USM Golden Basket Program, Belhaven Hospitality Management and Toys for Tots at UM

The University of Mississippi hosts a fashion show for Toys for Tots. Courtesy web.

The University of Mississippi hosts a fashion show for Toys for Tots. Courtesy web.

Students in the Bachelor of Social Work Club at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus, together with USM faculty and staff, recently took part in the university's annual Thanksgiving Golden Basket project, which supports coastal Mississippi families suffering from food insecurity.

USM pre-screened and selected 10 families from the Bay-Waveland, Long Beach and Harrison County school districts and the Jackson County Head Start program for the 2019 event.

Families eligible for the Golden Basket program must be facing food insecurity and have experienced a recent adverse event such as loss of a job, eviction or a house fire, a release from USM says. Families that are behind on bills or lack reliable transportation can also qualify.

Teams of USM students, faculty and staff each "adopted" one of the families and provided them with items for a Thanksgiving dinner, as well as holiday presents, furniture, clothing, shoes and personal hygiene products.

Participants gather Golden Basket items in the Hardy Hall Ballroom on the Gulf Park campus, where teams display their items before delivery. Team members then deliver the items to the families and meet them for the first time.

A student in the USM social work program who was working at a local Head Start agency founded the project in 2011 after seeing a need to provide a Thanksgiving meal to a family facing food security. Social work instructor Karen Aderer formalized the project in 2012 and led four cohorts of students, including pre-social work, juniors, seniors and master's students and the social work faculty, to adopt families. Casey Maugh Funderburk, vice provost for the Gulf Park campus, expanded the project campus-wide in 2017.

For more information on the Golden Basket program, click here.

Belhaven University Introducing Online Hospitality Management Degree

Belhaven University recently launched a new online bachelor degree program in hospitality management. The program covers various aspects of the hospitality industry, which includes lodging, event planning, travel, theme parks, restaurants, transportation, cruise lines and more.

The hospitality management degree will be available through Belhaven Online beginning during the spring semester in January 2020. The program will focus on the planning, organizing, leading and controlling of the hospitality industry, as well as business operations, management and communication, a release from Belhaven says.

Organizations such as Disney, Hilton Hotels, Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Universal Parks and Resorts will offer professional services to contribute to the curriculum, the release says.

UM Hosting Fashion Show for Toys for Tots

The University of Mississippi will host "Fashion Expo: Schoolin' Life," a student-organized fashion show, on Friday, Dec. 6. Proceeds from the event will go to the local chapter of Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that benefits underprivileged children at Christmas.

The local Toys for Tots chapter covers Lafayette, Panola, Pontotoc, Union and Yalobusha Counties. Reginald McClain, a GS-7 supply tech for the NROTC Mid-South region, is the volunteer coordinator for the chapter.

Eight student organizations are collaborating to host the event, including Men of Excellence, the Black Student Union, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, UM E.S.T.E.E.M., the UM Gospel Choir, IMAGE, MAPS and the university chapter of the NAACP.

Joshua Mannery, a junior and director of associated student body campus outreach, is one of the principal organizers of the event together with Makayla Scott, a junior and director of the UM gospel choir. Scott recruited 36 student models, trained them and obtained apparel from seven boutiques to showcase on the runway, a release from UM says

Four student entrepreneurs are also contributing to the event and will style hair and makeup, including Lakia Taylor, a senior and a fashion designer who is providing apparel for the runway show.

Homecoming King Carl Tart and JoJo Brown, vice-president of the Gospel Choir, will emcee the event, which will include vendor booths with clothing displays outside the ballroom.

E.J. Edney, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, assisted Mannery and other student leaders in planning the event and helped them locate space for rehearsals, the release says.

The event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the UM Student Union Ballroom. Admission is $2 at the door, and all proceeds go to Toys for Tots. UM is requesting that visitors not bring toy donations to the event and that those wishing to donate toys instead drop them off at locations including the Mississippi Federal Credit Union in the Ole Miss Student Union; Five Below; Belk Department Store; Gateway Tire; Oxford-University Transit, 409 McElroy Drive; FNB Bank locations; Treehouse Toys; Cannon Motors; and Belk Ford.

For more information, visit olemiss.edu or toysfortots.org.


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