LSU students to show local projects
Eighteen students and instructor John Campbell from the Department of Interior Design at Louisiana State University will arrive in Franklin Thursday to give final presentations of their spring semester studio project.
They are part of a service-learning program called Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership. It is a method of teaching and learning in which students fulfill the learning goals of their academic courses while serving the community.
Service learning emphasizes hands-on experiences that address real world concerns as a venue for educational growth. The projects will be evaluated for their overall creativity by a panel of judges from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lamppost on Main Street.
Members of the community are also invited to view these projects during the same time period.
Their project this semester is the former Blevins Building on the corner of Main Street and Willow Street.
This is the second time that Campbell has chosen Franklin for the service learning project. In the fall of 2009, Campbell chose Franklin for the fall studio project out of six communities that were contacted by Leon Steele from the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation.
In selecting these communities Steele’s considerations were that “the community had to have an interest and a need, have people in place who could make it beneficial for both the community and a good experience for the students, and where the students could have real access to the community (buildings, merchants, leaders) without fear or worry or attitude whether with their class or on self-initiated visits during the semester.”
When Steele started teaching at LSU in 2001, he decided that when he taught, he would avoid “fantasy projects” as often as possible and instead give the students something real they could proudly include in a portfolio while at the same time providing a community service. The classes won the students and the department much recognition. It also brought an on-going historic preservation component to the department. Those were the studios most of the students were eager to register for.
The LSU Interior Design Program ranks 13th out of about 130 accredited interior design programs in the U.S. and Canada. It differs greatly from interior decoration courses at, for example, community colleges, in that it closely parallels architecture and focuses on commercial design rather than residential, though some do pursue residential design careers.
The value of the work the LSU students have done would cost a community many thousands of dollars if contracted professionally. Needless to say, many communities in need do not have such funds in their budgets.