August 23, 2011

Each year in early August, hundreds of LSU freshmen are enthusiastically welcomed to the Baton Rouge campus as they prepare to learn what it means to really be an LSU Tiger. STRIPES, or Student Tigers Rallying, Interacting and Promoting Education and Service, is a four-day, three-night retreat designed to prepare incoming students for the transition to LSU.

During STRIPES, current LSU students serving as student leaders are responsible for easing the transition from high school to college; teaching incoming freshmen and transfer students about the history and traditions of LSU; connecting participants with campus resources, facilities and programs; and explaining the numerous ways to get involved in the LSU community.

ChiChi Obuekwe, Jonathan Maurin and Marcel Delaune were among this summer’s group leaders who are engineering majors. Maurin, chemical engineering junior, and Delaune, chemical engineering sophomore, were STRIPES participants before becoming group leaders while Obuekwe, chemical engineering senior, became a leader after seeing a flier and applying for a position.

Students are divided into small groups that participate in hands-on activities and facilitated discussions, where more attention is focused on the individual student. STRIPES group leaders work hard to instill a sense of Tiger pride in the university and in their group itself, allowing students to create cheers, a flag, etc. – that tells the story of their group name and history.

“My favorite part of STRIPES is one of the activities the small group leaders put on called Extravaganza,” said Maurin. “The small group leaders creatively teach the participants all of the traditions and history of LSU by putting on plenty of humorous skits. The leaders have a blast, and the students get to learn while having a good time!”

When asked his favorite part of STRIPES Obuekwe said, “I love the looks on students’ faces when they fall in love with LSU. It feels awesome; it feels like you did your job.” Delaune’s favorite part of STRIPES is “seeing, feeling, and hearing the passion and spirit for LSU that comes from all of the participants and leaders.”

While the main focus of group leaders is the students, they gain invaluable leadership experience that will help them both personally and professionally. 

As a STRIPES participant, Maurin attended a lecture with Career Services where he learned that employers highly value leadership experience. “Ever since I chose my major, I knew that there would be great competition for careers in the future,” said Maurin. “I feel that I can effectively lead professional discussions and this will help me greatly in the engineering world. Being a STRIPES leader has also helped me strengthen my communication skills and will no doubt benefit me when searching for a career.”

Being a group leader has taught Obuekwe about working with others. “STRIPES has really taught me how to work in a group and how to work well with a partner. This will definitely help me to be a successful engineering student.”

For more information on STRIPES, visit


For more information, contact Cassie Arceneaux, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-0092.

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