HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi’s Big Event community volunteer project will be done a bit differently this year.
Instead of the traditional one-day effort, the 2021′s event will be spread out over five days from March 22-26.
USM’s Student Government Association and the Center for Community Engagement partner for the event each year, as volunteers participate in service projects at different sites in and around the Hattiesburg area, as well as the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
Hannah Khan, a junior from Meridian, is a member of the Student Government Association’s cabinet and director of the 2021 Big Event. She talks about how the Big Event team decided to make a change in strategy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We thought that having a five-day event would be the best way to get students involved, while also following COVID-19 guidelines and keeping the student body and everyone at different sites safe,” Khan said. “We also felt this was a way to get as many students as possible involved. We understand that some students go home over the weekend or use the weekend as a time to focus on self-care and take a break from all of the challenges that come from going to college during a global pandemic. Thus, by having a week-long event, it allows students to volunteer at a time that is convenient for them by offering multiple options throughout the week.”
Below are the scheduled volunteer work sites in the Hattiesburg area for this year’s Big Event:
- Habitat for Humanity of the Pine Belt
- Christain Services
- Christian Services Thrift Store
- The Family Y of Southeast Mississippi
- Southern Pines Animal Shelter
- Edward Street Fellowship Food Pantry
- Oseola McCarty Development Center
- Freedman’s Bureau (a virtual volunteer opportunity)
Southern Miss has participated in The Big Event since 2010, which is also held at other colleges and universities across the country during which university volunteers take part in service projects for local communities.
Khan’s Big Event team are listed as follows:
- MarQuan Lewis – Co-director
- Taylor Boykin – Co-director
- Amanda Jo Ladner – Advisor, Communications Branch of SGA
- Auburn Ansley- Executive Director of events of SGA Cabinet
Khan stresses that community volunteer projects like the Big Event give students an opportunity to represent the University in a unique way.
“I believe that it is so important for students to serve because it not only allows students to have a new level of respect for our campus, university, and community by letting us go out, working hands-on to make this community the best it possibly can be, but it also gives us all a chance to give back to a place that gives us so much,” said Khan. “The City of Hattiesburg is a very special place. Every business, establishment, and person is so incredibly supportive of the student body here, and I feel that one way we can show appreciation for all their love and support is by volunteering and coming together as one.”