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LASAL Overview

What is a LASAL Scholar?

What is LASAL?

LASAL - Louisiana Service and Leadership - is an Honors College program designed to produce leaders who are ready to use their knowledge and experience to help change Louisiana. No other college or university in the nation has a program like LASAL, which empowers students to solve chronic local problems. If you want to make a difference, if you want to work and study with a group of students who care about the future of Louisiana, then apply to become a LASAL Scholar in October of your first semester at LSU.


What is a LASAL Scholar?

Lumcon BeachLASAL Scholars are a select group of Honors students who are passionate about solving Louisiana's problems, from coastal erosion to poverty, education to health care. They are passionate about social justice and serving their community. LASAL Scholars may pursue any major because the program of study compliments any major. 


Life as a LASAL Scholar

You will participate in a program with three parts: classes, community engagement, and research.

The program's required classes (Critical Analysis and Social Responsibility, The State of Louisiana, Louisiana Politics, Louisiana History), taken during the freshman and sophomore years, will help you understand the most important challenges facing Louisiana. Later, you wil use this foundation to investigate these problems in more detail, using elective classes and internships.

Your mission: identify a specific problem you want to analyze and solve--a mission supported and deepened by the community engagement of the LASAL program. You will meet community leaders during "Sundays in the Salon" and participate with your colleagues in field trips and service projects. In your junior year, your LASAL Internship will help you refine your mission and focus on the final part of your LASAL experience: research.

During your senior year, working with a faculty mentor, you will write and defend a thesis. Your thesis is an original work of scholarship devoted to solving a specific Louisiana problem, and it is the culmination of your LASAL and Honors College education.

Recent theses have focused on homelessness, predatory lending to the poor, public funding and indigent patient care, welfare policy, and disaster relief planning.


Leaders Who Have Recently Met with LASAL Scholars

  • Mr. Garrett Graves: Director, Governor's Office of Coastal Restoration
  • Mr. Mark Schliefstein: Environmental Reporter, Times Picayune
  • Ms. Jay Setoon: Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services
  • Mr. Paul Loeb: Author, Soul of a Citizen
  • Mr. Mark Hertsgaard: Author, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth
  • Mr. Luis Urrea: Author, The Devil's Highway
  • Mr. Michael Tidwell: Author, Bayou Farewell
  • Rep. Pat Smith: Louisiana State Representative, District 67
  • Dr. Pam Monroe: Director, LSU Poverty Center
  • Dr. Bernard Taylor: Superintendent, East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools
  • Ms. Marylee Orr: Director, Louisiana Environmental Action Network
  • Dr. Matt Lee: Director, LSU Crime and Policy Prevention Group
  • Mr. Bruce Watson: Author, Freedom Summer
  • Ms. Annice Miller: President, Tensas Parish School Board
  • Ms. Jacqueline Schauf: Director, Tensas Community Health Center
  • Mr. Randy Nichols: Director, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless
  • Ms. Michelle Wydra: Director, NOLA Investigates



LASAL Scholars take an annual field trip to LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium) in Cocodrie, Louisiana, where they spend a weekend studying the effects of erosion on barrier islands and the loss of coastal wetlands. Scholars also work with local organization in Baton Rouge to tutor at-risk children, and with community leaders and students in Tensas Parish to build a more vibrant community.


The Application Process

Apply to be a LASAL Scholar in the fall semester of your freshman year. Recruitment takes place at Spring Invitational and at informational meetings during the fall semester. The application process includes a service resume and a short essay--and culminates in a personal interview. LASAL Scholars are normally selected by October 15 of their freshman year. If you are interested in becoming a LASAL Scholar, please contact Dr. Granger Babcock at