Care Package FAQs

Marcia948Marcia Barton is a graduate of LSU who stumbled into her current occupation as owner/operator of Love in a Box LLC, a cottage bakery specializing in care packages for LSU parents and students. A few weeks after her current Tiger moved to campus, she privately offered to gift a box of homemade brownies with a note from the out-of-state mom to a student who was having a bad week. A Facebook thank-you from the mother turned into other parents requesting to be able to order similar packages, and the rest is history. Doing this is like a made-to-order extension of everything Marcia loves: baking, creating, people, and LSU!

 

When is the best time for parents or family members to send care packages to their students?
There are a variety of “perfect times” for care packages from home. The first opportunities are the first day of classes and sometime during the first week of the college experience. Many parents leave a small care package or note as the family leaves the Tiger’s new residence on move-in day. Not only will the freshman love the thoughtful gesture, it also has the added benefit of helping the parents feel a bit better. The paint bucket we hid in our daughter’s first campus residence was filled with her favorite snacks, a coffee gift card, and notes from each family member expressing pride and upbeat encouragement.  (Caution: This may be habit forming! That bucket makes an appearance each time she moves, and she’s very careful to make sure it ends up back home so she can count on hunting for it the second we boxleave her in her next place!) Leaving or sending something sweet a day or two after move-in with an encouraging note for your Tiger to share with roommates will help them get to know some members of their new LSU family and let them know you’re thinking of them.

About three weeks in to the semester, when the newness is wearing off and homesickness starts peeking through (even if they won’t admit it outright), a care package or card can offer cheery support from home along with a reminder to keep the bigger picture of long-term goals in mind.
student1In addition to the usual holidays (birthdays, Halloween, Valentine’s day, any holiday they can’t come home), other good times for a student to receive a little something from home include while they’re preparing for big tests/projects, after big disappointments (school-related or otherwise), and during midterms and finals.  A “just thinking of you” and “we’re SEAUX proud of you!” gift arriving out of the blue is always a big hit, too. And it also helps mom and dad feel a little more connected to their Tiger! Remember to keep any notes or letters upbeat , encouraging, and totally focused on your Tiger.

 

What should I include in the care package?
While there are plenty of options to order and have something wonderful delivered (even Amazon and the ResLife Association are in on the act), a care package doesn’t have to be elaborate; small and simple can work just fine to give your Tiger that “loved on” feeling. For parents interested in the convenience of a purchased care box2package and who are members of the Official LSU Parents Page there’s a document in the file listing several local businesses other parents have recommended through the years. Those who’d like to create and mail their own might consider sending a favorite snack or two (especially something only available at home, whether homemade or purchased); a post-card sized photo or inspirational quote to tack up on the residence hall/apartment wall; a gift card to a local eatery, coffee shop or movie theater; a spirit item, a new techie toy, book or game you know they’ll like…plus those encouraging notes from members of the family. Get siblings and grandparents and anybody significant from “back home” in on the act if you can. There are lots of Pinterest-worthy ideas for making the packaging as creative and fun as the sender can manage, but this is one place where it truly IS the thought that counts most. Your package should primarily evoke “mom/dad/home,” not Martha Stewart (unless your kids think you ARE Martha Stewart, of course!)

 

student2Do you have any resources you recommend for parents who are preparing to send a care package?
Now that I’m mailing care packages to my 2017 LSU grad who is teaching in Texas, I have had success using Little Kitchen’s tips on mailing cookies so they arrive in good shape. TheMilitaryWifeandMom site has some cute, tweak-able ideas for themed packages to make holidays apart a little easier for everyone. While the theme ideas may seem “a little over the top,” they serve as a good starting point. Finally, of course, there’s Pinterest, which can be either your best friend (lots of ideas from which to pick and choose) or your worst enemy (is anything ever “enough” anymore?!). So typing “college care package” in the Pinterest search bar is done strictly at your own risk.

Do you have any additional advice for parents who may be sending care packages to their student?
Three other thoughts about sending care packages:

  • student3
    • Keep your focus on your student. Don’t worry about what other students are getting (or not getting), or when they’re getting it. You know your student better than anyone, so just pay attention to those little clues that a long-distance “hug” would be welcome. Then send them something that suits their likes and dislikes and your skills and budget when they need it. It’s all about reminding them they’re thought of, missed, and loved.
    • Be mindful of the walk back to the residence hall from the Union post office when planning your package. Lugging a too-heavy or awkwardly large box might take some of the shine off getting something from home.  If you have tons of “perfect” ideas, send two smaller packages spaced a few weeks apart to double the fun.
    • Include your student’s roommate(s) somehow. You could send multiplesbox1 of items (with instructions to share) or tuck in something special that’s tailored for the roomie, along with a little note. Ditto for your student’s Resident Assistant or the Residence Hall Desk Assistant, who work long hours to help make LSU your Tiger’s home away from home.
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Four Years Later…

Nicole PicNicole Dominique is a soon-to-be LSU graduate with a Dual-Degree in Microbiology and English Literature.  Nicole is from Thibodaux, Louisiana and has served LSU as an Ambassador, Parent Orientation Leader, BIOS Mentor, and Cox Communications Student Athlete Tutor. Recently, she was awarded as a member of the LSU Tiger Twelve Class of 2017 for her service to the campus and larger Baton Rouge community. After graduation, Nicole will attend LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to pursue a combined M.D./M.P.H degree. 

Two papers, two exams, and a couple steps across a stage: it seems strange that this is all that is left of my LSU career. Being so close to graduation, this semester has forced me to reflect on my time at LSU.

It’s unbelievable to me how much LSU has given me. I’d like to think that LSU, the experiences it has provided me, and the people on campus found me in the times that I needed them the most.  I will leave with significant memories including volunteering at the Crisis Intervention Center, studying abroad in the U.K., assisting families and students through LSU Ambassadors, and meeting many genuine people. From my random roommate freshman year (still a close friend) to encouraging professors, LSU seems to attract individuals eager to connect with others.

LSU has taught me about myself and has given me a deeper love for Louisiana, motivating me to give back to the state that has raised and formed me.

College is challenging, but in a way that enables you to find your passions (still a bittersweet and scary time). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the help that enabled me to arrive at this point. For future students, I would recommend seeking out our post-orientation programs, like STRIPES (for entering freshmen) and BIOS (for entering science majors). I attended BIOS, and it gave me an insight into what being a Science major was like before beginning in the Fall. Additionally, I benefited from Supplemental Instruction, study sessions led by fellow students who have already taken the class, especially for notorious classes like organic chemistry.
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LSU gave me experiences that I never imagined being able to do, and I was able to pursue an education that I really enjoyed. I know that my time here has been meaningful and will remain with me. LSU has a way of making itself your home and a place that you are sad to leave with only 2 weeks before graduation. I can’t in any way tell everyone how to chart their path, but just know that there are many resources, experiences, and kind people waiting for you!

Making Orientation Better for Your Student

BlaiseBlaise LaCour is a Mass Communication Junior from Natchitoches, Louisiana currently serving as the Communications Chair for LSU Ambassadors. She attended the Southern Regional Oriental Workshop in 2016 and 2017 and served as a Parent Orientation Leader in 2015.

LSU is constantly working to have the best orientation program possible for incoming students, parents and their families. Part of what we do as a university to keep our orientation leaders as informed as possible is send them to an annual conference called the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW). The organization orientation leaders are chosen from, the LSU Ambassadors, selects a group of its members to send to universities across the south where they attend presentations and learn how other universities run their orientation programs.

This year, a group of about 40 Ambassadors, including myself, loaded up a bus and traveled to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia for the conference.  Since the SROW committee had been chosen in November, this was a highly anticipated trip. In the months leading up to SROW, we prepared detailed presentations to bring to the Presentation Groupconference. Most presentation groups researched universities across the country in order to compile a well-rounded set of information for their presentations. Presentation topics this year covered areas like campus safety and financial literacy. At the conference itself, other universities discussed diversity, first generation students and the importance of social media at orientation. Over the course of SROW there is a large exchange of information between universities as a result of these educational presentations.

In addition to presentations, the Ambassadors participate in the song, skit, step and dance competition that takes place at SROW. Entering under the dance category, we performed a 3 minute and 30 second routine set to music combined with voice-overs that spoke about resources LSU offers its students. (https://youtu.be/jVoFKIyDoa4 ) This was one of several ways we displayed how dynamic LSU is as a university.

After four days in Georgia, we returned back to Baton Rouge eager to share what we learned at SROW. The conference seemed to pass in the blink of an eye in comparison to the months that were spent preparing for those four days. Because of this experience, the SROW committee is now a tight knit group of students who are well prepared to serve the university that we love. Committee Picture

How To Balance Everything

megMeg is a third-year undergraduate student from Lacombe, LA pursuing a degree in industrial engineering at LSU. She is actively involved in LSU Ambassadors as the current Funding and Financial chair while having also served as a 2015 Orientation Leader and 2015 SROW LSU representative. Her favorite things to do are travel and eat all the good Cajun food possible!

Balancing everything in college, especially your first few semesters, can be trickier than some of those equations you deal with in Calculus! There’s school work, plus organization meetings, job shifts, and more with a maximum of only twenty-four hours in a day. Here’s a few theories of what three years of college have taught me thus far:

  1. Get a planner and USE it – A planner could be anything from a small notebook to a large calendar where you keep everything in. I recommend checking out the bookstore and finding what works best for you. The important thing is to have one and actually use it. This can help you see as things are coming up ahead of time so you aren’t waiting until the last minute or forget.
  2. Have friends to hold you accountable – It’s great to have friends that you can hang out with outside of class and go on adventures with during the weekend, but it’s important to have the friends that will spend an afternoon after class studying with you or working on that group project.
  3. Exercise – This is such an underrated component of keeping students happy and healthy in college! Even if it is just thirty minutes on a UREC machine or maybe an hour-long fitness class, just go and do something. Getting your body moving and focusing on yourself for a little while each day can help keep you focused. 
  4. Get involved but don’t overdo it – This meg2may not make sense now, but you’ll know when you get to this point. It’s great to be involved, but maybe you joined one organization too many and now you’re struggling to keep up with all your obligations. Maybe you’re finding yourself spending a large majority of your time on one specific involvement of yours and not keeping up with the other aspects of your life. To quote my mother, “Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes!” 
  5. Don’t forget to call home – Sometimes you just need time to chat with people you love from home that keep you grounded. All I can say is thank goodness my wireless provider has unlimited call minutes because I sure do wear out my mom’s phone catching up about our week or even sometimes the simpler questions like how long do I leave a chicken in the oven before I know it’s cooked. 

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.

GEAUX & Give Back

jolieJolie is a first-year graduate student at Louisiana State University pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for the President’s Millennial Scholars Program within the Office of Diversity. Before becoming a Tiger, Jolie studied Psychology and Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. As an Undergraduate student, she was involved in: Orientation, the President’s Leadership Program, Greek Life, Alternative Fall & Spring Break Service Trips, and graduated with service distinction within the youth development track.

In regards to service Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “what are you doing for others?” I initially knew upon beginning my undergraduate career that service was something of high priority on my list of things I wanted to get involved in. But if you don’t exactly have the track record of completing service in the past, don’t quite know where to get started, or don’t think service is for you, fear not! I’m here today to offer my advice on getting involved in service or service learning as a college student.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone: If service is not something you have a lot of experience with or something you’re a little nervous to jump into, my advice is to get like Nike and just do it! More than likely you’re already challenging yourself by beginning this new season of life, why not use this transition as a chance to go out and try something that can make a positive impact on your community?
  2. Narrowing down your options: Okay, so we’ve decided we’re going to give this whole service thing a shot, now what? There are SO many organizations, people, and places that have plenty of volunteer work available or are in need of an extra hand. How do you know where to start? Well I would say begin by identifying personal interests. I know before I just said to step out of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean enter the panic zone. For instance, I am not an outdoorsy-type gal (though I try hard to be by wearing Chacos or telling myself I want to go hiking, ha! Yeah right..) Well if I choose a service site related to nature or the outdoors, what good will I be as a volunteer if I pass out when I see a snake, spider, or alligator? None.A good place to start narrowing down service site interests would be through LSU’s Campus Life office. Here is a link to their website. There you will find more information about what LSU has to offer service wise on campus!
  3. Make a commitment, y’all: Service is like a lot of things; you get out of it what you put into it. If you aren’t getting involved in something you really care about, show up sporadically to serve, or aren’t fully present in your time there, you as well as your service site will not get the best out of your experiences. Talk with your service site supervisor to agree on a schedule that works best for both of you and hold yourself accountable! I know how hard it can be finding time with a college student schedule, but remember that time management is key.jolie-2
  4. Check yourself: One important aspect of service or service learning is reflection.  Taking the time to step back and reflect in whatever way best suits you is important to really understand the bigger picture of your work. At times it can be discouraging knowing there is so much to be done that you might feel as if you’re making little to no impact. During these times write in a journal, look up quotes, talk it out with someone else, or check out this list of reflection activities in order to have a better idea of what your service means, the impact it’s making on the service site as well as on yourself, and any lessons you’re learning along the way.
  5. What kind of ships never sink? Some of my best friends I still have to this day I met on alternative spring or fall break service trips. Having the opportunity to put myself out there, meet people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and be vulnerable during group reflection allowed my new friendships to be deeper and more intentional. I went into these experiences not really knowing other students or staff I was with but always left feeling like they were family (as cliché as that may sound it’s true!) There’s something about living in a cabin for a week with people you have just met and no access to wifi or cable that just sort of brings you all together! In all seriousness, getting involved with service based trips or committed service sites is a great way to meet new people in both the LSU and greater Baton Rouge community. (The answer was friendships. Friendships never sink!) 

The Semester Is Over! What Now?

victoria

Victoria Cleveland is a sophomore pursuing a Public Relations major with a minor in Business. She is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and works on the Media and Marketing Team for First Year Experience.

Dear Parents,

Your child has just endured one of the toughest weeks of the semester and is likely looking forward to enjoying the comfort of your home. Here are five easy and helpful ways to ensure that your beloved tiger has a great winter break.

1. Welcome them back with open arms! – Hugs have been proven to reduce blood pressure, lower stress and alleviate fears. Whether your tiger aced their finals, or perhaps encountered a few bumps this week, a hug helps to make life a little sweeter!

2. Light a candle! – Studies show that lavender and vanilla scents actually reduce anxiety and agitation. For instance, people who smelled vanilla during a stress test actually maintained a lower heart rate than those who smelled no scent at all.

3. Make sure they eat! – Your tiger will need to maintain a regular and well-balanced eating schedule to help replenish their energy.

4. Fluff the pillows! It is time for bed!- Your body needs extra sleep and rest when you’re stressed, so make sure to tuck your tigers in!

5. Know who to call! – With finals, the end of the semester also brings various financial responsibilities. If you or your tiger has questions about your fee bill, billing statement or TOPS, contact the Bursar’s Office at 225-578-3357 or by email at bursar@lsu.edu.

The absolute best thing you can do for your tiger is to enjoy the time you will spend with them this winter break!