The Northwestern State University campus will see plenty of activity this summer as more than 8,500 students and staff will take part in more than 50 summer camps and workshops hosted by the university.
The camps include band, art, music and science camps, Louisiana Boys State and Girls State, cheerleading and sports camps, the ADVANCE Program for Young Scholars, the Louisiana Association of Student Councils, robotics camps and more.
“We have the most enchanting, beautiful campus in the state of Louisiana,” said Director of Enrollment Services Jana Lucky. “Summer camps are a great way to show off our campus to students that might not have had an opportunity to experience it. Natchitoches is also very friendly and welcoming to visitors from all over.”
About half of the camps are overnight camps, requiring the students to use campus residence halls and dining facilities. Lucky says this gives camp participants a good idea of what student life is like at Northwestern State. The camps have a significant economic impact on the community because of the overnight stays and purchases made by the camps and visits from parents.
This year’s summer camps will have an estimated economic impact of nearly $3.5 million on the local economy, according to the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Camps also provide a valuable way for academic departments to promote themselves and possibly spark an interest in a future NSU student. Northwestern State’s Department of Engineering Technology has offered STEM robotics camps for nearly 10 years for both beginning and advanced levels.
“The interdisciplinary construction of robots, which involves motors, sensors, and programming, makes it a useful pedagogical tool for all STEM areas,” said Jafar Al Sharab, head of the Department of Engineering Technology. “The novelty of robotics is instrumental in attracting and recruiting diverse STEM students. In the classroom, robotics can easily be used to introduce a variety of mandatory skills needed to pursue a variety of STEM career paths. More specifically, a robotics platform advances students’ understanding of both scientific and mathematical principles develops and enhances problem-solving techniques and promotes cooperative learning.”