU.

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LSU Cares

lsu-caresLSU Cares is a university initiative dedicated to the well-being of students and promotion of a community that cares about each of its members. The purpose of LSU Cares is to provide an online process for students, faculty, staff, and parents/families to report concerns in an appropriate way.

How do I submit a report?
To submit a report, visit www.lsu.edu/lsucares and look for the category that you think best represents your concern. The categories include academic intervention, academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, bias or discrimination, hazing, sexual misconduct, student grievances, and students of concern. There is no wrong way to submit a report. The category you select is not as important as the information you share about our Tigers. We will review the information and make sure it gets to the right people.

What happens when I submit a report?
After you submit a report, an LSU Cares representative will contact you as soon as possible to verify that your report was received and gather more information. We then develop a plan and reach out to the student(s) in need.  Reports can be made at any time and can also be anonymous.  It is not unusual for students to make a report about themselves or their peers when they have concerns they do know how to handle.

What qualifies for a student of concern report?
A student of concern report normally deals with students in crisis or distress.  Some examples include loss of a loved one, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn, and showing a decline in their ability to function as they normally would. Students with concerns like this should all be given the opportunity for a helping hand. Please let us know so we can be proactive in their time of need.

Who sees these reports?
The Associate Dean and Director of Student Advocacy & Accountability receives all the reports and then assigns them to an appropriate advocate within the office.  Reports are reviewed daily. They are kept private and confidential and the information obtained in the report is used only to assist the student.

Emergency issues such as thoughts of harming self or others should be reported immediately to 911.  You can still make a report once the situation has stabilized and the student is safe. We will follow up with your Tiger as soon as possible.

Where can I get more information?
For more information, call the Student Advocacy & Accountability office at 225-578-4307 or send an email to care@lsu.edu.

Trick-Or-Treat Down the Row

headshot-2Camille Beste is a senior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is an active member of Greek Life, serving as the current Panhellenic President and has held positions on the Greek Board of Directors, as well as within her own chapter. Her favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of the Student Union (shhhh it’s a secret spot).

One of the most popular traditions of LSU Greek Life is the annual Trick-or-Treat Down the Row sponsored by the LSU Panhellenic Council (PHC). Held the Sunday before Halloween, this event brings hundreds of families to campus. West Lakeshore Drive, also known as Sorority Row, is blocked off for this two-hour event. Children can go door-to-door to all of the sorority houses and get candy from chapter members. Most sororities even threw in a theme. These ranged from Luau to Decades. Houses also have crafts, face-painting, and photo booths. This year, the costumes were awesome! There were lots of little Golden Girls walking down the row, as well as quite a few Ghost Busters and Wizard of Oz characters. Some families even bring their dogs; Chewbacca stood out the most to me. Overall, this event brings lots of joy to sorority row at a time of year when school is often getting the best of students. This year was a special year, as LSU Athletics got on board and brought some of LSU’s top athletes to the row to take pictures with Trick-or-Treaters. That was certainly a huge treat for all members of the family!

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Trick-or-Treat Down the Row is not just limited to the housed sororities on West Lakeshore. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) posted up in front of the LSU Systems Building. IFC Exec members handed out candy and learned quickly this year that it is very easy to underestimate the amount of candy needed for the event. Sigma Alpha and Sigma Lambda Gamma, Panhellenic’s two un-housed sororities, were stationed along the row as well to hand out candy. Several fraternities that are housed on West Lakeshore also participated. Phi Kappa Psi truly was the life of the party. These men jammed out to a wide range of (family friendly) tunes. There was a line down their driveway, onto the row, as children lined up to give their best shot at the dunk tank. It is such a treat to see fraternity men and sorority women thoroughly enjoying their time with kids of all ages. I think I can speak on behalf of the entire Greek Life community when I say that I still believe I am young enough to be one of the kids trick-or-treating.

One incredible aspect of this event is that it is truly geared toward the Baton Rouge community. It is not limited to Greek members, like many Fraternity and Sorority events are. Word is spread to LSU faculty and staff members, as well as in many elementary schools in the surrounding areas. Families look forward to this event every year. Maybe it’s the fun that comes with the day, or maybe parents are looking for another chance to get some wear out of those costumes that can certainly cost quite a bit of money. I’m going to say that the event itself is the main draw for most families. Growing up in Baton Rouge, I attended this event many times as a child. Being on the other end of the event and helping to facilitate it is like a full-circle journey for me.

This year, Panttdtr-2-copyhellenic collected monetary donations at each trick-or-treat stop for their local philanthropy, Live2Serve. These monetary donations will be used to purchase clothing and toys for children from at-risk families who are not able to provide gifts for their children during the holiday season. This is an ongoing campaign for all of the Panhellenic sororities, and Panhellenic was thrilled to be able to involve families from outside the Greek community.

I think it is certainly safe to say that everyone who participated in Trick-or-Treat Down the Row, from the sorority women and fraternity men, to the families who came out to gather some candy, cannot wait for next Halloween! If your Tiger is a member of a Greek organization, encourage them to get involved with this event next year. If you are from the Baton Rouge area, I highly recommend that you check this event out; the costumes seem to get better and better each year, so start planning now!

Being a First Generation Student

DaMika pic

DaMika Woodard will be serving as the POL for the College of Art and Design. She is a Senior from DeRidder, Louisiana. She is majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy. She is involved in LSU Ambassadors, STRIPES, and Association of Pre-Physical Therapy Students. Her favorite spot on campus is Middleton Library. 

Being a first generation student is a great accomplishment that comes with a lot of pride, and a lot of pressure. I was proud to be the first person in my family to go to a four year university, but I also felt pressured to succeed. Statistically, the odds were not in my favor. It was reported that first generation students are the least likely to graduate from four year universities; I did not want that to be my story. Growing up, I watched my mom bounce from job to job to provide for my siblings and I. My mother always told me things such as: “nothing is ever going to be given to you, you have to work for it. The world is yours, you just have to go and get it!” She constantly stressed the importance of education to us and made sure that we excelled academically. Thanks to her consistency, I graduated from DeRidder High School in 2013 in the top 15 percent of my class, and didn’t stop there! In the Fall of 2013, I began my journey as an LSU Tiger, which was a bittersweet transition for my mother and I. We were excited for this new chapter of my life, but also nervous; this was not only my first taste of college, but hers as well.

My first semester was challenging; not only academically, but in my personal life as well. I had trouble networking with others and keeping my parents up to date on information and events. In addition to those problems, I did not know how to properly study, manage my time, or how to handle my own finances. While trying to juggle it all, I came to the realization that I needed extra help; I could not do this alone. Thankfully, LSU has a service called Student Support Services. At the SSS, their mission is to work directly with first generation students from their freshman orientation to their graduation.

Damika PictureThey have services that teach the students about money management,studying styles, as well as time management. They also offer weekly tutoring sessions and peer mentors, who are first generation students, too. This made things easier because I was surrounded by people who understood me and could give me the extra help that I knew I needed. There are many times that I felt overwhelmed, but my on-campus support system encouraged me to keep going. Now, I am set to graduate in December of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology. In the words of my mother, “The world is yours, you just have to go and get it.”
 

So Long, Farewell, to You My Friend!

Graduation Close Up

Meet Meagan Johnson, a Senior majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. She is also minoring in History and Political Science and is from Hackberry, Louisiana. Meagan is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Collegiate 4-H, University Baptist Church and served as a Parent Orientation Leader this past summer.

Louisiana State University has become more than just a school for me. It is a place I call home and a place that has given me more than I could ever give in return. With my last finals week at LSU coming to an end, I have begun looking back on my time here. I can see all of the opportunities LSU has brought into my life from life-long friends, impacting professors, the opportunity to study abroad, life changing organizations and memories of it all to last a life time. It is really hard to believe that my time at LSU is coming to an end, but I am looking forward to the last experience I get to have at LSU with many of my closest friends dressed in caps and gowns.

In many ways, it is surreal to me that I will actually be getting a diploma next week. I have dreamed of this day for many years and now that it is here I have mixed feeling about it. I am excited that all of my stressing, studying, late nights and prayers are about to pay off as I officially earn my degree. However, I will miss all of the memories I made here and the people that have made my time at LSU so special. I am a very lucky girl to have had so many great experiences here and I do not want it to end just yet.

I cannot express how grateful I am to everyone that has helped me through this experience. I would not be graduating or attending law school in the fall without the constant support and guidance. Getting to have this last experience with my friends that started with me in 2012 is the perfect way to end our journey at LSU. We can look back on this experience with a smile and look ahead to our adventures to come!

Why STRIPES?

IMG_3286Bio: English major, Junior, from Marshall, Texas. Involved in LSU Ambassadors, served as a STRIPES small group leader for 2 years, currently serving on executive staff

STRIPES bio: extended orientation program focusing on history and traditions, spirit, and making students feel more at home and have a more personal or intimate connection with campus and with other future tigers. It stands for Student Tigers Rallying Interacting and Promoting Education and Service.

Take it from someone who heard about STRIPES and said “Ew. That sounds lame.” STRIPES is worth your time. Though I was never a participant at STRIPES, this program has shaped me and changed me more than I can express in 500 words or less. However, this isn’t about me, is it? It’s about you. And how STRIPES can change your life like it changed mine.

S is for spirit.

I don’t necessarily mean cheer camp or fired up spirit. While this program is fun and energetic, it instills a sense of pride for LSU that doesn’t have to be loud and noisy. Whether you’re more introverted or extroverted, there are parts of the program that can show you how sweet it can be to be a tiger.

Just an example, all participants get a little card with the lyrics to the LSU alma mater, and line by line, we sing it together. What a resource. I was mumbling those lyrics for a solid year and a half after football games, and knowing that it said “worth” and not “birth” would have been handy.

T is for tradition.

Did you know that LSU is one of the only universities with a land grant, a sea grant, and a space grant? Did you know that we have the Indian Mounds on campus, a landmark older than the Egyptian pyramids? Did you know that Death Valley started our as a residence hall and somehow was magically converted a football stadium by Governor Huey P. Long?

LSU’s history is full of wild, interesting tidbits, making it a unique university with tons of interesting fun facts. And while I might be a little partial, I think ours are more interesting than any other school in the SEC – two words for you Bama, GEAUX and TIGERS.

But I digress. All of these interesting tidbits are things that I learned from the STRIPES program.

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R is for respect.

There are 30,000 students on this campus and they all come from different walks of life. Aspects of the program focus on getting students to see from the perspectives of others, and to unite the student body. No matter our gender, racial identity, sexuality, political party, or economic class, we’re all tigers. That’s something we can’t forget when starting a new chapter.

I have seen STRIPES give students the pen they needed to keep writing that chapter. Students can leave with a respect not only for their campus, but for the 30,000 beautiful individuals that call it home.

I is for intelligence.

STRIPES works with LSU’s Center for Academic Success and the Olinde Career Center to give students resources to help them succeed for their first semester and beyond. One of my favorites is the Learning Style Preference Assessment, where students are given strategies that are individualized to help them learn to the best to their own ability. Also, students get to see the faces of the workers at those offices, opening doors for them to be unafraid to ask for help.

P is for people.

This is my favorite letter because the people at STRIPES are some of the programs greatest assets. STRIPES has over 60 qualified student leaders that come from every corner of campus. These student leaders take on the role of mentorship for participants, for the program and beyond.

Staff aside, students are put into small groups that go through the program together.   There is something special about watching groups go from painful small talk to camaraderie in four short days. I have no idea how it happens, but somehow I have found every small group I have ever had laughing while eating breakfast without student leaders  having to drive the conversation.

squad being cute

E is for eats.

Okay, honestly maybe this is my favorite letter. STRIPES is catered by some of Baton Rouge’s best restaurants and caterers – they believe and invest in the program and I thank them from the bottom of my heart and stomach. One new part of the program – GEAUXchella – is a Baton Rouge appreciation festival that will bring in restaurants from the Baton Rouge area to show students that Baton Rouge has cool things for students off of campus as well as on campus.

S is for stories.

Before my freshman year of college, I though STRIPES was lame. Let’s blame that on me being uncomfortable at LSU. Stripes showed me that whether LSU was my first choice (which it wasn’t) or at the bottom of my back-ups (which it was), there was something I could find on campus that would not only make me successful on campus, but make me feel like I belonged in the midst of 30,000 terrifying strangers. While this was comforting as a sophomore, it would have been a real life-saver as a freshman.

Thus ends my plea. As a group leader, I have seen this program do amazing things for students. And it’s my firm belief that it can do that for anyone. As a small group leader, I have met so many people and learned their stories, and those stories have pushed me, inspired me, and given me so much confidence that I am in the right place.

If you’re on the fence, give it a try. You might surprise yourself.

 

Happy Mardi Gras!

Meet MattheIMG_4883w Boudreaux, a Junior from Lafayette, LA. Matt is studying Human Resource Education – Leadership and Development. He also serves as the Orientation Team Leader for FOAP 2016, LSU Ambassadors, Greek Ambassadors, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

What’s that I hear? Sounds like police sirens combined with a marching band but also little hint of Cajun music?!?!….Ohh its must be MARDIS GRAS season! Perhaps one of the holidays looked forward to by most Louisianan’s is officially upon us! During this time you can see a King Cake in every home and office, beads hanging from the electrical lines along the street and everyone rocking a green, yellow and purple Perlis rugby shirt! But how did this little holiday celebrated in the south actually come about?

Mardis Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday, is a celebration of the Christian feast of the Three Kings. This is why we have we have things like King Cake with a plastic baby hidden inside (to represent Jesus Christ). We do everything BIGGER and BETTER in the south so that is why you see miles of parade floats and tons and tons of beads being throw because we just want to celebrate! During a typical Mardis Gras season, the average person will attend local parades in their hometowns and catch up with old friends and family. They will all get together along a parade route, visit, eat together and anxiously await the parade krewe, yes Krewe, to pass in front of them throwing beads, toys, cups and maybe even some more random items. IMG_3794

Perhaps if you are lucky enough, you will even attend a Mardis Gras Ball during the season. A Ball is a formal event put on by the heads of a Mardis Gras Krewe. Everyone who is invited to the Ball gets dressed up in a tux or a formal gown and have one big party! At the beginning, the court of the Ball is presented. This includes the King and Queen, the Maids and Dukes, and even some entertainment from the Court Jester! After that, it is time to party! Fun, dancing and music will carry on until the early hours of the morning for any good Mardi Gras Ball. I was lucky enough to attend my first Ball this past weekend with the Krewe of Olympus in Lafayette, LA! My best friend Megan was a maid of the Krewe and she invited me as her guest! It was truly an awesome experience and I can’t wait to do it all over again this coming weekend with the Krewe of Christopher in Thibodaux, LA!

Some of my favorite memories of the Mardis Gras season were when I was younger and back in my hometown. I lived right along the parade route for my hometown’s parade so I would be woken up by loud music and people every year. All I had to do was throw on my Mardis Gras colors and walk out the front door to join the party. I remember playing in the front yard with my friends and family as people would walk by and we would wait for the parade to get to us. There would always be a smell of gumbo, jambalaya and King Cake in the air and we’d always have the music blaring in the background. Then we would hear the police sirens…that was when the parade was officially here! By the end of the parade, I would have bags and bags of beads (one time even a truck load), enough cups to fill a shelf in the kitchen and also some other fun little prizes. Celebrating with my family and friends every Mardis Gras season is always the highlight.

If you’re not fIMG_3792rom Louisiana and are even the slightest bit interested in this “crazy” celebration…PLEASE book your flight now and head on own to the Boot because we would love to have you and show you what Mardis Gras is all about! And if you are from the great state of Louisiana, I can’t wait to see you walking the streets and yelling, “HEY THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER!”