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Landscape architecture students promote program
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE — A group of Mississippi State University landscape architecture and contracting students stays busy outside the design studio by recruiting other students to join the program.
Landscape Architect Delegates, or LAD, was created in 2006 by three students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Contracting. The organization is made up of faculty-selected student leaders from within the department. Their primary purpose is to recruit potential students into the landscape architecture and landscape contracting programs.
“Not only are we recruiting students, but we are also providing an understanding of what landscape architects do,” said Victoria Kelley, a senior in the department and LAD team captain. “A lot of people are under the impression that we cut grass and garden, so we want to correct that misconception and introduce students to what landscape architects and contractors are really involved with.”
LAD volunteers visit high schools and community colleges to educate students about getting degrees in landscape architecture and landscape contracting. They staff college fairs and career days, and talk one-on-one with prospective students. Additionally, they provide tours of the department, develop recruitment materials and send follow-up letters to visiting students.
Kelley said the group has even visited with elementary students, educating them about potential careers in landscape architecture.
“The LAD volunteers do a great job of representing the department. Their dedication really shows,” said Michael Seymour, assistant professor of landscape architecture and the group’s adviser. “The high-schoolers can better relate to our students, and the faculty can concentrate on answering the parent questions.”
Entering sophomores and juniors can apply to participate in LAD. A team of faculty reviews the applications and chooses individuals based on factors such as grade-point average, availability and the ability to multitask.
“This group requires a big-time commitment. The students involved show a high level of dedication,” Seymour said. “They have to balance the group’s activities with a heavy workload.”
The delegates must stay on top of their course work, meet as often as every week and attend workshops. In addition to all of this, they also find time to do meaningful volunteer work.
“One of the most rewarding projects we participated in was helping a young girl with a serious nerve disease whose only real relief was being able to swim in her backyard pool. There was an erosion problem around the pool area, so we stepped in to help out,” Kelly said. “We designed and planted a landscape to help keep the soil intact, and she could continue her regular pool therapy.”
Seymour said students get a real sense of pride when being a part of LAD.
“They are really proud of the work they do and want to help diversify the program and create more interest in their chosen fields of work,” he said. “The benefits of participating are long-term.”