The Holbrook Student Union complex serves as the central clearinghouse for diverse student life programs and activities designed to engage students in University and community life, recognize student academic and success, and promote linkages with key community stakeholders. Encompassing over 75,000 square feet, these facilities are headquarters for multiple student-funded and student-led initiatives that add value to the collegiate experience by nurturing leadership development, promoting philanthropy and service to others, creating awareness about local, regional, and global cultural issues, providing social and entertainment events, and fostering advocacy for an array of student and campus concerns. Holbrook Student Union houses several venues utilized for campus programs and events, a game room for students, the University’s largest general computer lab, and several offices for student entities.
Student Involvement and Engagement
Getting involved and engaged on McNeese’s campus is an excellent way to enjoy a fulfilling collegiate experience. While academics are the most important aspect of college life, McNeese offers multiple ways that students can connect to the university beyond the classroom. There are numerous benefits associated with campus involvement. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Students who are involved have several opportunities for scholarships and salaries that help supplement the cost of their college education.
- Involved students can hold leadership positions within student organizations, which become notable experiences as they pursue a profession after college.
- Involved students are less likely to have disciplinary issues due to having more responsibility and accountability.
- Students who are involved maintain GPAs that are higher than the average student.
- Involved students report more satisfaction with their McNeese experience.
- Students who are involved have higher graduation rates and progress through their curricula at a faster pace.
- Involved students have more opportunities to broaden their social skills.
- Involved students have the opportunity for direct interactions with faculty and staff.
The administering department for student engagement is the Student Union and Activities Office.
C.A.R.E. Mentorship Program
The C.A.R.E. Mentorship Program has been developed to support student rention and academic proficiency of McNeese students. It links current students with a member of the faculty/staff community, who serves as a guide and resource. The program is open to all McNeese students and targets those students who have faced challenges and obstacles that threaten their academic standing.
The acronym C.A.R.E. breaks down as follows:
- C (onnect) - Students will be connected to resources and opportunties the University offers.
- A (ccelerate) - Students will accelerate progression toward completing a degree.
- R (etain) - Students will be retained due to the connections they build.
- E (ngage) - Students will be engaged to the campus and student life.
The success of these outcomes will be achieved by connecting C.A.R.E. program students with a personal resource on campus that will serve as their mentor. Mentors are faculty and staff members of the University or successful graduate students and seniors that have a passion to assist with the development of their peers. For more information about the C.A.R.E. program, visit www.mcneese.edu/studentlife/care.
Cowboy Camp is an exciting and motivating two-day developmental program hosted annually for incoming students. The program provides a great jump start to the McNeese experience. During the program, incoming students can meet other individuals in their incoming class who are motivated to be engaged on campus. The process is fostered through connecting Cowboy Camp students to current student leaders and having them participate in activities that are customary for engaged students. Students learn McNeese traditions and processes while developing skills necessary for a successful collegiate experience. A huge bonus for on-campus residents attending Cowboy Camp is that they are among the first students to move into residence halls! The motto for Cowboy Camp is “Get Connected, Become a Leader, Begin to Build Your Resumé.” Cowboy Camp participants are more than ready for their first day of class once they have completed the program. For more information about Cowboy Camp or to register, visit www.mcneese.edu/studentlife/cowboycamp.
Engage McNeese Online Platform
Engage McNeese is an online engagement portal used for communications and operations within campus life at McNeese. It is an excellent tool for students that offers the ability to remain connected with student engagement activities and student organizations. Engagealso allows students to track their campus involvement and leadership experiences on an automatically-generated co-curricular transcript that can be an addendum to a professional resumé. Student Life areas use Engage to communicate opportunities for a deeper connection to the University.
Student organizations receive official status at the University by registering through the Engage platform. All student organization members are linked to their counterparts in Engage groups. The following benefits are provided for student organizations:
- A worldwide website for each student organization;
- The ability to conduct organization elections online;
- The ability to track student attendance to meetings and activities;
- The ability to send e-mails and text messages to members of the organization and the student community; and
- The ability to track organization records such as meeting agendas, minutes, and financial reports.
Freshmen Orientation Engage Track
Freshmen students are introduced to the Engage platform through the “Freshmen Orientation Engage Track.” The track includes a set of campus programs, a designated number of which incoming students must attend to receive their credit for freshmen orientation. Attendance is tracked using the Engage platform’s “Paths” function. More information about the Engage Track is available at https://www.mcneese.edu/studentlife/engagetrack.
Since their inception in 1952, McNeese Greeks have been the cornerstone of student involvement, leadership development, and campus traditions. This continues today. Currently, there are 17 charters for Greek-letter social organizations comprised of nine groups in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, five groups in the Interfraternity Council, and three groups in the National Panhellenic Conference. McNeese Greek students represent over 500 members of the student community, totaling just over eight percent of undergraduate enrollment. Greeks hold all levels of campus leadership positions, serve on numerous campus committees, and represent McNeese at local, state, and national conventions. Greek Life is considered an elevated level of campus involvement. The following Greek organizations have charters at McNeese:
- Alpha Delta Pi
- Alpha Kappa Alpha
- Chi Omega
- Delta Sigma Theta
- Phi Mu
- Sigma Gamma Rho
- Zeta Phi Beta
- Alpha Phi Alpha
- Iota Phi Theta
- Kappa Alpha Order
- Kappa Alpha Psi
- Kappa Sigma
- Omega Psi Phi
- Phi Beta Sigma
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Pi Kappa Phi
McNeese offers several opportunities for multicultural engagement. There are several programs to contribute to the cultural development and cultural awareness of McNeese students. Numerous student organizations represent different cultures of students or a commitment to cultural diversity. The multicultural engagement coordinator of the Student Union and Activities Office collaborates with campus personnel to provide various multicultural experiences for the McNeese community.
Student Government Association
The Student Government Association (SGA) is the student body’s official voice for representation and advocacy for student concerns within the campus community. SGA is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. SGA is governed internally by a constitution crafted by its Legislature and adopted by the student body through referendum. SGA is governed externally by applicable state law pertaining to matters including, but not limited to, purchasing, procurement, and travel; University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors policies, by-laws and rules; and University policies related to student employment, scholarships, payroll, facilities use, student organization regulations, and other operational issues. The Legislature is the sole, legally-constituted body recognized by the University to authorize requests for expenditure of Student Government Association Fee and Organization Fee funds. Weekly meetings of the Student Government Association Legislature are held each Wednesday at 4 p.m. Contact the SGA office, located in the Holbrook Student Union (also known as the Old Ranch), for information about meeting location and issues of current interest.
The Student Life Coalition contributes to the social, recreational, cultural, and educational development of students, faculty, and alumni through an array of programs and services. The entity conducts activities reflecting the three student-funded areas of engagement: Student Union Board, Leadership Programs, and Multicultural Programs. Student Life Coalition is staffed with student program coordinators that plan, implement, and assess events and activities. Events are open to the campus community and any student who has paid fees that accompany tuition. Most events sponsored by Student Life Coalition require no admission fee, but a valid McNeese student identification card is required for entry at all events. The Student Life Coalition Office is located on the second floor of the Holbrook Student Union Annex (also known as the New Ranch).
Student organizations are a great way to become involved on campus. Annually, over 115 student organizations register with the University. These organizations offer students opportunities to exercise and practice the professional skills they learn inside the classroom. Potential employers look to hire those who have demonstrated leadership, commitment, and excellence in all facets of a campus environment. Student organizations represent different areas of interests, beliefs, and professional ambitions. The categories of organizations at McNeese are as follows: academic, campus ministries, chartered, Greek, honor societies, multicultural, political, professional, service, special interest, spirit, and sports/recreation. If none of the current organizations meet a student’s interest, there is a very simple process to start a student organization. To see the full list of student organizations, visit www.mcneese.edu/studentlife/organizations.
Three student publications are officially recognized by the University: The Log, The Contraband, and Arena.
The Log is the official yearbook of the University. A student editor and production staff are selected each year and tasked with the responsibility of capturing the academic year in an attractive and meaningful publication. Fees collected from students support the yearbook’s production and provide for a copy for students who wish to receive it. The Log office is in the Holbrook Student Union, or Old Ranch.
The Contraband is the official student newspaper of the University. A student editor, production staff, and advertising sales staff are selected each year and are charged with producing multiple weekly editions of the newspaper each fall and spring term. Fees collected from students support the newspaper’s production, which is supplemented by the sale of advertising to interested businesses and individuals. The University’s director of public relations and University events serves as advisor to the yearbook and newspaper. The Contraband office is in the Holbrook Student Union, or Old Ranch.
The Arena is an artistic and literary student journal published in the spring term each academic year. McNeese students may offer submissions including photographs, photographs of pottery and paintings, poems, essays, and short stories for consideration. An editor is chosen from among the members of Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. A faculty member from the College of Liberal Arts serves as advisor.