STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Volunteers with Mississippi State's Maroon Volunteer Center have taken to heart the sentiment "it is better to give than to receive."
This holiday season, students, faculty and staff volunteering through the MVC had many opportunities to give back to others, including working with the Salvation Army, the Emerson Family School and the YMCA.
Students also volunteered with Bulldogs on the Move, a student-lead project designed to meet the physical fitness needs of children with disabilities from Ward Stewart Elementary.
"Kids with special needs don't always get as much of a chance to participate in P.E. classes in a normal school setting, so this gives them some one-on-one time and gets them moving," said Chloe Phillips, a senior kinesiology major and one of the program's coordinators.
The MVC organized volunteers for the Habitat for Humanity student organization, which partnered with Barnes & Noble to launch the Wrap a Gift Project this year. Volunteers at the bookstore wrapped gifts for a small fee, with all proceeds going directly to the 2013 Habitat for Humanity home.
Numerous volunteer projects also were held throughout the year, including building the Maroon Edition Habitat house. MSU student volunteers and members of the Starkville community worked on the houses each Friday and Saturday of the fall semester. The 2012 home was the 50th for the Starkville area, and the fourth Maroon Edition home.
Volunteers also aided the Oktibbeha County Humane Society and worked on the university's Service DAWGS, or Donating a Wonderful Gift of Service, project.
And while recognition is not what most volunteers have in mind when they offer their time and help, the MVC annually honors top volunteers during a banquet in the spring.
"The awards stand not just as a personal record, but also as a testament to the culture of service in the Starkville and Mississippi State communities," said Meggan Franks, program coordinator for student leadership and community engagement.
The MVC is a student-driven initiative that encourages and supports community involvement and volunteer service. Led by a team of students, staff and volunteers, the center provides services, programs and events that allow the MSU community to utilize their talents and skills while helping others.