Building Community at the LSU Engineering Residential College

Transitioning to college can be much easier when you live in a residential college.

A residential college is a place where freshmen of the same discipline live, study and work together under the same roof. The LSU College of Engineering Residential College (ERC), or North Hall, houses 350 students studying computer science, construction management, or engineering.

The LSU "ERC" or North Hall

The LSU “ERC” or North Hall

“The benefits of living in a residential college are countless. Students who choose to live within a residential college community have access to resources and events that other students simply aren’t privy to,” said Derek Calderara, residential life coordinator for the North Community.

Living in a residential college comes with many perks. Numerous classes, supplemental instruction sessions and professor office hours take place in the same building where students live.

ERC "Monday Mashup" Night

ERC “Monday Mashup” Night

On top of academic help, ERC students also build a sense of community by making friends outside of class.

“Community is the sound of friends kicking around a soccer ball in the courtyard. It’s the silence of a study room being shared between a dozen students, and it’s the vision of faculty, staff and students all sharing space in the dining halls on campus,” Calderara explained. “We are all part of the same LSU community.”

According to ERC Rector Mark Rabalais, students who live in the ERC are more likely to graduate on time compared to their peers who live elsewhere. Rabalais said that the combination of the ERC’s community and academic perks is what contributes to students’ higher graduation rates.

“I think a sense of community just adds to the sense of belonging somewhere and increases your chances of succeeding,” he said.

Students form relationships and friendships with their classmates in the ERC for different reasons.

“Students often come together naturally whether it’s due to common interests in the same video games or sports, or simply due to coursework. Students have bonded regularly in developing study scheduling that match up with the challenging schedule they face,” Calderara said. “Most of all I notice the overall optimism and enthusiasm that radiates from almost all of our students in the ERC. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be a part of the community here.”

– Contributed by Danielle Kelley,
College of Engineering communications intern

Gearing up for Move-In Day!

Updated 5/24/2017

This month’s post will serve as a go-to guide for getting ready for the fall semester! We’ll cover some basic topics like what to pack, tips for settling in, and some information about the Engineering Residential College for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet.

Packing

This can be an overwhelming process so don’t wait until the last minute! Start a list of the things you absolutely need to take with you and work your way up from there.

Resist the urge to bring everything you own with you! You probably won’t have the space in your dorm or apartment, let alone your car. Also, coordinate with your roommates ahead of time to see what they plan on bringing. There’s no need for you both to have a fridge, microwave, coffee-maker, etc.

If you’re coming from out-of-state, wait to buy your organizational items until you get here. For example, trying to haul down storage bins of all shapes and sizes, clothing hangers, etc. is just too much trouble. There are plenty of places around town for you to pick these things up – Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond to name a few.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

What about packing for the weather? The best way to describe Louisiana weather: unpredictable. That being said you can generally expect it to be hot and humid your first couple of months here. Two must-haves – rain boots and a raincoat. When it rains, it pours!

If you’re from a cold-weather state, the weather is going to take some getting used to (imagine walking around in a sauna all day). The good news is that when it starts cooling off in the fall, the locals will be bundled up in the 60 degree weather and you’ll still be wearing shorts! So it all evens out.

You don’t need to bring all your fall and winter clothes with you initially, especially if you know you’ll be going home for Fall or Thanksgiving break. You can take the time to swap out clothes during the breaks once you’ve had a chance to see what the weather is like. Just bring a raincoat, and a few layer-able items like a sweatshirt and jacket for that unpredictable weather.

Click here for a more comprehensive list on what items to pack.

LSU also offers some cool things, like “MicroFridge Rentals” and a “Ship to Your Room” program. Check those out here.

Dorm/Residential College Life

If you’ve never had to share a room with a sibling before, the thought of sharing a space with a stranger can be downright terrifying. The good news is that you’re not alone and most likely your new roommate is equally concerned about the new living situation. Here are some ways to help ease your fears.

There's no need to freak out!

There’s no need to freak out!

Get to know your roommate ahead of time. Find them on Facebook, send them an email, do whatever makes you most comfortable and reach out to them. You don’t need to interview them and find out everything there is to know about their life and living habits, but just having a few conversations with this person will make them feel more like a friend and less like a stranger when you move in.

Get to know your other suite-mates or dorm-mates when you move in. If you’re not a very outgoing person, this can seem difficult. But start out by simply saying hello to people in the hallway and start up conversations when you can. Not only will you make some lasting friendships with many of these people, it’s also important from a safety standpoint for the people around you to know who you are. They are going to be your family for the next year – you want them to look out for you just as you should for them.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be considerate and respectful of your roommate. Most likely, you’re not going to have the same sleep schedule, class schedule, and social schedule. Work out things like who showers when, and what’s a reasonable time for “lights out,” before they become an issue. Don’t be conflict avoidant – this will only make you more frustrated and angry as the problems persist. Be open and honest and make sure that your roommate knows that they can tell you if something is bothering them too. You don’t have to be best friends with this person, but you want this to be a pleasant experience for both of you.

This is one considerate roommate!

This is one considerate roommate!

LSU’s Residential Life has a “Living on Campus Handbook” with safety information, policies and procedures, services, and more. Be sure to read it and stay informed.

For all details associated with Move-In Day please head here. This website provides information on where to check in, directions, and more.

Engineering Residential College (ERC)

A residential college is a living-learning community, generally grouped together by academic interests or majors. LSU’s Engineering Residential College (ERC) is housed in the North Hall and opened in Fall 2012. More than 350 first-year students with a declared major in the College of Engineering enjoy this living-learning community on the west side of campus.

Interior of ERC

Living in the ERC is a great way to meet more people within the college, receive additional instruction in math, physics, and chemistry, and connect with industry partners through corporate sponsored events aimed at exposing students to internship and career development opportunities.

If you’re a prospective student who may be interested in living in the ERC, be sure to check out this website which includes all the benefits of living there as well as the eligibility requirements.

— Contributed by Laura J. Odenwald, LSU alumna and current College of Engineering assistant manager of digital marketing