May 27, 2019  

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Southern Miss and EPA Revise Collaborative Partnership to Include Gulf Park Campus

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The University of Southern Mississippi and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program (EPA GMP) recently amended a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to include cooperation with the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

First signed in June 2015 by USM President Rodney D. Bennett and Diane Altsman, EPA GMP chief of staff, the original MOU formalized a partnership between both entities and provided environmental education opportunities for students at the University’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs.

Indicating a need to extend its reach to the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, the MOU was revised to establish terms and conditions for sharing, basing and maintaining EPA laboratory equipment at the University’s Science Building. The MOU amendment specifies Southern Miss and EPA GMP will collaborate on studies and analyses in a shared research space to be known as the Gulf Community Environmental Laboratory (Lab).

“The expansion of this MOU to the Gulf Park campus will not only be beneficial to both USM and the EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program, it will also be valuable to our Gulf Coast communities, allowing our entities to collaborate on issues affecting our local ecosystems,” said Dr. Steve Miller, vice president for the Gulf Park campus.

According to the MOU, the Lab is expected to benefit all parties by providing Southern Miss and EPA GMP the opportunity to partner and conduct research and studies on issues of concern affecting coastal communities. Both parties will be able to complete valuable work that improves quality of life and environmental health in watersheds and communities; solve local issues by using state-of-the-art equipment; conduct studies and co-author papers; and partake in collaborative efforts to solve environmental issues impacting communities served by USM and EPA GMP.

It is also anticipated that primary and secondary schools will benefit from laboratory teaching days where students will be exposed to environmental science, falling under Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related programs. Activities under the MOU will include guest lectures, a student-shadowing program, research opportunities, and outreach and engagement programs for the Gulf Park campus.

For more information on the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus, visit usm.edu/gulfcoast.