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Published: Monday, 12/1/2008

Lourdes' students get 'passport' stamps and more for involvement

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Campus events at Lourdes College are drawing bigger crowds these days.

An innovative program attempts to liken attending a concert or planetarium show on campus to visiting a foreign country, and students gain stamps in a passport along the way.

Simply named, the Lourdes Passport Program, gives interested students a booklet resembling a passport at the beginning of a semester. The booklet lists upcoming events and provides a blank area for ones that might be scheduled later.

When students go to a listed activity, their booklet is stamped much like a passport is if visiting another country.

"The first thing they do is whip out their passport," Lisa Binkowski, Lourdes' director of student activities and recreation, said. "I think it's really cool they are connecting like that."

So what's in it for the student to use the program? Prizes, of course.

At the end of each semester a party recognizes those students with great participation. The next one is Dec. 15.

The top prize for attending at least sixteen events is three free credit hours - a $1,293 value, according to Lourdes spokesman Heather Hoffman.

Those with 11 to 15 stamps are eligible for reserved parking spaces. Seven to 10 stamps could get a student an iPod, and three to six stamps, a $50 gift card from the campus bookstore.

The event includes a raffle of other items so people don't go away empty-handed.

Lourdes handed out more than 400 passports this semester. Enrollment is about 2,228 students this fall.

Almost all events on campus are free and it doesn't take much effort to get a stamp. This is the third semester for the program, and each time, participation seems to grow, Ms. Binkowski said.

"It keeps gaining a little bit of momentum each semester," she said. "Definitely there's an increase. I've had a few students say, 'I used to just come to get the stamp, but I really like these things,' and that's what it's all about."

The program has gained the attention of other schools, such as Ohio State University, and was featured in the fall edition of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities magazine, Ms. Hoffman said.

The program is one of several things the college is doing to get students involved. Lourdes began a separate social networking Web site, lourdesworld.com, opened a new Ebeid Student Center in the lower level of Delp Hall, adopted the Gray Wolves mascot, and is planning to add competitive sports and residence halls.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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