SG’s LSU Local initiative issues survey to improve Baton Rouge for students

The Daily Reveille

LSU Student Government has launched an initiative, LSU Local, in hopes of better connecting students with the Baton Rouge area job market and social scene, according to a broadcast email sent out to all students on Feb. 1. This initiative was part of the platform of the Forward election campaign last year.

The email included a link to a survey hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. While BRAC owns the results to the survey, SG will be working with them to get and analyze the data as it is an open source, said SG president Zack Faircloth.

“The idea is that we put this survey out short, really quick and easy. shouldn’t take students more than two minutes to fill out,” Faircloth said. “All you’re really telling them is how connected are you to Baton Rouge.”

The anonymous survey asks general questions about students and their history with Baton Rouge, such as their past and current residences and their high school location. It then moves on to questions about how connected students are to the job market, social life and infrastructure of the city and their satisfaction with those sectors.

“That data set doesn’t exist right now for us to justify meaningful policy changes to get things to happen for students,” Faircloth said.

The more students that participate, the greater the pool of data and easier it is for SG to say that students are demanding changes in the Baton Rouge area, Faircloth said. SG’s goal is to have 4000 completed surveys.

Faircloth said that while the outcome is uncertain, the survey results could also reveal meaningful policy changes that could affect the local job market, infrastructure and safety concerns among other areas that concern students.

“To me, is leverage,” Faircloth said. “It’s leverage to say: here’s what the students want to see from Baton Rouge. questions nobody has ever asked before.”

BRAC is Baton Rouge’s chamber of commerce which transitioned to head economic development for nine parishes 10 years ago. Those nine parishes are the Baton Rouge area of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes.

The vision of BRAC, according to their website, “is for the Baton Rouge Area to be one of the leading economies and premier business locations in the country, growing and attracting talent with its unique culture, vibrant communities and beautiful spaces.”

Faircloth noted that the data will most likely better connect underclassmen with the job market, by attaining apprenticeships before internships as well as other entertainment options to make Baton Rouge more appealing for millennials.

The LSU Local survey will be open until March 3. SG will immediately follow the survey by launching focus groups in conjunction with BRAC, which will last until April. By then SG hopes to have substantial quantitative and qualitative research to support what students want in the Baton Rouge area, which SG hopes to take to the mayor, BRAC and different stakeholders around campus, Faircloth said.

“SG and BRAC are working to keep LSU’s best and brightest, Baton Rouge’s best and brightest,” said SG Presidential Press Secretary Jayce Genco.

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