Service Opportunities, Transformed Lives Highlight Chancellor's Inauguration Events

April 2010 By

OXFORD, Miss. - The altruism of University of Mississippi faculty, staff, students and alumni is being recognized and encouraged, thanks to events and programs planned around Chancellor Daniel W. Jones's April 9 inauguration.

A service fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (April 6) on the Student Union Plaza. Booths showcasing various service projects and service organizations will be set up, and Jones will make a brief presentation commending participants at 11 a.m.

A service directory Web site displaying volunteer efforts initiated or supported by the Ole Miss community has been launched by UM Information Technology staff. To log service hours on the projects in the directory and find ways to become involved, visit service.olemiss.edu.

To support the inauguration's theme, the university is placing particular emphasis on its service mission.

"As we talked with faculty, staff, students, and alumni about their service activities, it became clear that transformation is at the core of who we are as a community," said Noel Wilkin, associate provost and chair of the Inauguration Service Events Committee. "All of us have the ability, or the Service DNA, to transform lives in a purposeful way. Providing service can be an amazing experience and it can improve our community, state, nation and world."

Anyone wishing to create an entry in the service directory should enter it using the myOleMiss portal, Wilkin said. To get to the entry page, click "Employee," then "Administration" and "Service Administration." Student projects can be added by a faculty adviser.

"We have 40 organizations signed up for the service fair," said Johnette Taylor Jenkins, senior administrative secretary to the dean of students, UM Staff Council president and assistant coordinator of the event. "There will be an air of excitement and amazement at the fair showing just how far the University community has gone to provide service to those in need."

Among the noteworthy participants is COMPASS, a mentoring program that benefits university staff.

"The goals of the program are to promote the personal and professional growth of individual staff members," said Anita Randle, contracts and grants specialist, UM Staff Council representative and one of the COMPASS leaders. "We also seek to enhance mutual respect, build community and increase staff motivation and morale under the principle that helping others helps us."

The campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a nonprofit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide to improve their quality of life, is also generating attention for its efforts.

"Even before the university's application and acceptance into EWB-USA, our students had been working on Habitat for Humanity houses in Oxford," said Wei-Yin Chen, professor of chemical engineering and faculty adviser for the student chapter.

"We are evaluating several potential projects in Central America, South America and Asia."

Other UM campuses and outside groups will also be represented.

"There will be a general booth that shows all the service projects from the Desoto campus," Jenkins said. "Some of the local agencies, such as the United Way, will also have booths. I think it's great they are getting involved."

For a complete schedule of inaugural events, visit inauguration.olemiss.edu.