Division of Student Affairs
Division of Student Affairs
Together, We S.O.A.R!
SERVE historically underserved populations
Encourage ACCEPTANCE of differences
Ensure REPRESENTATION is at the forefront of service
|The Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement is the core of Inclusive Excellence. The office provides transformative experiences to foster the growth and development of historically underserved communities. As advocates for institutional and cultural change, we promote a supportive and inclusive community for professional and personal development by cultivating globally aware citizens.||We strive to be the regional model by enhancing the collegiate experience of historically underserved students through intentional student involvement, community, and civic engagement, as well as diversified and inclusive focused programming.|
Impact Community Work-Study Program
The IMPACT Community Work-Study Program provides opportunities for USM students to connect with the Pinebelt community, increase their civic engagement, and career readiness. Work-study eligible students are placed at Non-Profit and Community sites as part of their work-study job. IMPACT employees work up to 20 hours per week, with jobs ranging from teaching assistant to service ambassador.
Students is the IMPACT program meet regularly with program administrators to discuss how their experiences are connected to their academic studies, their understanding of larger societal issues, and their plans for the future.
To be eligible for the IMPACT program, USM students must be awarded Federal Work-Study through the USM Financial Aid office. They also need to have their own transportation to get to their community site.
Students can determine work-study eligibility by checking their SOAR accounts or by checking with USM Financial Aids. Students must have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before the Financial Aid office can determine eligibility. Members should be able to commit to at least 10 hours per week.
Alternative Service Break Program/ ASB Social Convos
The Alternative Service Break (ASB) program is a unique learning experience in which students travel to different region, perform meaningful service, and explore an area’s culture and history. During the trips, team members participate in a variety of cultural, educational, recreational and reflective activities to enhance their service experience. Teams focus on hunger, poverty, public health awareness, youth education and empowerment, LGBTQIA+, and civil rights and environmental issues.
Service activities are combined with reflection and education that challenge student to develop the leadership, teamwork and problems solving skills necessary to become real advocates of change.
Civic Engagement Programming
Changemakers is a series of programs and workshops that assist students in finding their voice civically. Includes panel discussions (i.e. State of Activism, Local & State Elections, Fraud & Election), workshops (i.e. Advocacy in the Legislature) and Civic Action Days—a 10 campus wide voter registration effort.
Black & African Heritage Month
This is an annual celebration of achievements by Black & African Americans and a time for recognizing the significant role of African Americans in U.S. and Southern Miss history. During the celebration, students are awarded scholarships through essay contests, student lectures and speeches. The Office of IME sponsors the university’s Black & African Heritage Month programming during the month of February, the office collaborates with student organizations and campus partners to develop a month of cultural programming.
Let’s talk is a series of dialogues that allows our office to address diverse topics around LGBTQIA+ issues/awareness, identity, mental health, leadership, advocacy, and networking. We discuss topics related to historically underserved populations as it relates to campus community. (LGBTQIA+ issues/awareness (Trans 101), Mental Health in the AA community, Leadership, importance of advocacy/networking).
Kennard Scholars Program
The Kennard Scholars Program offers a variety of resources to aid students in their ability to pay for college, personal and academic development, and the pursuit of a university degree. Each Kennard Scholar receives an $800 scholarship, a mentor, life skills training, and the opportunity to participate in active learning experiences. The Kennard Scholars Program curriculum is a roadmap to assist in the development of skills necessary to succeed.
The Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Eddie A. Holloway, established the Kennard Scholars Program in 2014 in honor of Mr. Clyde Kennard, the first African American to attempt to enroll at The University of Southern Mississippi. In recognition of this history-making attempt, the Kennard Scholars Program helps eligible students become and remain successful scholars and future graduates at the University.
Freshman Class XXL
Beginning in 2021, the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement released its annual "Freshman Class" list. The list features ten students-to-watch, all appearing on the IME Newsletter and Wall of Frame. The list is meant to highlight multicultural students that identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native, Black/African American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latinx, or Multiracial or who have participated in a federally funded Educational Talent Search, TRIO, Upward Bound or Kennard Scholars program. Students will also demonstrate academic potential in ways that go beyond class ranking or test scores.
The Freshman Class list aims to enhance the USM undergraduate experience by creating significant marketing buzz among students with positive reinforcement for inclusive excellence, civic engagement, and cultural competence.
Celebrations of / Days of Service
IME offers four large-scale celebrations of service each year. These volunteer opportunities
available to USM students, faculty, and staff and occur at various times during the
The first event is our Welcome Week Service Activity during the First Week of School in late August/ early September. The second major service activity is during the week of Homecoming. In January, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the MLK Day of Service as part of the campus wide MLK Celebration.
The Big Event is collaborative effort between our office and a committee of campus partners to create a weeklong celebration of service for the Pinebelt. Days of Service/ Celebrations of Service (weeklong activities are an opportunity for the campus to come together and build upon the great service performed throughout the year by the USM community.
Service Nights are monthly on-campus service events provided by the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. Coordinated by our Eagle Service Ambassadors, these activities provide an opportunity for students to engage in service together without the need to leave campus. It removes barriers to student service created by lack of transportation.
Service Projects include Dog toys for Southern Pines Animal Shelter, Blankets for the Homeless, Stuff Bears for Child Patients, creating little free libraries, making hygiene kits for the homeless, etc.
The IME Volunteer fair is a Non-Profit and Community partners fair that brings the community to campus for students to see the various volunteer opportunities that they can participate in and for them to learn about the ways that they can make an impact in their community.
Kente Graduation Ceremony
The University of Southern Mississippi Kente Celebration is an event which recognizes, acknowledges, appreciate, and celebrates the educational achievements of our students within the African Diaspora. We aim to celebrate academic excellence of our graduates, while affirming their identities and cultures.
Purpose: Our purpose is to share and celebrate their heritage, individual accomplishments, and accomplishments of the entire graduating class as they transition into the professional world. Students receive a hand-woven Kente stole from Ghana, Africa. The Kente stole cloth dates to 12th century Africa, Ghana, and the Ashanti people. The cloth, traditionally worn by Kings, Queens, and influential figures in Ghana’s society during ceremonial occasions. The Kente Ceremony is open to ALL graduating Black and African American seniors and graduate students graduating in the Fall/Spring semester. Our goal is to empower our students to be their authentic selves and encourage them to pursue their dreams as they receive recognition walking across the stage.
Succeeding While Achieving Greatness (SWAG) is a college preparation program that is designed to facilitate a smooth transition into university life while allowing students to develop the academic skills and personal responsibility necessary to ensure success at the university level. This program caters to first year historically underserved students and transfer students succeed while at Southern Miss. The program format is designed to cover topics not discussed during traditional orientation. We cover topics but not limited to civility, dress code, budgeting refunds, etc.
Celebration of Scholastic Excellence (COSE)
This program is done in partnership with the Afro-American Student Organization. This program recognizes the accomplishments of our African American students and student leaders. We pay tribute to historical trailblazers who have paved the way for historically underserved students past and present.
Black Faculty, Staff, and Student Mixer
This is a social event held in partnership with the Black Faculty Staff Alliance. This event connects historically underrepresented students' network, build connections, and fellowship with faculty and staff at USM. This serves as an opportunity for students, Black administrators, and faculty to focus on issues that Black students and employees face at USM. This event is traditionally, held during September, at the height of the semester.
International and Diversity Education Week (I.D.E.W.)
Held in collaboration with Study Abroad, English Language Institute and Center for International Studies. This event provides the campus with a weeklong opportunity to engage and interact with International and domestic students. As a result, students are given the opportunity to engage with various cultures. Programming includes, Study Abroad Fair, British Tea, International Diversity Fair, and International and Diversity Luncheon.
Homeless Awareness Week
This interactive teaching demonstration creates awareness of poverty and food distribution. A meal is provided during which everyone eats in proportion to the way food is distributed throughout the world. By experiencing world conditions, participants gain a better understanding of the disparity of food and wealth distribution.
Second Chance Prom (PRISM Event)
This event gives students in the LGBTQIA+ community the opportunity to attend prom without restrictions. This formal event mimics high school prom in that it includes a “pride walk”, dinner, formal attire, a DJ and photobooth. This event caters to the LGBTQIA+ population and allies. Students are not limited in gender expression nor are they limited in date choice. Students who are in attendance feel welcomed.
Rainbow Graduation (PRISM)
Rainbow Graduation is annual graduation ceremony, like the Kente graduation, recognizing and honoring LGBTQIA+ and ally students and acknowledge their accomplishments and contributions. Our goal is to provide a venue to demonstrate the success in an intimate and celebratory way. Students are given a rainbow stole that can be worn during commencement and serves as a visual representation that the university supports all students and their unique identities.
PRIDE Day at Spirit Day (PRISM)
A fun, social evening of all things PRIDE. Can encompass, Drag shows, games, parade, food. We want to provide an on-campus “Pride” experience for students to attend and broadcast their talent.
National Coming Out Day (PRISM)
National Coming out Day is held nationally on October 11th. The Office of IME celebrates students, faculty, and staff on their courage to be their authentic selves. This Celebration varies and serves as an outlet for students to connect and gain peer and institution support.
This day long, conference is done in partnership with the Men of Excellence. This event targets men of all backgrounds to come together for a common cause, Brotherhood. This interactive summit includes interactive programming in a manner that is relatable to students and supports the retention efforts of the university.
This 2-hour LGBTQIA+ Sensitivity training provides foundational knowledge for faculty, staff and students across campus. Campus ALLIES promote inclusivity and create safe spaces for members in the LGBTQIA+ community and allies.
Get Connected Training
The IME Office conducts Get Connected trainings for Student Organizations and individual students to assist them in understanding how to Report their Volunteer Service hours in our new Volunteer software system.
Student Development Training (Internal)
Officer Transition and Student Leader Training is used to help develop students both personally and professionally. We teach students skills necessary to succeed following college. We cover time/risk management, conflict resolution, purposeful programming and finally, leadership development.
From anti-racism to implicit bias, our diversity and inclusion trainings will help foster a safer and more inviting environment for students, faculty, and staff. We offer numerous trainings ranging from but not limited to difficult conversations (Carefrontation), cultural competence, and microaggressions.
The PRISM LGBTQIA+ Resource Center serves as a hub for LGBTQIA+ initiatives on campus. Our office provides students with a safe space for faculty, staff, appointed professionals, students, alumni, parents, and guests of all gender identities/expression and sexual orientations. We provide and support our campus community with educational resources, training opportunities, and sensitivity & awareness programs to accommodate the intersecting identities within our Southern Miss community.
We live in a world where identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning is often responded to with negativity. Because of this, safe spaces are needed to seek support and understanding. The Southern Miss ALLIES is a network of faculty, staff and students willing to be visibly supportive and affirming of Southern Miss students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. ALLIES seek to foster a campus climate in which community members, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression may feel safe, supported and respected. There are currently over 250 Southern Miss ALLIES on campus.
It’s easy to support the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement with this online form.
In the form, simply select “Give to the Area of Your Choice” under the Designations heading to activate a pop-up box where you’ll find Student Affairs options located in the section labeled General.
To ensure your gift is allocated properly, please note in the Special Instructions section the department or fund you’d like to receive your contribution.
Thank you for your interest in contributing! The Division of Student Affairs employs over 200 full-time staff members, nearly 500 student employees, and hundreds of student organization members who together work toward developing healthy, connected, and learning-focused students and communities at Southern Miss. Your gift allows us to ensure that more Southern Miss students access and benefit from the life-changing opportunity of well-rounded transformative collegiate experiences.
Tegi Jenkins- Rimmer