The University of Southern Mississippi prides itself in offering “over 30 dynamic student organizations that enhance campus culture every day with their ideas, events, and leadership” according to the USM Student Life web page. These organizations range from religious to academics to societal impact. One of the many facets of life at USM is that students and faculty are encouraged to become involved in an existing organization or begin one to fill a gap that is felt among the campus community. This is how the new Marine Conservation Club began.
The Marine Conservation Club is led by Malin Lilly, M.A.-who is currently a Brain and Behavior Science PhD student at USM. The purpose of the Marine Conservation Club is to “raise awareness of marine conservation.” The club utilizes a hands-on approach to impacting the environment for the better. MCC describes itself as “a support system for students who would like to change policies or spread awareness of specific issues that would make the community or campus more environmentally friendly.” It creates opportunities for students to earn volunteer hours or leadership positions in an environmentally-oriented student setting while “getting out in nature, making a real difference to specific wildlife areas.” While still a fairly new club, it currently offers a few events every semester which range from canoe-river or beach cleanups, zoo volunteer days or educational functions.
The next event MCC will host is the Black Creek Canoe Clean-up trip to celebrate National Estuaries Week. According to the Restore America’s Estuaries website, National Estuaries Week has been observed since 1988 to “celebrate the many ways we benefit from healthy, thriving coastal ecosystems.” This year National Estuaries Week will be observed the week of September 16-23. USM’s MCC will be doing its part by hosting the Black Creek Canoe Clean-up on Saturday, September 23 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Canoes, life jackets, trash bags, nitrile gloves and other supplies will be provided by MCC thanks to a grant the club was recently awarded from Citgo and Restore America’s Estuaries. The clean-up will take place at Cyprus Creek (just a short drive from Hattiesburg) in an effort to prevent trash from washing into the Gulf of Mexico. You must RSVP to this event. MCC is also planning Adopt-a-Spot clean up days for campus as well as movie nights. More information on these events will be released at a later time.
If you would like to learn more about the Marine Conservation Club, you can follow them on their new Facebook page, “USM Marine Conservation Club,” or subscribe to their email list by emailing Malin.firstname.lastname@example.org.