BATON ROUGE, LA- Early this week, there was lots of buzz surrounding LSU’s Presidential Symposium. The event featured many speakers, who were all prepared and energetic to be at the symposium. However, at the “Environments for Advancement” forum, confusion seemed to be a central theme.
The forum took place in LSU’s Student Union, in the Capital Chamber. The description taken from the events agenda explained that the panelists would be speaking about “the influence of university environments on the interaction of racial and ideological groups both on campus and in the campus-community exchange.” The other topics that were to be spoken about were “the ways in which the physical, architectural, and ecological features of university environments impact, adjust, improve, or occasionally damage civil relations and the discussions that arise from them.” It appeared that it would be an interesting discussion, and although there weren’t many people in attendance, everyone seemed relatively excited to hear what the panelists had to say.
The panels started out well, Brian Salvator from LSU’s Shreveport campus spoke first regarding the conditions of the campus. However, the forum quickly took a turn as it became evident that the remaining three panelists had prepared incorrectly. They began to speak regarding environment as a biological topic. Keeping in mind the fact that the full description of the forum mentioned ecological factors as one of the topics, this wasn’t exactly much of a surprise. However, the confusion began when all three remaining panelists covered, almost strictly, biological factors regarding the environment.
This included facts about the ozone layer, air quality, and one of the panelists organizations that educates students of all ages on how to take care of the environment. These are all good topics, however there was a bit of disappointment that the other topics were not covered as profusely. Halfway through the discussion, you could see that Salvator was beginning to feel uncomfortable, as if he had inadequately prepared. This was not the case though, as his opening points and other subjects covered actually touched on the forum’s focus, which was how the physical environments on campus effected students and other visitors/employees.
Salvator immediately began covering the issues that he comes across on his campus, such as the fact that a new building hasn’t been built on LSU Shreveport’s campus in 20 years, and there are no dormitories on campus, only obsolete apartments. These are all issues that should have been discussed throughout all panelists, and although they may have been grazed, were a vital part to the discussion that were left out.
The aesthetic environment of a campus is becoming more important each year, and this forum had the opportunity to bring up topics that may not have arisen in years past, especially with the events that have been occurring recently in our society regarding race relations- and therefore, the campus’s ability to make its students feel safe and welcome. These are all issues that were not covered, and therefore caused some panelists who are very educated in their subject to seem ill-prepared.