On the second floor of Mouton Hall, University of Louisiana at Lafayette freshmen bartered and haggled like stockbrokers Thursday as they played a negotiation game with a poker twist.

Groups of students had to work with competing groups to make a winning hand in a game called Coalition Poker.

“Congratulations, you guys just took part in massive negotiations, which is all we’re going to be doing for the rest of the semester,” professor McKinzie Hall told a group of incoming freshmen at the end of the third round. “How important is it for you to get the good? … How hard are you going to work, or how much are you going to sacrifice? How much are you going to give up to get what you want?”

The poker game was a sneak peek for what’s in store for the students in the newly designed UNIV 100 course.

In the past, the mandatory course focused for an entire semester on student success skills such as time management and study strategies.

The new course teaches those skills in an intensive two-day session called Cajun Connection, which started Thursday and continues Friday, giving freshmen a crash course before classes begin next week.

UNIV 100 classes will continue to meet throughout the semester, focusing less on general college-life skills and more on critical thinking.

Students have nearly 60 themes from which to choose, including Remedial Binge Watching, Baby You’re a Firework!, Become Internet Famous, I’m In College — Now What?, Black Girls Rock, and Southpark and American Life.

There are also classes dealing with history, science, business and leadership.

In the Student Congress course, the first half of the semester will be devoted to learning the lawmaking process, and in the second half, students will have the opportunity to act as congressmen and pass their own pieces of legislation.

Any course with television or Internet in the title “sold out quickly,” said Jenny Faust, director of the Office of First-Year Experience. Faust is also teaching the UNIV 100 course on immortality.

“(My goal this year) is just stay on top of my grades while working and being a part of a fraternity,” said Luke Bertrand, an incoming mechanical engineering major from Gueydan.

After some initial introductions Thursday, the 3,200 freshmen gathered at the campus Quad for a welcoming ceremony that featured UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie, members of the student organization PowerfUL Poets and Ryan Teten, the political science department head.

“In the coming days, things may seem overwhelming at times,” Savoie told the students. “Trust in yourself and trust that you are in the right place.”