By Brittany Basco
Student Support Services, also known as SSS, becomes a home away from home for many students of LSU.
SSS is a unique federally funded program at LSU that allows first generation students, students receiving pale grants, or disabled students an opportunity to experience college without disadvantages. It provides resources and guidance for a select number of students that they may not have access to otherwise, like free tutoring, priority class scheduling, financial literacy information, assistance with career decisions, workshops, free coffee, cultured trips, and more. The counselors of SSS are there to enhance student’s learning abilities through exposing them to their strengths and weaknesses through a variety of assessments.
To be eligible for this program, one must either be a first generation student, receive pale grants, or have a disability. They provide a college study skills class that is required for all freshman to take to take advantage of the benefits the SSS program offers.
“We do all kinds of things to get students in here,” said SSS Assistant Director Craig Winchell. “We provide coffee, snacks, rack full of clothing, winter coats that are donated, and more. These are all things that the students can take without asking. It’s like a home away from home mainly for first generation students who have no foundation because they have people to talk to such as upper classmen when they can’t get that at home.”
As first generation students take advantage of these resources, the results are clear — and positive. For marketing sophomore Shae Brown, SSS is an indispensible part of her college career.
“The counselors are very helpful and resourceful,” Brown said. “SSS has helped me through a lot, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Nutrition junior Treasure Vincent calls the SSS staff and the services they have to offer “incredibly priceless,” but worries that not enough people are taking full advantage of the group.
“The computer lab, study room, free tutoring services, one on one counseling sessions, and the free food and coffee every morning are just a plus,” Vincent said. “Being on the Student Advisory Board has allowed me to see that not many people in SSS actually recognize the benefits of SSS. Some don’t even know that events are held for them to come to and interact with others.“
SSS central location on campus in 136 Allen is ideal for students because they have a place to study or have lunch without having to walk back to the dorm or find somewhere to sit in down time. Winchell explained that they try to get the students out of their dorm to meet other students by hosting activities such as the ropes course or working in community projects.
One thing Winchell deems specials is that they get to work with the students as their advisors the whole time they are LSU students opposed to switching after one gets in their senior college.
“We are here to build relationships, answer silly questions, help with problems and guide them. Whatever they need, we’re there,” Winchell said. “We’re there all four or five years which, makes graduation a bigger deal because we get to watch them go from naïve freshmen to confident graduates. We’re just as excited as parents!”