LTS Fall 2018 5x10s: Reaching out to first year students

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This year LTS offered several 5x10 sessions to First Year Students as part of the 5x10 series sponsored by the Student Affairs Office of First Year Experience. The goal of these sessions was to introduce students to topics broadly associated with LTS services.

Students got hands on with Special Collections, learned about doing undergraduate research at Lehigh, and tested their knowledge about Asa Packer in the first ever library-style escape room, Linderman Lockdown!

What’s So Special About Special Collections?

Over 150 first-year Lehigh students flooded Linderman Library’s Bayer Galleria on Friday, August 24, to explore a selection of Special Collections material drawn from Lehigh history, medicine, literature, science and technology, and travel and exploration as part of the 5x10 program, “What’s so special about Special Collections?”

Librarians and members of the Special Collections department showcased a number of the over 60,000 items in the Special Collection including manuscripts, monographs and student publications. While items that reflect the rich history of Lehigh University are a focus of both the collection and the event, attendees also got hands on with a 43-pound stiffening truss taken from the Brooklyn Bridge, a medieval choir manuscript, and a block of wood purportedly touched by George Washington.

Undergraduates Do Research!

Sometimes the best place to learn is from your fellow students. In “Undergraduates Do Research!”, a number of Lehigh juniors and seniors passed along some important tips and advice designed to help the over 25 first-year students in attendance more effectively get involved in undergraduate research.

Research “veterans” Larissa Miller, Larry Koerner, Reilly Callahan, and Matt West shared insights, lessons learned, and benefits of getting involved in research. A panel presentation was followed by small group Q &A. Some of the best pieces of advice passed on to the newer students included:

  • “Don’t be afraid to get involved in your first year!”
  • “Don’t give up on research if your first lab experience is not what you wanted.”
  • “Show your enthusiasm! Be annoying (because it’s really not annoying).
  • “Read the published research of faculty you want to work with.”
  • “Tell faculty YOUR interests and how their research fits your goals.”

First-year students in attendance provided uniformly positive feedback, with some noting they had not even been aware they could engage in research yet, especially outside of their declared major.

Linderman Lockdown!

Over 20 first-year students put their puzzle-solving skills to the test with Linderman Lockdown, our first ever library-style escape room!

The live-adventure game challenged students to find their way out of a “sinkhole” like the one formed on campus last winter before their air ran out. After a greeting from Asa Packer, a series of themed questions and hidden clues tested students’ research skills, including their ability to locate historical government documents, use the library catalog, and follow citation trains to track down academic sources.

The trick? Students had only 60 minutes to make it out. After finally escaping, one student commented, “We actually had some of the right answers early on, but thought, ‘No, that can’t be it!’ So it took us way longer.” They could use phones, laptops, and any online sources they wanted, but all relied on some Lehigh Library resources - and the clues in the room - to get through the questions.

Good news! All six groups made it out, with the quickest escaping in just 24 minutes and the final group solving the puzzle with one minute to spare!