Students affirm top five improvements at Nicholls

THIBODAUX – From the field house to the cafeteria, students at Nicholls State University recently declared their satisfaction with several campus upgrades since spring 2007.The results of the spring 2008 ACT Student Opinion Survey at Nicholls listed the top five improvements as follows: athletics facilities, career planning services, the campus bookstore, food services and opportunities for student employment.

Athletics Facilities

Nicholls recently installed new bleachers on the second level of Stopher Gym as well as a new backstop and bleachers at Didier Field. In addition, construction of a $500,000 soccer field house – almost wholly donated by Pipeline and Construction Maintenance Inc. of Houma – is slated for completion during the spring 2009 semester.

“These improvements and additions to our athletics facilities provide a quality atmosphere for our athletes, contributing to a developing, competitive athletics program at Nicholls,” said John Kerry, president of Student Educators and Leaders and director of student rights and grievances for the Student Government Association.

Career Planning Services

Office of Career Services Director Kristie Tauzin Goulas said the university’s career-planning marketing strategies have no doubt boosted student approval since spring 2007.

“Through class presentations and e-mails, we’ve been making a concerted effort to inform students of the services we offer, especially our online employment database where students can post their resumes and search for job opportunities,” Goulas said.

“This puts them one step closer to potential employers.”

Goulas said she appreciates the increased number of invitations from faculty members requesting classroom presentations.

Campus Bookstore

Angelle Caillouet, campus bookstore manager, said the students’ increased enthusiasm for the bookstore was almost certainly the result of the facility’s recent remodeling.

“It has a nice, fresher, newer look,” Caillouet said.

Other contributing factors included the store’s online book-ordering feature as well as the new logo and the women’s line of clothing, she said.

Food Services

David Wait, general manager of food services, said the survey results stemmed from the recent overhaul of the features and practices at campus dining facilities.

“We have a more modern, more inviting look, and our employees are now required to take a customer service training course, resulting in a much more attentive and service-oriented atmosphere,” Wait said.

The university’s decision last year to hire Richard Curtis, a certified executive chef, nutritionist and dietician, also served as a turning point, Wait said. Curtis was charged to improve the menu with southeast Louisiana cuisine as well as teach at the John Folse Culinary Institute.

Alex Barnes, president of the Student Government Association, said these actions have had a positive effect on students: “Our university’s food services have greatly improved in recent years. Not only do we now have great facilities, but the staff’s positive attitude makes it that much better.”

Student Employment

Echoing Caillouet, Rachel Babin, assistant director of financial aid for student employment, said the students’ enthusiasm regarding student employment opportunities at Nicholls is the direct result of marketing efforts.

“We started informing students of employment prospects through their student e-mail accounts,” Babin said. “This helps keep it at the forefront of their minds.”

Kerry concurred, adding that since he arrived at Nicholls, “opportunities for student employment have tremendously increased. Our university continues to implement and provide more options of employment for the student body.”