Like most other University of Southern Mississippi students, Jessica
Wilson of Bay Springs came to the Hattiesburg campus to work on
a degree, make new friends and take part in the many activities
unique to the college experience.
But she also
discovered in herself a talent for helping others because of the
opportunities presented by the Southern Miss Office of Community
Service Learning. Through service to others, Wilson, now a speech
communication graduate student, has gained a new perspective that
complements her academic program.
me more well-rounded and helped me to see the diversity we have
at Southern Miss as well as in the Hattiesburg community,"
she said. "Service-learning gave me a chance to help others
who aren't as fortunate as myself, and to possibly inspire a young
child to pursue a college education after high school."
Wilson is just
one of many Southern Miss students, faculty and staff who have contributed
much time and energy to the community through service-learning and
volunteerism. For the fall 2003 semester, students, faculty, staff,
and administration contributed 14,953 hours to the Hattiesburg community.
The number reflects hours recorded through the Office of Community
Service Learning. More hours are also served on the campus. For
2002-2003, OCSL recorded 28,000 volunteer service hours by faculty,
staff, students and administration.
www.independentsector.org, one hour of volunteer service is worth
$16.54. Therefore, Southern Miss contributed an equivalent of $247,322.62
through voluntary service hours.
Miss faculty members incorporate service-learning in their courses,
giving students opportunities to apply academic theory to their
community service projects.
engages students in hands-on learning both inside and outside the
classroom. Students pose an issue in the community in relation to
their class objectives," said Hunter Phillips, assistant director
for the Office of Community Service Learning. "They wrestle
with the challenge in light of their academic study and reach a
potential solution. Students, faculty, and community partnerships
create a ripple effect that never ends."
of Community Service Learning sponsors at least one campus-wide
service day/week per month. In the fall semester, the first-year
service plunge, female recruitment service day, and male recruitment
service day, Make a Difference Week, and National Volunteer Week
generated 3,807 service hours to local nonprofit organizations.
Though it cannot be quantified in service hours, 150 Salvation Army
angels were adopted on campus through OCSL's Salvation Army Angel
Tree in the R.C. Cook Union.
nonprofit sector considers our students and services a valuable
component of their work and programs," Phillips said. "We
look forward to a 2004 full of continued growth and service, and
measured contribution to our community."