University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus students and employees, as well as students from local colleges, joined the university in celebrating the Big Event, a university-wide community service project held Saturday, March 22. Big Event projects spanned the Mississippi Gulf Coast as 120 volunteers worked on various projects in Bay St. Louis, Long Beach and Gulfport.
“This was a wonderful time for us to get together, get to know each other and serve our community,” said Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president for the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus. “We believe that being an educated person is being an excellent citizen, and being an excellent citizen means you give back to the community around you.”
Participating in one of four projects along the coast, students and employees assisted with exterior painting and caulking for a Habitat for Humanity home, painted offices for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, assisted with campus beautification on the university’s Gulf Park campus, and included children ages 5 – 16 in a project painting canvases used to decorate the DREAM Child Development Center of Hattiesburg.
“As a Southern Miss student, I think it’s not only important to be educated in the classroom, but to get outside and give back to the community,” said Katelyn Moran of Gulfport, an undergraduate student majoring in marketing who volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity home in Bay St. Louis.
Southern Miss computer science graduate and international student from India, Phani Veturi, said he was able to meet people from all different cultures from being a volunteer at the Big Event. “This was great fun, a nice weekend and I would love to do it again,” Venturi.
The Big Event, hosted by both the university’s Gulf Park and Hattiesburg campuses, is held each year in the spring. At the conclusion of their volunteer work, students returned to the Gulf Park campus to show their school spirit by painting helping hands on the campus’ Little Rock and to reflect on service they did for their community.
For more information on Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.