October 23, 2014  

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Catholic Student Association Established at Gulf Park Campus

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Catholic Student Association at Southern Miss Gulf Park

The Catholic Student Association (CSA), an organization which has been an effort several years in the making, has recently been established as a chartered organization at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast.

To commemorate the occasion, CSA members recently met under the Friendship Oak to induct officers and receive a special blessing from Rev. Louis Lohan of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach. The celebration also included the unveiling of the organization’s image, designed by CSA members, which bares the resemblance of a tree in the shape of a cross featuring the letters ‘CSA’ and roots symbolizing the Friendship Oak and its strength to stand strong through many storms.

“About 10 years ago, I was approached by a former employee to look into the possibility of starting a CSA chapter at Southern Miss Gulf Coast,” said Michelle Fleming, academic advisor in the College of Business and CSA staff advisor. “It took some time for our organization to come to fruition, but I am very excited to be part of first CSA on the Gulf Park campus.

“As a member of the St. Thomas Parish, I am happy to have Rev. Lohan help us grow into a great organization for the campus and the community.”

Officers for CSA are Joanne Marks of Long Beach, president; Aaron Broussard of Biloxi, vice president; Heather Adams of Gretna, La., treasurer; and Megan Bermond of Bay St. Louis, secretary.

Although CSA did not receive their official charter until December 2011, the organization’s members participated in community service projects beginning in 2010. These projects included feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving, delivering Valentine cards to nursing home residents, and participating in the Salvation Army’s “Give a Child a New Book” campaign at Christmas.

“It is a true blessing to now have CSA on our Gulf Park campus at Southern Miss,” said Marks. “I am honored to serve as the first president and excited to have such an amazing group of people to work with as we continue to grow. We hope to be an inspiration to others as we share and represent our faith while having a positive impact on our campus and throughout our community.”

The Catholic Student Association is also the first student organization to be chartered by the new Student Organizations Council at Southern Miss Gulf Coast. “The Student Organizations Council serves as an advisory group for all student organizations who would like to be chartered and receive official recognition as a member of the University community,” said Christy Elias, coordinator of student development and leadership.

The function of the council will be to review, with the requesting organizations, all applications for chartering a student organization and then vote on whether to grant an organization its charter. The Student Organizations Council consists of faculty, staff and student representatives from the chartered student organizations at Southern Miss Gulf Coast. Once approved by the council, organization information is submitted to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for final approval.

For more information about the Catholic Student Association, contact Michelle Fleming at 228.214.3471 or email michelle.fleming@usm.edu.