SLU stages flash mob; dancing raises spirits

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Southeastern Louisiana University students Taylor Reed and Blake Thomas, front, join a dancing flash mob outside of the War Memorial Student Union during the first day of the fall semester classes Wednesday. The flash mob was intended to get students excited and drum up school spirit, organizers said.

HAMMOND — Brooke Adams had just one hour Wednesday to learn the hip-hop dance moves to get students “pumped up” for the first day of fall semester classes at Southeastern Louisiana University.

“I love the stage, and things like that show school spirit,” the SLU junior said.

School spirit was definitely at a high point during the university’s first flash mob event.

As students gathered outside of the War Memorial Student Union to watch the production put on by about 50 students, others in the crowd danced along to the music, a mix of songs on today’s top 25 dance charts.

The flash mob idea was born out of a discussion by Hall Council members, a student organization made up of students who live on campus and who work to “build community on campus, and organize fun activities for students,” said Bevann McCartney, a professional staff member of the Hall Council.

A Facebook page was then created to invite students to join the mob, and a tutorial of the dance was later posted. By the time the flash mob performed at 12:30 p.m., the page had more than 1,400 followers.

“We just wanted to do it, and thought it would be so cool if Southeastern did this, so we all came together,” said Pattison, choreographer and first-time flash mobber, of New Orleans.

“There’s nothing like the energy of college students,” said university President John Crain, who made his way through the flash mob with Roomie, the SLU mascot.

“It went great,” Crain said of the flash mob. “That’s part of our ongoing effort to try and make a strong connection with the students.

“I think it generates a sense of excitement,” he said. “Those who were a part of it get to know other students, faculty and staff, and build connections.”

Freshman Itoya Horton, of Baton Rouge, said she felt an immediate connection with the university on her first day.

“I’m really excited,” Horton said. “Everyone I’ve met has been very helpful.

“I felt more comfortable here than being someplace big, like LSU, where it’s so overwhelming,” Horton said.

While fall enrollment figures were not available Wednesday, Crain said he believes fall enrollment “is going to be strong this year.”

Part of the that is due a statewide High School Dual Enrollment Program, or Early Start at SLU, which allows some high school juniors and seniors to take courses at SLU while still attending high school.

The university will be at more than 100 percent capacity once those on a waiting list are placed, Crain said.

In the coming year, SLU students can expect an expansion to the Kinesiology building that will house the Hammond component of the nursing program, and an expansion and renovations to the student union.

The university also has partnered with Northshore Technical Community College to offer classes to students who were not admissible to the university, to make sure those students “don’t fall through the cracks, and lack some sort of secondary education,” Crain said.