Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Program

Program Overview

The Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholars program prepares Ogden Honors College students for leadership roles in Louisiana, particularly in the fields of public service, social justice, and environmental sustainability. To be eligible, students must be admitted to the honors college and must complete an interview process in the first semester of their freshman or sophomore year.

Open to all majors, the LASAL program mirrors the Ogden Honors College curriculum and provides academic courses and practical experience that supplement and enhance any field of study. LASAL was created to involve select Ogden Honors College students in ongoing efforts to find solutions to Louisiana issues such as coastal wetlands loss and chronic poverty. LASAL courses, events, and travel are designed to take advantage of the honors college’s access to cutting-edge research opportunities at LSU, to local non-profits and policy-makers, and to Louisiana's unique culture and environments.

LASAL courses emphasize a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving and research applied to real-world issues, workplace experience and discovery. The curriculum culminates in the honors thesis, through which LASAL students research and offer solutions to a specific long-term Louisiana issue that is relevant to their major or field of study. 

The LASAL curriculum puts its students on a clear path to graduate with College Honors (one of LSU's highest distinctions, and only available to Honors College students) — a path that also allows students to gain real-world experience and help improve the lives of Louisiana citizens.


LASAL is an Ogden Honors College program designed to produce leaders who are ready to use their knowledge and experience to help change Louisiana. No other college or university in the nation has a program like LASAL, which empowers students to solve chronic, local problems. If you want to make a difference, if you want to work and study with a group of students who care about the future of Louisiana, then apply to become a LASAL Scholar in October of your first semester at LSU.

What is a LASAL Scholar?

LASAL Scholars are a select group of Ogden students who are passionate about solving Louisiana's problems, from coastal erosion to poverty, education to health care. They are passionate about social justice and serving their community. LASAL Scholars may pursue any major because the program of study compliments any major. 

Life as a LASAL Scholar

You will participate in a program with three parts: classes, community engagement, and research.

The program's required classes (Critical Analysis and Social Responsibility, The State of Louisiana, Louisiana Politics, Louisiana History), taken during the freshman and sophomore years, will help you understand the most important challenges facing Louisiana. Later, you will use this foundation to investigate these problems in more detail, using elective classes and internships.

Your mission: identify a specific problem you want to analyze and solve — a mission supported and deepened by the community engagement of the LASAL program. You will meet community leaders during "Sundays in the Salon" and participate with your colleagues in field trips and service projects. In your junior year, your LASAL Internship will help you refine your mission and focus on the final part of your LASAL experience: research.

During your senior year, working with a faculty mentor, you will write and defend a thesis. Your thesis is an original work of scholarship devoted to solving a specific Louisiana problem, and it is the culmination of your LASAL and Honors College education.

Recent theses have focused on homelessness, predatory lending to the poor, public funding and indigent patient care, welfare policy, and disaster relief planning. 


LASAL Scholars take an annual field trip to LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium) in Cocodrie, Louisiana, where they spend a weekend studying the effects of erosion on barrier islands and the loss of coastal wetlands. Scholars also work with local organization in Baton Rouge to tutor at-risk children, and with community leaders and students in Tensas Parish to build a more vibrant community.

The Application Process

Apply to be a LASAL Scholar in the fall semester of your freshman or sophomore year. Recruitment takes place at Spring Invitational and at informational meetings during the fall semester. The application process includes a service resume and a short essay — and culminates in a personal interview. LASAL Scholars are normally selected by October 15 of their freshman or sophomore year. If you are interested in becoming a LASAL Scholar, please contact Dr. Granger Babcock at fbabco1@lsu.edu.