Many Mississippi University for Women students, staff and faculty spent their afternoon volunteering yesterday while participating in MUW’s Day of Service, a community outreach day held twice a year to give back to the Columbus community.
Yesterday’s Day of Service was dedicated to soon-to-be inaugurated Dr. Jim Borsig, who has been serving as interim president of MUW since early 2012.
Over 50 volunteers turned up to help at local community organizations and on campus. Among those helped were the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society, where volunteers went to walk and socialize with animals; the Greater Columbus Learning Center, where citizens were assisted with tutoring to obtain their GED’s and get homework help; and Operation Ukraine, where volunteers helped package goods that will be given to needy people worldwide; Collegeview Nursing Home, where Nursing students and staff assisted caregivers with residents.
Some volunteers stayed on campus and got their hands dirty doing beautification work. Some students planted shrubs on front campus while others tended the grounds and helped MUW grounds keeping staff tackle several projects to improve the university.
Director of Student Life, Jessica Harpole said she was thrilled that so many students and staff came out to volunteer. “The general concept is to give back to the community that does so much for us,” she said. Of the dedication to the 14th MUW President, she said. “Dr. Borsig has been so supportive, we decided to roll this Day of Service into his Inauguration week.”
Samantha Collins, a senior psychology major at the W said she didn’t hesitate to sign up when she heard about the Day of Service.
“I love to do community service,” she said. “When I found out I could serve at the Humane Society, I figured, why not? I love dogs.”
CLHS Director Karen Johnwick sang the praises of the W volunteers. “We are just so thankful and appreciative of the W students coming for Day of Service to help with the much needed exercise of our homeless animals. Walking and socializing the dogs is the best way to get them adopted.”
Johnwick is waiting in anticipation of the opening of the new humane society shelter building, which has been under construction for multiple years. “We still need $85,000 to finish,” she said. “If everyone just donated $1, we’d be done.” In the meantime, CLHS is in constant need of volunteers to help exercise the animals.
Susan Sobley, who works in University Accounting, also dedicated her afternoon to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society to walk dogs.
“I just think it’s important to give back to the community,” she said. Of Borsig, she said. “I’m very excited about having Dr. Borsig as our president and about the W’s future under his leadership.”
Over at the Greater Columbus Learning Center on Military Road, students assisted community members who are trying to obtain their GEDs.
Mary Thomas, 87, said all she wants is to get her GED. “My kinfolks said I was stupid and took me out of school at 15. I learned I wasn’t stupid at 30. All I want is to get my GED. It’s not too late.”
Linda Malbrough, curriculum coordinator/ ABE/GED instructor said she was very thankful for the MUW volunteers.
“We have very large classes here and everyone is at very different levels. It’s hard to give everyone individual attention.” Malbrough said the GCLC has had a longstanding partnership with the W, and used to be located on campus. Malbrough said they are always looking for volunteers to help tutor and that people do not have to have a background in teaching to help.
On campus, Senior Biology major Iyeshia Haynes and Senior Psychology major Tara Burkiett were elbow-deep in dirt. The pair signed up to help beautify the campus and were assigned to plant shrubs along the front gate near Whitfield Hall.
“We ran into some problems with roots,” said Tara while she wrestled with an un-potted plant. But despite the messiness, the girls seemed to be having fun.
MUW Women has been nationally recognized with the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the past two years, having completed over a quarter million hours of service each year.0