OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will celebrate National Volunteer Week with a slate of activities beginning Sunday (April 10).
The UM Office of the Dean of Students and Volunteer Services has teamed up with organizations such as Volunteer Oxford, the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, the Lafayette County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and AmeriCorps VISTA to create a week of volunteer opportunities and recognition.
National Volunteer Week is an initiative established by Points of Light in 1974 and is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage with their communities through service.
“This is a week full of diverse service opportunities, so that everyone on campus and in the L-O-U community can get involved,” said Kacey Schaum, UM assistant dean of students for leadership and involvement.
The week kicks off Sunday with the Sardis Lake Improvement Project, slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Planned by Volunteer Oxford in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this volunteer opportunity focuses on the maintenance of equipment and landscaping in the Hurricane Landing area.
Participants can learn more about national service Monday (April 11) at the AmeriCorps Day Service Fair and Panel. Coordinated by local AmeriCorps programs UM College Corps and the North Mississippi VISTA Project, the AmeriCorps Day Service Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ole Miss Student Union, with more than a dozen organizations available to answer questions about serving the community and country with AmeriCorps.
The AmeriCorps Panel is set for 6 to 8 p.m. in Bryant Hall, Room 209, and will include representatives from College Corps, AmeriCorps VISTA, City Year and Teach for America.
“We’re very excited to bring such a wide variety of AmeriCorps programs and opportunities to the Service Fair,” said Sylvia Stewart, North Mississippi VISTA Project leader. “We are also very happy to be having Dr. Melissa Bass, assistant professor of public policy leadership, as a speaker for the AmeriCorps Panel, as Dr. Bass has written a book on the politics of national service.”
Tuesday (April 12) is a day to “Find Your Fit.” Visit http://www.volunteeroxford.org or https://orgsync.com/login/university-of-mississippi to locate the perfect volunteer opportunity or service organization for you.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Volunteer Week will turn toward recognizing community members and students who have gone above and beyond in their service. The UM Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday (April 13) will celebrate the university’s outstanding student volunteers.
On Thursday (April 14), Lafayette County RSVP and Volunteer Oxford will host the Nonprofit Leader Recognition, a breakfast at the Oxford Activity Center. This invitation-only event will allow time to recognize the L-O-U community’s nonprofit leaders and volunteers.
Go Green on Friday (April 15) and volunteer to help make Ole Miss more sustainable. The UM Garden Workday will involve tending and harvesting the university’s garden, with the harvested crops going to the UM Food Bank, or getting your hands dirty with the Compost Sift-a-thon. Also, Students for a Green Campus need help picking up litter from their adopted highway to recycle and throw away.
“I am thrilled National Volunteer Week has dedicated an entire day for projects centered around sustainability,” said Ellen Olack, VISTA worker with the Office of Sustainability. “This is a great opportunity for students to have hands on experience with ongoing programs on campus since we’re always looking for volunteers.”
To wrap up on Saturday (April 16), volunteers can help with a school supply drive benefitting Youth Opportunities Unlimited Inc. Donated school supplies will help students in Quitman County, ensuring that they have the tools and resources needed to succeed. The drive is set for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Oxford Walmart.