North Mississippi VISTA Project Hosts Donation Drive for Veterans

OXFORD, Miss. – In honor of the Sept. 11 Day of Service, the North Mississippi VISTA project is hosting a communitywide donation drive for the veterans in residence at the State Veterans Home in Lafayette County.

The Volunteers in Service to America project encourages community members to donate items requested by the State Veterans Home, including wheelchair bags, headphones, acrylic paint and art supplies, black ink pens and stationery supplies, Kleenex, and candy. Donations will be accepted during normal business hours at the Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer Oxford and the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County.

The drive is ongoing through Sept. 22.

The North Mississippi VISTA Project sponsors 18 organizations throughout north Mississippi and the Delta. VISTA members commit to one year of indirect service where they focus on building sustainable capacity within community-based organizations.

“The Days of Service allow our VISTAs several chances to join direct service efforts throughout the year,” says VISTA leader Edy Dingus. “We hoped that this drive would highlight the importance of impactful service by connecting our community to our VISTAs and our veterans.”

The VISTA Donation Drive for Veterans is just one of the scheduled activities offered through Volunteer Oxford and community partners in honor of the Sept. 11 Day of Remembrance.

For more information about the drive or the North Mississippi VISTA Project, contact VISTA leaders Shannon Curtis and Edy Dingus at VISTA@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2397.

Annual Program Educates Students on Sexual Health and Related Topics

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, Office of Violence Prevention and Office of Health Promotion are co-sponsoring Sex EDxtravaganza, a program on sexual health, consent, gender identities and healthy relationships, on Sept. 11-13.

The event will focus on three goals: decreasing sexually transmitted diseases, preventing sexual violence and decreasing gender-related violence, all important topics for college-aged adults.

On Monday (Sept. 11), student organization FEMISS will host a screening of the documentary “Jackson,” which follows three women in a debate about women’s health and the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. The film by Maisie Crow debuted in 2016, winning numerous awards at film festivals. The screening begins at 6 p.m. in Lamar Hall, Room 129, and a discussion will follow.

The Office of Violence Prevention and Rebels Against Sexual Assault will co-sponsor a Consent Carnival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 12) in the Circle. The goal is to educate students about affirmative consent by playing games and talking with peer educators.

The observance closes out with Wellness Wednesday: Sexual Health Education, sponsored by the Office of Health Promotion, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Galtney-Lott Plaza. The event will serve as a respectful approach to sexual health and sexual relationships, with the goal of engaging students to make informed choices regarding sexual health. Education and campus resources will be available.

For more information, visit http://sarahisomcenter.org/sex-edxtravaganza/.

Southern Studies Center Sets Slate of Fall Brown Bag Lectures

Free series explores region through lenses of art, music and social change

OXFORD, Miss. – The fall Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture series begins this week at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

Most lectures are scheduled for noon Wednesdays in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory, Room 105. They are free and open to the public.

The schedule begins Wednesday (Aug. 30) with “Brotherhood and Brotherhoodism: Studying Family Problems in the Twentieth Century South,” presented by Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and an Ole Miss professor of history.

Other lectures in the series are:

  • Sept. 21 – “Mississippi in the Work of Sherwood Bonner,” presented by Katie McKee, McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and UM associate professor of English. Lecture will be in the Department of Archives and Special Collections of the J.D. Williams Library.
  • Sept. 27 – “El Sur Latino: Migration, Identity and Incorporation,” by Simone Delerme, McMullan Assistant Professor of Southern Studies and UM assistant professor of anthropology.
  • Oct. 4 – “Introducing the Do Good Fund Exhibit,” by David Wharton, UM director of documentary studies and assistant professor of Southern studies, and Brooke White, UM associate professor of art.
  • Oct. 19 – “A Screening of ‘An Outrage’ and Conversation with Filmmakers,” by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, co-directors of Field Studio in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Oct. 25 – “‘That’s for the White Folks’: Race, Culture, and (Un)Making Place in the Rural South,” by Brian Foster, UM assistant professor of sociology and Southern studies.
  • Nov. 1 – “A Discussion of ‘Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition,'” by Adam Gussow, UM associate professor of English and Southern studies.
  • Nov. 8 – “Bobbie Gentry’s Odes to Mississippi,” by Kristine McCusker, of the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Nov. 15 – “Politics and Poetics: Writing about the Twentieth-Century Appalachian South,” by Jessie Wilkerson, UM assistant professor of history and Southern studies.

MDA Entrepreneur Center Presents 2017 Fall Webinar Series

McLean Institute partnering with organization to boost business profiles around the state

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Development Authority’s Entrepreneur Center 2017 Fall Webinar Series kicks off at noon Sept. 12 with “Financing Your New Business,” led by George Broadstreet, Renasant Bank community outreach specialist.

The series is designed to help entrepreneurs boost their business profile in communities around the state. The webinars, presented in partnership with the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, are designed especially for entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to work with MDA and the Entrepreneur Center through the webinar series,” said J.R. Love, project manager for the institute’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development initiative. “The webinars provide our CEED students and community partners throughout Mississippi relevant information as they seek to start and strengthen their own business.”

Nash Nunnery, project manager for the Entrepreneur Center and host for the webinar series, agreed.

“We are happy to partner with the McLean Institute on our 2017 Fall Webinar Series featuring an outstanding lineup of presenters,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is booming in Mississippi, and these webinars are designed to enlighten and inform both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in our state.”

UM alumna Mary Blessey said she is looking forward to the webinar series.

“The Entrepreneur Center’s webinar series is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs around the state to connect with each other and learn about new opportunities,” said Blessey, founder of Holley Street Media LLC. “As a graduate of the McLean Institute’s CEED Initiative and a new small business owner myself, I’m excited to follow along with this helpful series.”

To register for Week 1, go to: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=ED51D788814A30.

The series also includes:

  • Sept. 26: Improving Operational Efficiency – Liz Donovan, MCC Mississippi
  • Oct. 10: An Entrepreneur’s Story – Karen Kurr, No Time 2 Cook CEO
  • Oct. 24: Customer Service That Brings Back Customers – Jeff Good, Mangia Bene
  • Nov. 7: Build Your Personal Brand – Janet Parker, Innovate Mississippi
  • Nov. 21: The Legal Side of Entrepreneurship – Michael Williams, Bradley Law Firm

For more information, contact Nash Nunnery at nnunnery@mississippi.org or 601-359-9241.

Registration Open for Inaugural ‘Fury Run’

Sept. 16 event at UM benefits Navy Seal Foundation and Mississippi State Veterans Home

OXFORD, Miss. – Registration is open for the University of Mississippi Navy ROTC’s first-ever “Fury Run” charity race to benefit the program and also the Navy Seal Foundation and the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford. 

The public is invited to enter the run or walk race, which will feature both a 5-K and a 10-K. Participants will begin their route at 9 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Grove stage. The 5-K route will cover campus, and the 10-K route will venture into Oxford. 

Organizers hope to make the race an annual event, said Midshipman 1st Class Josh Brenc, a senior mechanical engineering major from Wheaton, Illinois. 

“The Navy Seal Foundation is really important because the funds go to the team guys’ families and what they do for us as nation, I just can’t put it into words,” Brenc said.

“And as far as the Veterans Home goes, we volunteer there quite often. Those guys all served and they are getting older, but they’re great people and they all have great stories. They deserve everything we can do for them.”

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. David Johnston, instructor in naval science and operations officer of the Ole Miss NROTC program, said he’s proud of Brenc and his team for establishing the Fury Run. 

“This event serves as a fundraiser for multiple worthy veteran support organizations, as well as provides the UM NROTC an opportunity to raises funds for some of our more traditional military functions,” Johnston said. “There can never be enough awareness to the issues that our active duty military members and veterans face. 

“The students at the UM NROTC just want to do their part at supporting those service members who have come before them.”

Entry fees for the races are $20 for the 5-K and $30 for the 10-K for early registrants. On Aug. 19, the entry fees increase by $5. T-shirts for participants are an additional $5. 

Steve Stone and Best Times will officially time both races, Brenc said. Awards will be presented for the following categories: ages 15 and under, 16-19, 20- 29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50 and over.

Participants can sign up or find additional information here Anyone who wants to support the cause but does not wish to run can donate here 

Intensive English Program Administrator Attends EducationUSA Forum

Tracy Koslowski among more than 500 at event in Washington, D.C.

Tracy Koslowski

Tracy Koslowski, associate director of the Intensive English Program at the University of Mississippi, recently participated in the U.S. Department of State’s eighth annual EducationUSA Forum in Washington, D.C.

Organized in partnership with the Institute of International Education, the forum featured sessions on traditional and virtual recruiting strategies, comprehensive campus internationalization, student visas, maximizing recruitment resources and partnering with EducationUSA advising centers around the world to develop comprehensive and innovative strategies for recruiting international students.

More than 570 U.S. university representatives from 46 states, 60 EducationUSA regional coordinators and advisers from around the world, and U.S. and foreign government officials attended the meeting. International education increases American global competitiveness and creates relationships and understanding that contribute to increased national security.

UM Advisory Committee on History and Context Submits Final Report

University to implement contextualization of physical sites on Oxford campus

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi announced the recommendations it will be implementing from the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context. The communication outlining the accepted recommendations as well as the committee’s final report can be accessed at context.OleMiss.edu.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter established the CACHC in summer 2016 to address Recommendation 5 of the university’s 2014 Action Plan, a comprehensive set of recommendations related to improving the campus’ environment for diversity and inclusion. Recommendation 5 of the action plan urged the university to “offer more history, putting the past into context” and to do so “without attempts to erase history, even some difficult history.”  

“Contextualization is an important extension of a university’s responsibility to educate and provides an opportunity to learn from history,” Vitter said. “As an educational institution, it is imperative we foster a learning environment and fulfill our mission by pursuing knowledge and understanding. The CACHC embodied this approach in its work, recognizing that while our history is not by any means all that we are, it remains an important part of who we are.”

During the 2016-17 academic year, the CACHC worked to complete its two-phase charge. The initial task of the committee was to recommend which additional physical sites on the Oxford campus (beyond those already completed) should be contextualized, so as to explain the environment in which they were created or named.

Secondly, the committee was tasked with designing the content and format to contextualize the recommended sites. In the final report, the committee explained that “contextualizing the campus reminds us of the enormity and complexity of our shared past” and that “done correctly, and therefore carefully, contextualization is an additive process, not a subtractive one.”

The following Oxford campus sites will be contextualized with plaques: Lamar Hall, Barnard Observatory, Longstreet Hall and George Hall. The antebellum sites of Barnard Observatory, the Croft Building, the Lyceum and Hilgard Cut (a railroad cut on campus) will be collectively contextualized with one plaque to be placed just west of Croft, within sight of the three buildings, noting that these four projects were built with slave labor.

In addition to contextualizing these sites, the university will seek to rename Vardaman Hall. In applying guidelines developed by the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming at Yale University, the CACHC found that James K. Vardaman was an exceptional case for his time because he was an individual who “actively promoted some morally odious practice, or dedicated much of [his life] to upholding that practice.”  

Vardaman Hall was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in May 2016 for substantial renovation, an event that often results in consideration of renaming the building. After fundraising and renovation are completed over the next several years, renaming of Vardaman Hall will occur through university processes and be subject to IHL approval.

Additionally, signage at the Paul B. Johnson Commons will be altered to add “Sr.” to clarify that it is named after Paul B. Johnson Sr.

In addition to the seven contextualization sites, the committee’s final report put forth two supplemental sites of university history for contextualization. The first is a plaque for the stained-glass windows in Ventress Hall dedicated to the sacrifice of the University Greys, a company of primarily UM students who fought in the Civil War and suffered 100 percent casualties. The second is for the Confederate Cemetery and related memorial, for which the committee recommended adding individual gravestones to recognize the sacrifice of each person known to be buried there as well as a marker in an appropriate location to recognize the men from Lafayette County who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.

These two supplemental sites were not part of the original list of seven contextualization sites accepted by Chancellor Vitter in February 2017 and were therefore not included in the online form to receive public input. To ensure continued community engagement, the university is seeking public input at context.OleMiss.edu prior to taking any action related to the Ventress stained-glass windows and the Confederate Cemetery.

“Throughout this process, the university has sought to listen and engage in constructive and transparent conversations with all university stakeholders,” Vitter said. “In the past year, the product of the CACHC has been enriched and informed by the hundreds of individuals who provided feedback in person, through online web forms, and through individual letters, emails and calls. I am confident that our decisions with regard to these two supplemental items will be equally enhanced by public input.”

The public review and comment period for the two additional items recommended by the CACHC will be open at context.OleMiss.edu through July 31, 2017.

The university’s contextualization approach was established as an academically focused and fact-focused process with the 14 CACHC members selected from nearly 100 nominations received from the university community. CACHC membership was based upon expertise in relevant subject matters such as history, sociology, English, law or race relations; a demonstrated track record of consensus building and collaboration; a deep understanding of the UM community and culture; experience in commemoration and contextualization of historic sites; and a commitment to a process that is inclusive, respectful, civil, candid, transparent and honors the UM Creed.

“As the work of the CACHC concludes and our formal contextualization process draws to a close, we extend profound thanks to the CACHC members for their tremendous work on this challenging but extremely important task for our university,” Vitter said.

“I also want to commend our university community for staying engaged and supportive throughout the process. Even when our views differ on issues of vital importance to Ole Miss, Mississippi and the nation, we remain inextricably bound together by our belief in the university’s ability to positively transform lives, just as it has changed many of our own lives for the better.”

The university has tasked the vice chancellor for university relations and the vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement with oversight and coordination of implementation of the recommendations including funding and timeline for ordering and installing plaques and markers.

Job Fairs Address Workforce Needs for New Campus Dining Options

250 jobs available for students and local community

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s upgraded dining options will offer far more choice than ever when students arrive on campus this fall. The new restaurants also will create 250 new jobs, and several upcoming job fairs aim to fill them. 

The biggest improvements will be made to the dining experience at the Ole Miss Student Union, which is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion project. The university, Ole Miss Dining and Aramark have announced several new dining options, including a McAlister’s Deli, Which-Wich, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and Qdoba.

Ole Miss Dining is seeking a number of employees with a variety of skill sets, ranging from dishwashers, general utility workers and food service workers to cashiers, food prep workers and experienced culinary professionals to fill positions at these locations. 

“We are pleased to offer students more variety, convenience and value,” said Amy Greenwood, Ole Miss Dining/Aramark marketing manager. “All of the enhancements we made to the dining program are based on student feedback, and are designed to provide students with even more opportunities to enjoy their meals, as well as their overall dining experience.”

The first level of the Student Union will feature Chick-fil-A, with an expanded menu and multiple points of sale for speed and convenience. Qdoba, Panda Express and Which-Wich will be part of the downstairs food court. A full-service McAlister’s, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees with dedicated seating, will anchor the second level.

Ole Miss Dining is hiring students and workers from the area for these locations and others on campus.

Interview dates and times are as follows:

  • June 7 – Job Fair for community members at the Pontotoc WIN Job Center, 182 Highway 15 North in Pontotoc, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • June 13 – Job Fair for community members at the Batesville Governor’s Job Fair, Batesville Civic Center, 290 Medical Center Dr. in Batesville, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • June 28 – Job Fair for community members at the Oxford WIN Job Center, 204 Colonnade Cove, Suite 1, in Oxford, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • July 10 – Job Fair for community members at the Batesville WIN Job Center, 103-16 Woodland Road in Batesville, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • July 12 – Job Fair for community members at the Tupelo WIN Job Center, 3200 Adams Farm Road in Belden, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Chucky Mullins Drive Entrance Closed For Roundabout Construction

Roundabout construction where Hill Drive and Hathorn Road meet will run through August

OXFORD, Miss. — The University of Mississippi campus entrance at Chucky Mullins Drive will remain closed through the summer so a roundabout can be built where Hill Drive and Hathorn Road meet.

The work there to install a roundabout will lead to improved traffic flow on the south side of campus, but until the work is complete in August, the entrance will be closed. Drivers will need to use other entrances to campus in the meantime.

“The four-way stop at Chucky Mullins Drive, Hill Drive and Hathorn Road has seen increasing congestion over the past few years,” said Ian Banner, director of facilities planner and university architect. “The new roundabout will allow traffic to flow more freely at this intersection.”

UM police chief Tim Potts encourages carpooling and also advises those attending events near the construction site to use parking on the outskirts of campus, especially along University Place, this summer while the work is ongoing. 

“People should expect delays if they are going to try to utilize Gertrude C. Ford Boulevard or Manning Way,” Potts said. “They should also expect delays if exiting campus using that intersection.

“A left turn from Manning Way onto Gertrude Ford is going to be very difficult, if not dangerous. If that intersection must be used, allow yourself extra time.”  

The best bet for those who need to leave campus and make a left turn onto Gertrude Ford Boulevard is to make a right instead and drive around the roundabout at Old Taylor Road to head back northbound, Potts said. This is a faster, safer alternative, he said.

UM Library Seeks Commencement Memorabilia

Contributions will help fill gaps in Archives and Special Collections

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Archives and Special Collections is looking for photos, programs, invitations and other materials from the university’s previous Commencement ceremonies.

Alumni, visitors, faculty, staff, students and any others who have archival materials related to Commencement ceremonies are invited to donate them to the department, where they will be preserved and made available to researchers and visitors.

“We are seeking to further augment the existing archival UM commencement collections with donations of programs, written memories about past speakers, invitations, news clippings, photographs, ephemera, audio and any other related archival memorabilia,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “In addition, interested patrons are invited to come view a selection of special collections’ unique archival holdings in the exhibit ‘A Selected History of Commencement at the University of Mississippi,’ featured in two cases outside the front doors of the department.”

These cases are on display during regular library hours on the third floor of the John D. Williams Library.

The university conducted its first Commencement in July 1849 but had no graduates, as this was only a year after the institution opened. In the words of university historian David Sansing, the four-day event surrounding the official program included “sumptuous banquets, a commencement ball and many speeches … and was a gala celebration.”

The 1849 address was given by Alexander M. Clayton and acting university President Albert Taylor Bledsoe. James Jones Quarles was a member of the first graduating class, which included only 15 students, in 1851, and he received the very first diploma issued by the university.

Several illustrious speakers have graced the stage over the course of the university’s 163 previous Commencements, including: U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1978; former President George H.W. Bush in 1985 (then vice president); author John Grisham in 1994; U.S. Sen. Trent Lott in 1998; U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in 1999; author, journalist and historian David Halberstam in 2005; U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in 2012; civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams in 2013; and journalist, author and historian Tom Brokaw in 2016.

For its 164th Commencement, the university’s keynote speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham.

For more information about the initiative or to donate materials, contact Ford at 662-915-7408 or jwford@olemiss.edu.