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UM Student Housing Day of Service Benefits L-O-U Community

UM Student Housing Day of Service volunteer Giovanni Lavermicocca Ciccone examines a large earthworm he unearthed while weeding in the Oxford Boys and Girls Club garden. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications
UM Student Housing Day of Service volunteer Giovanni Lavermicocca Ciccone examines a large earthworm he unearthed while weeding in the Oxford Boys and Girls Club garden. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Unfazed by severe thunderstorms that moved through the area much of the day, 138 University of Mississippi students visited several local organizations Friday afternoon (Aug. 7) to help beautify facilities and assist staff members with their duties.

The UM Student Housing Day of Service involved all community assistants-in-training in volunteer efforts around the Lafayette-Oxford-University community. Organizations participating in the annual event included the Oxford Police Department, Oxford Park Commission, Lake Stephens United Methodist Camp, North Mississippi Regional Center, U.S. Corps of Engineers at Sardis Lake, Veterans Administration Home, Oxford Boys and Girls Club, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Hermitage Gardens Assisted Living Facility, Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County.

“This is our third year that we will have done a day of service as a community assistant team,” said Scott Oliver, UM assistant director of student housing-residential learning. “We started it the year that we instituted the residential curriculum because service is one of the common strategies that we believe supports engaged scholarship and responsible citizenship. We ask out our community assistants to both know the way and also to show the way.”

This is the second year that UM has partnered with Volunteer Oxford to coordinate events and activities. Ten teams, led by two student leaders each, participated in such scheduled activities as posting signs, picking up trash, planting flowers, weeding gardens, playing Bingo, dancing, stuffing envelopes and painting both fences and fingernails.

Some of the CAs said that the Day of Service is more than just a welcome departure from their summer leisure.

“This program has really shown me the importance of community service,” said Jalen Neal, a senior political science major from Shaw. “The Day of Service impacts the people in the community, and it also shows us as students just what a positive difference we can make in the world surrounding us while we’re yet in school.”

Christian Robinson, a pharmacy student in his first year of the professional program, agreed.

“Last year was amazing,” said Robinson, of Atlanta. “As we CAs went to a local nursing home, we really bonded. Seeing how much it meant to the residents for us to spend time with them was a truly great experience. I anticipate this year’s will be even better.”

Emily Schneider, a junior from Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in integrated marketing communications, said the event is another way for her to connect with the close-knit student housing community.

“We’re really like a family,” said Schneider, who moved to Memphis from her native New Jersey. “Volunteering in the community is nice because it allows me to give back to the town that has embraced and welcomed me.”

A Boys and Girls Club representative said the presence and work of UM student volunteers definitely contributes to the program’s success.

“We’re very fortunate to have UM students to voluntarily work with us,” said Amy Goodin, unit director. “Because the university and Oxford are so integrated, it really means a lot. We’re very thankful for the help.”

Courtesy of Edwin Smith and the Ole Miss News Desk

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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