USM's "Big Event" teaches students about community service - - The News for South Mississippi

USM's "Big Event" teaches students about community service

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The University of Southern Mississippi wants students to know that getting a college education includes more than what they learn in a classroom. On Saturday, students, faculty, and staff from the Gulf Coast campus volunteered their time at a Habitat For Humanity site in Biloxi.

USM graduate student Trisha Causey is majoring in political science. She says when she picked up a paint brush for Habitat For Humanity, she better understood the lessons she'd been studying in school.

"In the classroom we're learning in the books. And this is chance to go out into the community and see what we're learning and how it affects real people," said Causey.

This year Southern Miss marks 100 years of educating the community and to celebrate, the university organized a series of community service project called the Big Event.

 "A lot of universities across the country do this. We decided that we wanted to give back to the community," Professor Ken Zantow said. "This was really a way to involve faculty, staff and students. It's primarily a student event, and it's happening both on the Gulf Coast and in Hattiesburg."

Zantow says it's part the university's responsibility to encourage students to get involved in what happens in their communities.

"College graduates become the leaders of our cities, the leaders of our towns," said Zantow. "It's important for them, at an early age, to see how truly valuable they are and what a good feeling it is to be able to do something for others."

Causey said, "Just getting students, faculty and staff all together to give back to the community gives students a chance to see their professors outside of the class and vice versa. Build upon the relationships that we have in the university setting."

USM officials say about 50 students, faculty and staff from the Gulf Coast campus volunteered.

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