More than 20 Mississippi State students, faculty and staff--and 10 students from the University of Mississippi--are making final plans for an alternate spring break in the Mississippi Delta involving service projects, tours and other adventures.
The March 10-15 experience will be the third consecutive year for the educational enhancement program. The visit to Western Mississippi is designed to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the rich history and culture of the area through blues music, and civil rights and Native American historical experiences.
The MSU students also will be earning three hours of academic credit for the course taught by assistant history professor Jason Ward.
"We hope that this academic incentive increases student interest in service and also provides a model for other departments and university offices to sponsor similar programs in the future," Ward said.
To prepare, the students read the James C. Cobb classic, "The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity" (Oxford University Press, 1994) and Chris Myers Asch's "The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer" (The University of North Carolina Press, 2011).
"These books and class lectures allow participants to experience the Delta at a much deeper level than a typical spring break service trip," said Cade Smith, assistant dean of students and director of MSU's Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement.
The scheduled events and activities include, among others:
--Attendance at Sunday services in Leflore County at the North Greenwood Baptist and Salem Missionary Baptist churches.
--Monday visit to Delta State University in Cleveland for a meeting with Luther Brown, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and a "Most Southern Place on Earth" tour.
--Tuesday trip to Clarksdale for an education and service project along the Mississippi River.
--Wednesday visit to Scott in southern Bolivar County, home of the Monsanto Co.'s Delta and Pine Land Co. Learning Center.
--Thursday service project at Clarksdale High School, preparing beds for vegetable gardening and constructing compost bins.
--Friday visit to Shelby, also in Bolivar County, to help construct a greenhouse, design an herb garden and work with youth at Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture, a regional center.
In addition to the history department, the program is sponsored by MSU's Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment of the South, John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, Maroon Volunteer Center, along with AmeriCorp VISTA and the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at Ole Miss.
For more information, contact Ward at 662-684-9955 or firstname.lastname@example.org , or Smith at 662-418-0140 or email@example.com.