MEDIA ADVISORY: Special Delta spring-break project

Contact: Robbie S. Ward

Mississippi State students enrolled in a history course about the Mississippi Delta, along with other university student volunteers, will take an "alternative spring break" next week [March 11-16] in several Delta communities, including Greenwood, Shelby, Cleveland, and Clarksdale.

The 23 students and accompanying faculty and staff in the 2012 Delta for Spring Break program are being hosted by the North Greenwood Baptist Church. In addition to service learning projects, they will visit various cultural and historical locales.

Cade Smith, director of MSU's Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, said the region was selected because of its proximity to the land-grant institution. It also offers the "opportunity to contribute meaningful service in a history-rich environment," the Lexington native added.

The course, "Delta History and Experimental Spring Break," will provide participants with academic credit. 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).

Jason Ward, an assistant professor of history who co-teaches the course, previously taught at a Sunflower County elementary school. He said the experience is designed to "increase awareness and historical understanding of the Delta's contemporary challenges and ongoing significance in Mississippi and the nation."

Among the group's scheduled events and experiences:

--Sunday services in Greenwood at the North Greenwood Baptist and Salem Missionary Baptist churches.

--Monday visit to Delta State University for 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 tour of Greenwood locations, including Viking Range Corp. and the revitalized downtown area.

--Thursday service project at Clarksdale High School, preparing beds for vegetable gardening and constructing compost bins.

--Friday visit to Shelby to assist in construction of a greenhouse, design of an herb garden and work with youth at the regional center, Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture.

For more information, contact Dr. Ward at 662-684-9955 or jward@history.msstate.edu,

or Dr. Smith at 662-418-0140 or cade@saffairs.msstate.edu.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 06:00