September 18, 2007

LSU’s future engineers are now housed in the new Engineering Residential College (ERC).  Students moved into in West Laville Hall this semester, and will relocate to a new facility as part of the Residential College Complex in January 2008. The freshman year is a period of transition filled with questions, concerns, and some anxiety. Away from home for the first time, students must cope with a new and seemingly vast campus, while trying to adjust to college-level academics and social opportunities. The ERC provides a comprehensive living/learning community that helps reduce these common freshman frustrations.

Benefits of the ERC program include:  priority scheduling, taking an Introduction to Engineering class, and enrolling in specifically designated classes for ERC students. ERC makes organizing study groups, sharing materials, and preparing group projects more convenient; plus the students have increased formal and informal access to college faculty and counselors in the residence hall. John Scalzo, Faculty Rector ERC and Instructor, ECE emphasized the impact of this program by saying “Counselors from the Dean’s office have visited with ERC students, and faculty hold office hours and review sessions here. Also, our Resident Assistants (RAs) are upper-level LSU Engineering students who have taken the freshman classes and can help tutor those subjects. Typically, a group of six is in the lobby, on their laptops, doing chemistry homework or some class project. This program is designed to help significantly with retention in the College because these students will have more exposure and interaction with the engineering curriculum, students and faculty than those freshmen in the past.”

A prime goal of the ERC is to jumpstart students' professional development by quickly acquainting them with the College. The ERC will be the hub for a series of activities and programs hosted by student chapters of professional engineering societies (AIAA, AIChE, ASCE, ASME, BESO, CSA, IEEE, IIE, NSBE, SHPE, SPE and SWE). In partnership with Career Services and the Business Residential College, the ERC will conduct training programs on resume development, mock interviewing and host corporate-sponsored events aimed at exposing students to internship, Co-Op and long-term career engineering opportunities. Scalzo supported these initiatives by stating “This comes at a great time because many engineering companies are working to meet and establish relationships with our students as soon as they arrive on campus. Their campus recruiters will come in the evening to the ERC and meet our students. Plus, almost all engineering student organizations have been to the residence hall and encouraged freshmen to join an organization and get involved in projects.”

Tours of the new ERC facility are scheduled to be conducted in November 2007.

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU college of Engineering, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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