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Summer camps assist with recruitment, monetary needs of university

Whether learning how to film a mini documentary or constructing robots, or cheering and dancing, Louisiana Tech’s campus is filled every summer with campers from across the southern region.

Tech hosts a variety of day and overnight camps, including Student Life Christian camps, cyber camps that teach high school students about engineering and physics, dance and cheer camps, and LaGearUp camps, which bring in high school students from around the state to learn about various collegiate majors.

Dickie Crawford, dean of student life and auxiliary services, said over the past 10 years, the multiple camps have brought in an average of $750,000 to the university each year.

“If we didn’t have this, we would have little activity in housing and food activity,” Crawford said. “We have fixed expenses with housing, staffing, and utilities, whether there’s one person on campus or 1,000 here. The more activity we have during the summer, the less we have to charge our students during the year.”

Ashley Taylor, coordinator of student development, said the campers pay for housing, for food on campus, and to use various facilities, which is a beneficial supplemental income for the university. Some, such as one of the Student Life groups, even volunteer around the Ruston community.

“A lot of Tech students don’t understand what it means when these students come to campus,” Taylor said. “It brings students and money to campus and can help keep tuition and housing lowered.”

She added that about 5,000 non-Tech students will visit the campus this summer.

“These children have an opportunity to learn about these things and be exposed to Tech,” Taylor said. “It’s a recruitment opportunity for them to see a campus they may have never considered.”

Crawford said for students who come out of state, this might be the campers’ only chance to visit Tech’s campus.

“They’ve never been to Ruston,” he said. “It’s a good recruitment opportunity and hopefully will impress them enough to consider us as an option later.”

Student Life campers Brady Laborde, of Alexandria, and Makinley Webb, of Keller, Texas, said this was their first time to visit Tech.

“I think it’s neat,” Webb, 14, said. “I’ve been to two other universities, and this one is the best.”

Laborde, 14, said he planned to consider Tech as his college choice.

“I love the campus,” he said. “Everything is within five minutes of walking. I will definitely consider Tech in the future.”