LSU is taking steps to ensure that the class of 2024 has an authentic college experience in spite of the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Some University freshmen are not satisfied, while others seem to be content with their college experience so far.
Computer science freshman Jalen Johnson said gaining independence was what he was most looking forward to in college.
Johnson said that while he understands the need for some regulations due to COVID-19, many seem excessive, such as wearing a mask in the lazy river at the UREC.
"It feels like we're getting pinned down with a whole bunch of restrictions," Johnson said.
The UREC announced Friday evening on social media that it will open for the summer starting July 13 with safety precautions in place.
Johnson said his college experience so far has felt similar to high school. In one particular instance, the basketball nets by his dorm were tied up because some of the students lowered their masks to get a breath of fresh air while playing.
"When I came to college I was expecting to be on my own, be as independent as I could, and develop as a person," Johnson said. "But freedom is limited, now, due to the pandemic, which is unfortunate. It feels like I'm back in high school. It's not your own actions or your own decisions."
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Mass communication and apparel design freshman Canaan Charrier said he understands the necessity of the COVID-19 restrictions.
"I believe we should practice an elevated level of caution and cleanliness, though I do hope if there is a containable outbreak at LSU, the school doesn't completely shut down,” Charrier said.
Charrier said he's enjoying his current college experience, but the University could improve it by implementing "more conventional ways to connect with other incoming freshmen, especially for commuters like myself."
LSU Panhellenic announced Wednesday that the formal recruitment process for the fall will be conducted virtually.
Many freshmen may feel like it’s more difficult to create a community of friends this semester due to online learning. Associate Dean of Students and Director at Campus Life Jacob Brumfield said the University officials still aim to provide a well-rounded experience for the class of 2024.
"We are trying to craft events that will appeal to students, excite them and help them connect with each other and traditions here at LSU," Brumfield said.
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Campus Life is encouraging student organizations to be innovative with events they hold this semester, using online and hybrid options. The current COVID-19 directive does not allow groups of more than 10 people to gather without a permit from the University.
"Everyone is coming up with their own creative solutions and that's what's beautiful about being part of a community with hundreds of student organizations," Brumfield said.
He said the University is developing new initiatives to improve this semester for freshmen, such as a virtual involvement fair held over TigerLink.
Although the freshman experience will look different for the class of 2024 due to COVID-19, Brumfield said students "can still craft what it means to be an LSU Tiger" on their own terms.