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Southern Miss Gulf Coast Alum Reaches Out to Earthquake Victims in Haiti PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 12, 2010
Contact Charmaine Williams Schmermund, 228.865.4573   

When one of the world’s worst earthquakes on record struck Haiti early this year, Steven Johnson jumped into action through his business.

A May 2009 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Johnson is owner of the Scuba Steve line of clothing and accessories. Sold in Mississippi and Alabama, the Scuba Steve brand was built upon giving to the less fortunate, and for each Scuba Steve product sold, a t-shirt is donated to someone in need.

Through this original idea of giving locally, Johnson felt he could expand the concept by giving to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

“Most recently we have been focused on a family in Haiti whom I randomly met while they were in Gulfport rebuilding houses,” said Johnson. “When the tragedy occurred I felt it was fitting to lend a helping hand from Gulfport since they did the same for us. So far we have accumulated over 100 shirts for Haiti and it's just the ultimate feel-good purchase, knowing you are helping someone that really needs it since we have all been in that situation.”

Johnson credits his education at Southern Miss Gulf Coast for contributing to the success of his business. After earning his bachelor’s degree in management with emphasis in human resource management, Johnson was motivated to jumpstart his business by traveling to various college towns selling Scuba Steve products.

“I really learned a lot,” he said. “While you are in class, you do not understand the amount of information you are actually absorbing until you get out in the business world. I am very proud and thankful to have the educational background I received from Southern Miss Gulf Coast.”

Scuba Steve, which is Johnson’s nickname, features a variety of shirts adorned with the diver logo. Since its inception, Johnson has donated more than 1,000 shirts to those in need for what he calls the “one-for-one program.”

“My ambitions for the future and my ultimate goal are to grow the brand globally,” said Johnson. “The higher the volume we can do, the larger the footprint we can leave around the world and help more people. If a million people purchased a tee, then we could help that many people. It's mind-boggling to think about it, but the sky is the limit.”

For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.


PHOTO
: Steve Johnson (Southern Miss University Communications photo by Charmaine Schmermund)

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu/gulfcoast .
                                                                                     
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