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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES REACH OUT TO IMPROVE COMMUNITIES, TOUCH LIVES OF CITIZENS

12/9/2022 - Jackson, Miss.

The impact of the public universities in Mississippi can be felt beyond the campuses and even beyond the communities in the state that host the institutions. Students, faculty and staff participate in community service projects that benefit children and adults living in the area and beyond. University labs are solving Mississippi's most pressing problems and finding ways to help Mississippians lead healthier, more productive lives.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center's students and faculty operate the Jackson Free Clinic, which has stood in the medical care gap for patients in need of treatment for 20 years. The clinic has given hundreds of students a chance to get up every Saturday morning and help the underserved in Jackson. Students, with support of UMMC faculty, volunteer to provide medical, dental, and psychiatric services, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to uninsured patients.

During Dental Mission Week, hundreds of Mississippians, many of them veterans, receive care ranging from routine cleaning to more complex work requiring return trips. An annual staple since 2017, Dental Mission Week is a joint effort involving volunteers from the schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Medicine, along with dental students and residents, dental hygiene students, and volunteer dentists and staff from local practices.

The annual See, Test and Treat Screening program, which seeks to lower deaths from breast, cervical and oral cancers and educate participants, provides free screenings to women. UMMC's Cancer Center and Research Institute and the College of American Pathologists Foundation host the event.

Also, UMMC and its partner institutions Tougaloo College, Jackson State University and the Mississippi Department of Health together operate the Jackson Heart Study, the nation's largest long-term study of cardiovascular and related diseases in African-Americans.

Delta State University's Delta Educational Opportunity Center is increasing the awareness of postsecondary educational opportunities available to low-income and economically disadvantaged adults. To date, nearly 800 participants from 12 Delta counties have been serviced by the Center.

Delta State University's Collective Impact Accelerated Initiative-Save The Children program is working to build community infrastructure to support children? in Quitman County. The program has a target goal to ensure all students obtain 3rd grade proficiency in Reading.

Delta State University's GEAR UP grant was one of only 27 programs funded nationally. The $15 million college-readiness grant awarded to Delta State University by the U.S. Department of Education will assist more than 2,700 Mississippi Delta students in the sixth and seventh grades and on through college. The Mississippi Delta GEAR UP program is a partnership among nine local school districts, Delta State, Mississippi Delta Community College, the Foundation for the Mid-South, the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, the Casey Family Programs, Tutor.com/Princeton Review, and Vela Institute. The federally funded, seven-year initiative will provide students with support services, including tutoring, academic counseling, dual-enrollment opportunities, career development, financial literacy and professional development.

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Delta State University provides students with professional knowledge, values and skills for generalist social work practice by creating an environment that offers value-oriented learning that emphasizes self-assessment, service to community, self-determination, social justice and respect for diversity. Delta State's BSW curriculum is designed to educate and develop a professional social worker who, consistent with the values and ethics of the social work profession, can provide direct services to individuals, advance human rights and advocate for social and economic justice.

Delta State University works to build relationships that strengthen communities in the Mississippi Delta. Many community development activities are administered by Delta State's Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED). The CCED was established in August 1994 to address major development issues facing the region. Under the auspices of Delta State's College of Business and Aviation, current CCED programs include the Delta Educational Opportunity Center, The Women Minority Business Development Center, Gaining Early Awareness Readiness Undergraduate Program (GEAR-UP), the Breast Education and Early Detection Project (BEEP), the Delta Proud Youth Initiative, and the Collective Impact Accelerated Initiative-Save the Children. The Center pursues excellence in its programs and activities as it seeks to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the Delta. To learn more, visit www.deltastate.edu/cced.

The nation's first community design center with a focus on small town issues, Mississippi State University's Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center works to enhance community growth and development as a consultant for small towns, providing affordable planning and design services for communities with limited resources. For more than three decades, the center has partnered with Tupelo's CREATE Foundation to research issues and provide solutions in small-scale towns such as Aberdeen, Amory, Baldwyn, Calhoun City, Corinth, Ecru, Fulton, Houston, New Albany, New Houlka, Okolona, Pontotoc, Ripley, Shannon, Sherman and Taylor. The Carl Small Town Center was among the agencies which created the Mississippi Main Street program, helping to revitalize downtown areas through architectural preservation and economic development opportunities.

Building on its historic military roots, MSU has long been recognized as one of the nation's most veteran-friendly universities. Including dependents, the veteran community at MSU now comprises more than 3,300 students, bringing the university three consecutive years of national recognition as a Top 10 Military Friendly School by VIQTORY Armed Forces Media. Students are served by MSU's G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans at Nusz Hall and a network of specially trained university personnel. Brian Locke, MSU's veteran and military affairs director, this year became one of only 22 nationwide named a "Veteran Champion of the Year in Higher Education" by G.I. Jobs magazine for his support of MSU's military-affiliated students through job, education and transition assistance.

Since 2010, Mississippi State University has been recognized nationally for its commitment to community engagement—through teaching, research and public service—with the Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification. The university's Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, as well as the Maroon Volunteer Center, coordinate more than 5,500 students each year for campus service opportunities, service-learning activities and community volunteerism efforts. Habitat for Humanity home builds, mobile veterinary clinics, tutoring at the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service are just a few of the opportunities for MSU students to take real action in improving the lives of Mississippians.

Mississippi State's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, established in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, provides architectural design services, landscape and planning assistance, educational opportunities and research to communities and organizations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. GCCDS works through close, practical partnerships in and beyond the state's three coastal counties, putting professional expertise to work in addressing issues of housing, public space and neighborhood development. A part of the MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design, the GCCDS also cultivates solutions in coastal resiliency and sustainable development.

Mississippi University for Women is not confined by geographic boundaries. It serves its communities through programs and partnerships, both locally and globally. Students, faculty and staff of The W provided 215,575 hours of community service in 2021.

NursingProcess.org recognized The W for having three of the state's best nursing programs. The W's Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), BSN and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs all were ranked No. 1 in the state of Mississippi for 2022. The W's nursing program offers outstanding educational programs designed to meet the lifestyles and demands of today's diverse student. Student advancement through each program provides opportunities for development of life-long learning and application of inclusive principles.

The College of Nursing at The W was founded in 1971 and has produced thousands of graduates who have successfully moved into the nursing workforce and are impacting the profession of nursing in Mississippi, the United States and the world.

Mississippi Valley State University is helping to solve the state's most pressing problems through its Master of Arts Program in Rural Public Policy which is a unique program that provides a wealth of knowledge from faculty members who are experts in their fields. The program is a two-year program that prepares students to grasp complicated public problems and craft precise solutions, especially for rural communities. During the two-years, students can choose a concentration area like: Agricultural Policy?, Nonprofit Policy, Rural Health Policy, and Social and Economic Policy.

The W's College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers outstanding educational programs designed to meet the lifestyles and demands of today's diverse student.  Student advancement through each program provides opportunities for development of life-long learning and application of inclusive principles.

"LIVE FOR SERVICE" is more than just our motto; it's a way of life! Among Mississippi Valley State University's most impressive points of pride is its Community Service/Service-Learning through which students assist communities by tutoring, mentoring, and other volunteer work. Each MVSU student is required to complete service projects each semester. Boasting more than 60,000 community service hours per year since its inception in 2003, the program ensures that the students have excellent opportunities to pursue learning that reveals the truth, promotes compassionate service, and enhances their desire to participate in the creation of a more just and humane community in and around Itta Bena. Students must satisfy a minimum of 15 hours per year, for a total of 60 hours required for graduation. Transfer students are required to complete 40 hours of service. All community service activities, whether completed during the regular school year or during vacation periods, must have prior approval from the Coordinator of Community Service Learning.

M Partner at the University of Mississippi is a campuswide initiative that seeks to pair university resources with community-driven projects to improve quality of life in partner communities. To date, partner communities have included Charleston, Lexington, New Albany, Ecru and Pontotoc.

The University of Mississippi has been nationally recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its efforts to support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement. The university was among 243 institutions of higher education nationwide given the Elective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The distinction, which is valid until 2026, honors recipients for proven commitment and activity in finding ways to engage with community partners, building on community assets and addressing a wide array of community challenges.

The University of Mississippi's Bonner Leaders include select members of the freshman class who serve in high-commitment, paid internships with community nonprofit organizations. As a part of the national Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, the program recruits and supports a diverse pool of students who are committed to changing the world through service. The students undergo training to develop skills that are important in the nonprofit and public sectors, deepen their knowledge around the social and environmental issues facing Oxford and the Lafayette-Oxford-University region, and join a supportive community of peers through team building and community formation activities. Internships support local groups such as the Oxford Intermediate School, Boys & Girls Club, United Way and OxFilm. UM's Bonner Leaders Program is the first in the Southeastern Conference.

The University of Mississippi's Community First Research Center for Wellbeing and Creative Achievement, or UM: CREW, conducts community-based research and serves as a resource for Mississippi counties, cities and community groups to create, access, analyze and apply knowledge and data to improve community well-being and local and regional decision making. UM: CREW guides community organizations through research processes to help them make data-driven, evidence-based decisions about what's best for their community. The center also helps UM students and faculty with conducting community-based participatory research projects and acts as a facilitator between university researchers and Mississippi communities in need of research skills.

Mississippi Day at the University of Mississippi is an annual celebration of the state of Mississippi and the university's contributions to its culture, education, health care and economy. Mississippi Day brings together more than 70 departments on the Oxford campus offering fun and family-friendly activities and demonstrations for the community and visitors, including prospective students and their families.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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